(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

By Spencer Lindsay | Follow me on Twitter @dispencer88

The Boston Bruins released their list of protected players for the Expansion Draft this morning, and it looks exactly as most Bruins fans expected it would. The list can be found in the link in this tweet from the NHL Public Relations account.

As rumored earlier this morning by Nick Ritchie’s agent, he was left unprotected by the team. There was much speculation in the previous few weeks about who would be the one forward between Trent Frederic, Jake DeBrusk, and Nick Ritchie, who was left unprotected, but this doesn’t really come as a surprise despite all of that speculation.

Along with Ritchie, this notably leaves Jeremy Lauzon, and Connor Clifton exposed as well. Other UFA’s are also not protected by the Bruins, such as Taylor Hall, David Krejci, and Tuukka Rask. However, it’s important to mention that UFA’s do not need to be protected by the team. What you will likely see by the Bruins and other teams following the expansion draft is many UFA’s will sign contracts with their teams. This allows teams to use protection spots on other players. Look for Hall to sign in the following days, as rumored by multiple NHL writers.

The Bruins opted for the 7-3-1 protection plan, allowing them to protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender. Players with No-Movement Clauses in their contracts were guaranteed to be protected unless they waived that right, so the Bruins already had Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and Charlie Coyle as locks. The remaining forwards not previously mentioned who were also protected are Craig Smith and David Pastrnak. On defense, the Bruins unsurprisingly opted to protect Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Matt Grzelcyk. Goalie Dan Vladar rounds out the list, being the only goaltender eligible to be picked by Seattle.

The Expansion Draft will take place on July 21st, 2021, at 8 P.M ET. All NHL teams, with the exception of the Vegas Golden Knights, will have a player taken by the Seattle Kraken, who will become the newest NHL franchise. The Entry Draft will occur two nights later, on July 23rd, 2021, at 8 P.M ET, so stick around to see all the breaking news surrounding the Boston Bruins.