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NHL Expansion 2017: Sharks elect to protect 7-3-1

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Recent free agent signings and vets left exposed.

NHL: New York Islanders at San Jose Sharks Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks protected seven forwards, three defensemen, and a goaltender ahead of this week's expansion draft, and left all four of their major free agent signings from the last two summers unprotected, the team announced today.

San Jose protected forwards Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, Chris Tierney, Melker Karlsson, Jannik Hansen, and newly signed Ryan Carpenter. The Sharks also protected defensemen Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Justin Braun, and goaltender Martin Jones.

This left Mikkel Boedker, David Schlemko, Paul Martin, and Joel Ward, the team's biggest free agent acquisitions over the last two summers, exposed and eligible to be taken by the Vegas Golden Knights in Wednesday's Expansion Draft. Defenseman Dylan DeMelo, goaltender Aaron Dell, and pending unrestricted free agents Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau were also exposed.

The biggest "surprise" on the Sharks' list, if there was one, was probably the protection of Carpenter. But, as we explored in discussing our reader-voted protected list, there weren't many options for a seventh forward after satisfying the "40/70" rule by exposing two forwards who played at least 40 games last season or 70 games over the past two seasons. Once Carpenter re-signed yesterday, he became the clear option as the only forward eligible for exposure that was signed for next season.

San Jose's full list of protected and exposed players is below, and you can find the list for every team here.

Protected

Ryan Carpenter (F)

Logan Couture (F)

Jannik Hansen (F)

Tomas Hertl (F)

Melker Karlsson (F)

Joe Pavelski (F)

Chris Tierney (F)

Justin Braun (D)

Brent Burns (D)

Marc-Edouard Vlasic (D)

Martin Jones (G)

Unprotected

Mikkel Boedker (F)

Barclay Goodrow (F)

Micheal Haley (F)

Patrick Marleau (F)

Buddy Robinson (F)

Zack Stortini (F)

Joe Thornton (F)

Joel Ward (F)

Dylan DeMelo (D)

Brenden Dillon (D)

Dan Kelly (D)

Paul Martin (D)

David Schlemko (D)

Aaron Dell (G)

Troy Grosenick (G)

Harri Sateri (G)