Avalanche’s Gabe Landeskog left unprotected from Seattle expansion draft. Here’s what that means – The Denver Post

The Avalanche will omit left wing and team captain Gabe Landeskog from its expansion-draft protective list when it’s released Sunday morning, according to  a league source. The move will give the Seattle Kraken exclusive rights to recruit the pending unrestricted free agent long before free agency opens July 28.

It will also allow the Avalanche to protect another forward.

All potential free agents left unprotected for the expansion draft can exclusively interview and potentially sign a contract with the Kraken between Sunday morning and Wednesday night’s expansion draft. If Seattle and Landeskog agree to a deal before the draft, Landeskog would count as the Kraken’s one selection from the Avalanche.

Landeskog, 28, is presumably looking for a long-term deal with an annual cap hit of more than $7 million — and $49 million over seven years is probably what he wants. The Avs, meanwhile, are more likely coming in around $30 million over five years ($6 million annual cap hit) — hoping that their nine-year captain and 10-year player accepts a home-town discount.

The $1 million difference and the lesser term might make Landeskog listen to Seattle’s offer — which could be a “C” on his chest and $56 million over seven years ($8 million annual cap hit).

If Seattle doesn’t choose Landeskog in Wednesday’s expansion draft, the parties can return to the negotiation table when free agency opens the following Wednesday.

Saturday marked the NHL’s trade freeze ahead of the expansion draft, so Landeskog’s rights can’t be sold during that time. If the Avalanche attempts to re-sign Landeskog in the ensuing week, it might be too late for the player’s liking.

“I can’t help but be honest with you that I’m a little bit disappointed that it’s gotten this far and it’s had to come to this point,” Landeskog recently told The Athletic. “We’ll see what happens. I’m still hopeful that we can agree on something and come to terms, but if it was up to me, I would have liked it to be done eight months ago, 10 months ago.”

On Saturday night amid rumors of Landeskog’s omission from Colorado’s protective list, the player and his agent did not return texts seeking comment. And an Avalanche spokesman said he could not confirm or deny.

By not protecting Landeskog, the Avalanche could still lose one of the following forwards: J.T. Compher, Valeri Nichushkin or Tyson Jost, the latter of whom is a restricted free agent.

Colorado is bound to use the seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie protection format and shield forwards Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon, Andre Burakovsky, Nazem Kadri and Joonas Donskoi, plus defensemen Cale Makar, Sam Girard and Devon Toews, from the Kraken. Goalie Philipp Grubauer is also a pending UFA and either he or Jonas Johansson will be protected.

The protection lists for each team were submitted by 3 p.m. MT Saturday and they will go public at 8 a.m. MT Sunday.

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