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Posted August 22nd at 4:00pm.

From taking over the reins of the Vegas Golden Knights to adding in a 32nd team, the new Expansion Draft feature in Franchise Mode allows you to reshape the entire NHL. Run an authentic expansion draft where you select the best players from across the league, build a unique roster and take on the front office role to manage the team, the business and the games. Or if you’re playing as an existing franchise, protect your current team roster in the Expansion Draft by setting your own Protected Player list.

Read on for our deep dive on all the changes brought to Franchise Mode in NHL® 18


There are 3 modes to play within NHL® 18 Franchise mode: Classic, 31 Team Expansion Draft and 32 Team Expansion Draft. 


Classic Mode is Franchise Mode as you know and love it. All 31 NHL teams will start with your active roster. Select your team and jump straight into the 2017-18 NHL Season from the start of the pre-season in September. 

31 Team Expansion Draft

In the 31 Team Expansion Draft Mode, you start your journey three days before the Expansion Draft begins. There are two Expansion Draft scenarios for you to play in this mode: as the Vegas Golden Knights or as another NHL team.

If you choose to be the Vegas Golden Knights, you will go through the Expansion Draft and redraft their team based off your choice of either the Authentic Protected Player lists or computer-generated protection lists. You must follow the NHL Expansion Draft rules and select at least 14 forwards, 9 defenders and 3 goalies.

If you choose to be an existing NHL franchise, you can either set your own protection list or have the computer auto-generate one for you. Your protection list must follow NHL Expansion Draft rules and contain either 7 forwards, 3 defensemen and a goalie or 8 skaters and a goalie. Proceed to the Expansion Draft where the Vegas Golden Knights will take a player from your team.

After the Expansion Draft, you will head into the 2017 NHL® Entry Draft where you can draft and trade players like any other NHL team, and follow the regular off-season schedule with re-signing your players and Free Agency before jumping into the 2017-18 NHL season.

32 Team Expansion Draft

Reshape the entire NHL and create and draft a 32nd NHL team. Select the hometown for your team from cities all across North America and even in Europe - from Stockholm to Helsinki to Berlin to St. Petersburg. Customize everything about your team including the team name, the arena, the jerseys and even the mascot. 

After you finish creating your team, you can then choose to customize the AHL team to fit the theme of your new franchise. When you are done creating your team, jump into an authentic Expansion Draft where you select a player from the same 30 NHL teams across the league that Vegas did. The protection lists will be computer-generated from after the Vegas Golden Knights’ picked their roster.

Like the 31 Team Expansion Draft Mode, you will jump into the 2017 NHL® Entry Draft after the Expansion Draft. From there you will continue on with the rest of the 2017 NHL off-season activities, including a re-sign phase and Free Agency.

You can also choose to add a 32nd team and select an already-existing NHL franchise, like you can in the 31 Team Expansion Draft Mode.


There have been some added options to help customize your Franchise Mode experience. These include whether you want authentic Protection Lists for the Expansion Draft, the ability to toggle Player Morale on or off and the ability to toggle on or off certain pop-up notification warnings, like Scouting Assignment Warnings.

Pre-order NHL® 18

EA SPORTS NHL® 18 delivers the creativity of today's young NHL with new Creative Attack controls and the first-ever Defensive Skill Stick. Play the fast-paced, arcade-inspired 3-on-3 EA SPORTS™ NHL® THREES mode, or reshape the league entirely with the new Expansion Draft and your own custom 32nd NHL team. Do it all with the most co-op and competitive multiplayer options ever delivered in an EA SPORTS NHL game.

NHL® 18 is available worldwide on September 15th.

Next NHL 18 Roster Update #2

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