The draft board pages include every player who was left unprotected in the 1999 Expansion Draft. The overwhelming majority of players who do not carry over are either old, unproductive, injured, primarily used for fighting, marginal players, minor league veterans, or unsigned European prospects. The majority of pending UFAs (Group III, Group V, and Group VI) will not carry over. Exceptions to these rules are provided if the incumbent team left almost nothing of value available to choose from, in which case everyone gets at least a closer look.
As we are capped by league restrictions to selecting no more than six pending free agents, we must be judicious with our choices.
The Bruins lost to Buffalo in the second round of the playoffs, and have fourteen unprotected players for the 1999 expansion draft.
Goalies: Joakim Persson(UE), Paxton Schafer(Gr.II – RFA), Robert Tallas(Gr.II – RFA)
Defensemen: Dean Chynoweth(Gr.II – RFA), Dave Ellett, Grant Ledyard(Gr.III – UFA), Andrei Sapozhnikov(UE), Andrei Shaldybin(Gr.II – RFA), Dennis Vaske(Gr.III – UFA), Terry Virtue, Andrei Yakhanov
Forwards: Ken Baumgartner, Peter Ferraro, Chris Taylor
Among the three goalies, Rob Tallas will move to the draft board.
None of the eight defensemen make the move; it’s a motley collection of old, unproductive, injured, or pending free agents. Dave Ellett is probably the best one, and he’s 35; Grant Ledyard is 38 and a pending UFA.
Just three forwards are unprotected, and one of them (Peter Ferraro) will move on.
G Robert Tallas – 26-year-old goalie, originally undrafted
The case for taking Tallas – He was stellar two seasons ago as the backup to Byron Dafoe, posting a 1.83 GAA and .926 save percentage. Although he didn’t replicate that this past season, the big factor is that Boston has almost nothing in terms of goalie prospects on the way up and little hope of signing anyone as a free agent. If Tallas goes, they have no backup. Jim Carey was shoved off the NHL roster by Tallas, and John Grahame put up middling numbers on a Calder Cup-winning Providence team; he may not be ready for even NHL backup duty at this point.
If we take Tallas, or even threaten to take Tallas, Boston is going to be in dire straits. We can use this as leverage to get a valuable piece they otherwise wouldn’t want to give up.
The case against taking Tallas – That 1997-98 season was the only time Tallas really looked like an NHL player at all, and he played just 14 games in Boston that year. Outside of that, he’s a sub-.900 guy and has been his whole career. As a goalie, there’s no real point to taking him; he’s here only for the assets. And he most likely only has value to Boston, since there’s little chance of anyone else wanting to jump on an AHLer with a thin NHL resume. Sure, if Boston will give us something nice we’ll explore it, but if we take him and they back out, we’ll have cost ourselves a very valuable goalie selection spot, a free agent spot (as a pending Group II), and have nothing to show for it.
F Peter Ferraro – 26-year-old forward, originally a 1st-round pick of the NY Rangers (1992)
Speaking of “using Tallas as a threat to get assets”, there’s a trade offer on the table from Boston. If we pass on Tallas and take Ferraro instead, they’ll take Ferraro right back in exchange for Randy Robitaille; Robitaille is exempt from the expansion draft, so that’s not an option for us otherwise.
F Randy Robitaille – 23-year-old forward, originally undrafted
The case for taking Ferraro/Robitaille – Ferraro has been a terrific minor league scorer almost from the beginning of his pro career, and he got decent bottom-six time in Boston this past year and didn’t look out of place despite his lack of offensive production.
Robitaille is in a similar situation, but he’s a center who’s around three years younger. He led last year’s Calder Cup-winning Providence team in scoring by a huge margin; he had more assists than anyone else did points, and was third on the team in goals (28, just behind two players who each had 31). In the playoffs, he was second with 20 points, one behind Ferraro’s 21.
The case against taking Ferraro/Robitaille – Ferraro may not have looked out of place in Boston, but the team wasn’t doing a lot with him out there either. He’s been on waivers multiple times, going from the Rangers to the Penguins and back again; this past year Boston waived him, and no one claimed him. He’s replaceable.
For Robitaille, it was just a year ago that Anaheim exposed both Bob Wren and Craig Reichert, who led their AHL team in scoring by enormous margins. Reichert’s 87 points were second on the team and more than double the third-place scorer (Richard Park with 43); Wren had 42 goals and 58 assists for 100 points. Both were the same age that Robitaille is now, neither was claimed, and both have fallen back to earth. This isn’t to say that Robitaille isn’t going to be able to play in the NHL in some way, but minor league scoring stats are hardly a determining factor in figuring someone’s career arc, and certainly not the most important thing.