Veteran defenseman Rod Langway and right wing Tim Bergland might not be with the Washington Capitals by late tonight. They top a list of 17 players the Caps have made available in the NHL expansion draft, which starts at 6 p.m. in Montreal.
The Tampa Bay Lightning and the Ottawa Senators will stock their teams with at 6 p.m. in Montreal. Langway, 35, and Bergland, 27, top a list of 17 players the Capitals have made available to the two expansion teams.
Washington figures to lose one defenseman and one forward in the draft. The expansion teams will get 20 players each. The current 22 NHL teams are allowed to protect 14 of their forwards and defensemen and two goaltenders.
Bergland, right wing Mark Hunter -- who was acquired in a trade Monday that sent Nick Kypreos to the Hartford Whalers -- and center John Byce are thought to be the most attractive Washington forwards on the list. Byce, 24, played for the Skipjacks last season.
The Lightning and Senators may shy away from Langway because he has said he would retire if chosen in the draft. Langway, Ken Sabourin and Shawn Chambers are considered the top defensemen available to the two expansion teams from the Capitals.
Skipjacks coach Barry Trotz, who is in Montreal with Caps' front office personnel for the draft, said last night that Byce could be chosen in the draft or be called up to the Capitals for next season.
"Each team in the AHL is going to lose one player to its NHL franchise as a result of the expansion draft," said Trotz. "We're all in the same boat. I don't think it will affect a lot of teams in the AHL because most of the players taken will be at the lower end of the NHL scale."
Trotz said that Skipjacks right wing Reggie Savage has the best chance to be promoted to Washington next season as a result of the expansion draft.