I think we determined last time that exposures were requirements
that must be met in order to qualify to submit a list of protected players. So if you can't meet the requirements, you don't get to protect anybody (aside from NMC's, who are mandatory protections regardless because it's a player right and not something the team or league has control over).
There's no excuse for not meeting requirements, given how much notice we had and that there's still an opportunity to trade prior to expansion. Even then, if you are still stuck, you can negotiate with Quebec. If you are sending them a pick and/or specific player, you don't need to protect anyone. Protection lists are "up to", not "must protect exactly this number of players of certain types". You can send Quebec a pick for them to take Pucky McPuckface and submit a blank protection list if you want.
If you can't meet requirements in time, you shouldn't be a GM.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but is the issue with free agency timing for UFA's who also happen to have an NMC? Doesn't matter ...
All players who have currently effective and continuing "No Movement" clauses at the time of the Expansion Draft (and who to decline to waive such clauses) must be protected (and will be counted toward their club's applicable protection limits).
"Continuing" means that NMC's set to expire do not count.
If you are still looking at July 1st as being illogical for a different reason, remember that we are pretending to follow the IRL schedule. We do things at different times so that the GM's have control and can do things like negotiate their own terms for contracts. That's part of the fun. If we simply follow IRL contracts it removes one of the big entertainment factors from our game.
The other reason for different timelines, is because we have to take time to process things and give people time to negotiate when they can't just make a phone call like IRL.