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Erik Johnson expected to waive his NMC for the expansion draft

The veteran defender is expected to help out the Colorado Avalanche as they look to keep the core of the team together

San Jose Sharks v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

With the season coming to an end for the Colorado Avalanche last week, general manager Joe Sakic has set his sights towards the offseason. This summer will be a busier one that most given that the Avalanche have a a number of high profile free agents to re-sign while also needing to navigate through another expansion draft.

Luckily it seems as though one of the Avalanche veterans is set to make his life a little easier by taking a tough decision out of his hands.

As has been speculated all season, it is now all but confirmed that Erik Johnson plans to waive his no-movement clause so that the Avalanche don’t need to use up one of their protection spots on him during the expansion draft. That makes things a lot easier on Sakic when it comes to forming the team’s protection list.

Along with one goalie, NHL teams have the choice of choosing either seven forwards and three defenders or if they have more than four defenders they want to protect, the team can decide to choose only eight skaters of any position.

Cale Makar, Devon Toews and Samuel Girard are all must-protects on the Avalanche blueline. Had Johnson been unwilling to waive his NMC, it would have forced Sakic to choose the less desirable path off protecting only four forwards to go along with the four defenders. With Johnson waiving his NMC, the Avs can now protect seven forwards - something that will make a huge difference in who they will lose to the Kraken.

At 33-years of age and having missed almost the entire 2021 season, the decision to waive his NMC is an easy one given that there is almost no possibility that Seattle would chose Johnson in the expansion draft.

The only scenario in which Kraken general manager Ron Francis would take Johnson is if he see’s the $6m cap hit as a way to help the new team get to the salary cap floor. That said, it is very unlikely that Francis would tie up 7.4% of his team’s salary cap over the next two seasons in an aging defenseman with a history of injury. There will be much more desirable assets to be had from the Avalanche lineup.

If you want to have some fun trying to figure out which players will end up in Seattle next summer, check out the brand new PuckPedia Expansion Tool.