Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – The Buffalo Sabres decided to protect defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen for the Seattle Expansion Draft over Will Borgen. That means general manager Kevyn Adams must believe he can get close to his reported asking price of a young defenseman and a high draft pick for Ristolainen in a trade.
Adams went with the 7-3-1 format for his protection list:
1.) Casey Mittelstadt
2.) Tage Thompson
3.) Victor Olofsson
4.) Jack Eichel
5.) Sam Reinhart
6.) Anders Bjork
7.) Rasmus Asplund
1.) Rasmus Dahlin
2.) Rasmus Ristolainen
3.) Henri Jokiharju
1.) Linus Ullmark
Adams can make a side deal with the Seattle Kraken to keep them from taking Borgen. Seattle must take at least 14 forwards, 9 defensemen and 3 goalies. They select a player from each team except the Vegas Golden Knights.
In addition to Borgen, Buffalo left Zemgus Girgensons, Colin Miller, Kyle Okposo, Jeff Skinner and Cody Eakin unprotected.
Some other notable players around the NHL being left unprotected:
- Mark Giordano - Calgary Flames
- Nino Niederreiter - Carolina Hurricanes
- Nikita Zadorov - Chicago Blackhawks
- J.T. Compher - Colorado Avalanche
- Max Domi - Columbus Blue Jackets
- Ben Bishop - Dallas Stars
- Jonathan Quick - Los Angeles Kings
- Carey Price, Shea Weber - Montreal Canadiens
- Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen - Nashville Predators
- Will Butcher, P.K. Subban - New Jersey Devils
- Josh Bailey, Jordan Eberle - New York Islanders
- Matt Murray - Ottawa Senators
- James van Riemsdyk, Jakub Voracek, Shayne Gostisbehere, Brian Elliott - Philadelphia Flyers
- Jason Zucker, Casey DeSmith - Pittsburgh Penguins
- Martin Jones - San Jose Sharks
- Vladimir Tarasenko, Marco Scandella, Vince Dunn - St. Louis Blues
- Yanni Gourde, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat - Tampa Bay Lightning
- Jason Spezza, Alex Kerfoot - Toronto Maple Leafs
- Braden Holtby - Vancouver Canucks
- Conor Sheary, Carl Hagelin, Vitek Vanecek, Justin Schultz - Washington Capitals
Of course, there were quite a few big names who are about to become unrestricted free agents that were left unprotected too.
The NHL roster freeze runs through Thursday, July 22 at 1 p.m. ET. During that time, the only team that you can make a trade with is Seattle.