Erik Johnson waives the no-movement clause and gives avalanche options ahead of Seattle’s draft expansion |

01/26/2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche defender Erik Johnson (6) celebrates with right winger Valeri Nichushkin (13) after scoring against the San Jose Sharks in the first period at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The idea of ​​asking Erik Johnson to forego his no-movement clause on Seattle Kraken’s draft expansion has been juggled for months. It made too much sense that it didn’t happen.

Johnson, 33, has a two-year contract that pays him $ 6 million a season. He also played just four games in 2021 after injuring himself against the Minnesota Wild. And given the tough miles on his body, it was becoming clearer day by day that Seattle general manager Ron Francis was unlikely to be picking the Avalanche’s replacement captain.

Plus, the rapid growth and effectiveness of Avs defender Devon Toews, who was overtaken last offseason, quickly made it clear that this needed to be done.

Johnson waived his no-movement clause on Tuesday, as reported by The Athletic’s Peter Baugh, and gave Avs managing director Joe Sakic the opportunity to protect his top three defenders Cale Makar, Samuel Girard and Toews. And possibly Ryan Graves.

The protection lists around the NHL are due on Saturday. The league will also go into a trading freeze effective July 17 through the draft expansion on July 21. The lists will be published on Sunday.

Johnson is just the first step in a series of questions Sakic will face before Saturday. The Avalanche have two options, they can protect seven forwards, three defenders and one goalkeeper, or they can protect eight skaters and one goalkeeper. The second option gives them the option to protect a fourth defender, which would effectively protect Ryan Graves from potentially being selected. But it’s about the price of having three extra strikers left unprotected.

The more viable option for Sakic is the 7-3-1 route. This could look like this:

Forward:
1. Nathan MacKinnon
2. Mikko Rantanen
3. Andre Burakovsky
4. Nazem Kadri
5. Valery Nichushkin
6. Tyson Jost (restricted free agent)
7. Gabriel Landeskog (unlimited free agent)

Defender:
1. Cale Makar (RFA)
2. Devon Toews
3. Samuel Girard

Goalkeeper:
1. Philipp Grubauer (UFA)

Each team must expose at least two eligible strikers and one defender. That option would be available to strikers Joonas Donskoi and JT Compher and Graves for the Kraken. Colorado would also leave substitute goalkeeper Pavel Francouz unprotected, but given his 2021 injuries, Seattle is unlikely to pick him.

By protecting Grubauer and Landeskog, the Avs would prevent the Kraken from negotiating with them before unrestricted freedom of action begins on July 28th. sign one or both of them. Forward Brandon Saad, who is also a pending unrestricted free agent, would be available to Seattle to negotiate in this hypothetical situation.

Whichever path Sakic takes, the Avalanche are likely to lose a valuable player. If it’s Donskoi, Compher, or Graves, it will also lose more than $ 3 million in Cap-Space – which in itself adds value to the team.

Regardless, Johnson Waiving answered at least one question for the avalanche. Now it’s a matter of figuring out the rest of the equation for Sakic and the rest of his front office.

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