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Blues may elect to protect Ryan Reaves in expansion draft

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The Blues’ enforcer has stepped up his play recently.

St Louis Blues v Minnesota Wild Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Ryan Reaves is a lot of things: agitator, the Blues’ enforcer, a fan favorite, a locker room essential. One thing that he will probably not be: a Vegas Golden Knight.

The NHL’s expansion draft will be held on June 21st, and per Jeremy Rutherford, via Bernie Miklasz, Ryan Reaves will more than likely be a protected forward.

Why Reaves? The Blues need locker room leadership, as demonstrated by long stretches of decidedly off play this season. Reaves provides that. They need a big guy on the ice. Reaves provides that. Reaves also has become dedicated to his hockey skills. He’s shed weight, become faster on the ice, and has become much more aware of the puck the last couple of seasons.

The list of unprotected players isn’t a shock. While it would be unfortunate to see David Perron go after a successful season (18G, 28A) back with the Blues, there’s a potential that his slot could be filled via a trade or a quality training camp by a young player. Kyle Brodziak is an effective fourth-line center, but there are others to be had. It’s probably time for Dmitrij Jaskin to move on.

Jori Lehtera, well, if you look up albatross on Wikipedia, there’s a picture of his contract.

Seven forwards can be protected next week. It shouldn’t be a surprise to see Doug Armstrong select Reaves as that seventh forward.