Ahead of next month’s expansion draft for the Seattle Kraken, the NHL has reportedly identified 18 players that will be exempt from the selection process because of long-term injury, and two current members of the Chicago Blackhawks are on the list.
According to the list, first published by the salary cap information website CapFriendly, defenseman Brent Seabrook and forward Andrew Shaw will be exempt from the draft, which will be used to fill out the Kraken roster ahead of their first NHL season.
Seabrook, who remains under contract with the Blackhawks for three more seasons, announced earlier this year that he was stepping away from the game of hockey due to a hip ailment. Shaw made a similar announcement in April, saying that he was retiring from the sport due to the number of concussions he had sustained during his career.
Several former Blackhawks players are also on the list, including forward Marian Hossa, whose contract was traded to the Arizona Coyotes after he stepped away from the game of hockey due to a chronic skin condition. Former Blackhawks defensive prospect Stephen Johns, who just retired from hockey due to his struggles with post-concussion syndrome, is also on the exemption list.
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Former Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford, who retired from hockey after signing a free agent contract with the New Jersey Devils last summer, is also exempt from the draft.
The 18 players on the list will not need to be protected by their teams in the upcoming expansion draft, meaning that the clubs can use their spots on other players who would otherwise have to be exposed to selection by the Kraken.
All teams are permitted to protect a specific number of players. Teams can either protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender, or eight skaters and one goaltender.
Notably, Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews, who missed the 2021 season due to an undisclosed medical condition, was not included on the league’s exemption list. That means that the Blackhawks will be required to protect him in the expansion draft, as the captain has a no-trade clause in his contract.
The NHL Expansion Draft will take place on July 21. The Kraken will choose a total of 30 players, one from each team excluding the Vegas Golden Knights.