Avalanche’s protected list revealed; Gabriel Landeskog among notable omissions

May 3, 2021; San Jose, California, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92) celebrates after a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the third period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL announced Sunday the protected list for each of the 30 NHL teams as well as the list of exposed players for the Seattle Kraken to choose from for the expansion draft.

The draft will take place Wednesday, giving Seattle’s general manager Ron Francis four days to put his team together while the rest of the league is in a roster freeze.

The Avalanche chose to protect seven forwards, three defenseman and one goaltender. Even after trading defenseman Ryan Graves to New Jersey and asking Erik Johnson to waive his no-movement clause, Colorado still had several tough decisions to make.

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Colorado Avalanche protected list:

Nathan MacKinnon
Mikko Rantanen
Andre Burakovsky
Nazem Kadri
Tyson Jost
Valeri Nichushkin
Logan O’Connor

Cale Makar
Samuel Girard
Devon Toews

Philipp Grubauer

The most notable omission is captain and pending unrestricted free agent Gabriel Landeskog, who is at a contract impasse with the Avs just 10 days before free agency begins.

Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic could have protected Landeskog despite his free agency status, just like he did with goaltender Philipp Grubauer. But leaving Landeskog exposed gives Seattle three days of exclusive negotiating rights with the 28-year-old.

Other exposed players of note include forwards J.T. Compher and Joonas Donskoi. Compher has two years remaining on a contract that pays him $3.5 million per year while Donskoi has the same term but makes $3.9 million. It’s no secret the Avs prefer Seattle takes one of the two to clear more cap space and give Sakic flexibility to alter his team as needed after signing extensions for defenseman Cale Makar and potentially Grubauer and Landeskog.

Aarif Deen is our Colorado Avalanche beat reporter. He covers Avs games live from Ball Arena and attends practices, media availabilities and other events pertaining to the Avs on the daily beat. He is also a co-host of Hockey Mountain High: Your go-to Avalanche podcast. Deen joined Mile High Sports upon completion of his bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Before Mile High Sports, Deen worked for the Michigan Wolverines Athletics Department as the assistant sports information director.

Follow him on Twitter @runwriteAarif