Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee would not discuss the team's list of unprotected players in the upcoming expansion draft to stock the Atlanta Thrashers, but it appears likely the Capitals will expose defenseman Dmitri Mironov, who was signed to a four-year, $11.5 million contract last summer.
There are multiple options to protect players, but McPhee said the Capitals will protect one goalie (Olaf Kolzig), five defensemen and nine forwards from the draft, which will be held June 25. With Calle Johansson, Sergei Gonchar, Joe Reekie and Brendan Witt almost certain to be protected, the Capitals would have to expose either Mironov or Ken Klee. Mironov is more likely because his high salary is a deterrent. Defenseman Enrico Ciccone is also expected to be left unprotected.
The forwards most likely to be protected are Richard Zednik, Peter Bondra, Yogi Svejkovsky, Jan Bulis, Steve Konowalchuk, Andrei Nikolishin, Adam Oates, Chris Simon and James Black. Likely to be unprotected are Michal Pivonka and Jeff Toms.
Each team must leave unprotected at least one defenseman and two forwards that played in at least 40 games last season or 70 games over the past two seasons. Teams can lose only one player in the draft.