Blackhawks release lists of protected and unprotected players ahead of NHL's expansion draft

Blackhawks release lists of protected and unprotected players ahead of NHL's expansion draft

The list of Blackhawks protected from the expansion draft was revealed Sunday morning, and it comes as no surprise that there weren’t really any surprises on it.

The Blackhawks went the 7-3-1 route with their protected players:

Jonathan Toews
Patrick Kane
Marian Hossa
Artem Anisimov
Richard Panik
Ryan Hartman
Tomas Jurco
Brent Seabrook
Duncan Keith
Niklas Hjalmarsson
Corey Crawford

When it came to protected players, much of the Blackhawks’ situation was easy to figure out due to their contract situations. Any player with a current/continuing no-movement clause was exempt, and eight of the Blackhawks’ 11 protected players have one (Toews, Kane, Hossa, Anisimov, Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson and Crawford).

Hartman is coming off a great rookie season during which he recorded 19 goals and 12 assists, and considering that work the Blackhawks were going to do what was necessary to protect him. They also wanted to protect Panik, whose new two-year deal ($2.8 million cap hit per season) kicks in this fall. Panik set career highs in goals (22), assists (22) and points (44) last season.

As for Jurco, when the Blackhawks acquired him in February, general manager Stan Bowman said, “We’ll be patient with him, but we really think there’s a good fit there, looking at his skills and the style of hockey we play.” Jurco was in and out of the lineup as the regular season ended and did not play in the Blackhawks’ four playoff games.

Artemi Panarin, by the way, was exempt from expansion draft exposure. The same goes for Nick Schmaltz.

Those Blackhawks exposed to the expansion draft include forwards Marcus Kruger, Jordin Tootoo, defensemen Trevor van Riemsdyk and Michal Rozsival and goaltender Jeff Glass.

Frank Seravalli of TSN reported weeks ago that it’s possible the Vegas Golden Knights end up with both Kruger and van Riemsdyk.

What's the severity of Nick Schmaltz's injury, and when could he return for USA?

What's the severity of Nick Schmaltz's injury, and when could he return for USA?

Nick Schmaltz, who exited Monday's preliminary round matchup against Sweden with an upper-body injury, could return for USA Saturday vs. Latvia, according to coach Jeff Blashill.

"I'm anticipating he'll be ready for our game against Latvia," Blashill told reporters, including NHL.com's Brian Hedger. "But we'll know more ... as we move through the week."

The Blackhawks forward was removed from the game on his very first shift after Swedish captain Gabriel Landeskog delivered a heavy hit.

Landeskog was not penalized on the play, and did not face any discipline despite having a hearing with the IIHF disciplinary committee Tuesday.

Gabriel Landeskog texts Nick Schmaltz an apology for hit, will not face discipline from IIHF

Gabriel Landeskog texts Nick Schmaltz an apology for hit, will not face discipline from IIHF

Gabriel Landeskog will not face any discipline from the IIHF after delivering a questionable hit on Nick Schmaltz, who left Monday's USA-Sweden preliminary round matchup at the World Championship in the opening minute and did not return. Landeskog had a hearing with the disciplinary committee Tuesday but was cleared.

According to Kasperi Kunnas of MTV Sport, the Colorado Avalanche captain sent a text message to the Blackhawks forward apologizing for the play, which he was not penalized for.

"Hey man, I just wanna see how you're doing," Landeskog wrote. "That hit was maybe late, I am sorry for that. Hope you're alright."

Schmaltz responded: "I'll be ok, thanks for the text."

There has yet to be an official injury update on Schmaltz. USA coach Jeff Blashill did not provide one after the game.

USA returns to action Wednesday against Italy.