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SB Nation Mock Expansion Draft: Save the children!

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"Please not an expansion team!"
"Please not an expansion team!"

Recently, the SB Nation hockey folks began a mock expansion draft, mainly to kill some time before the season begins I assume. The first step was polling fans and seeing which cities should get the two teams. Any guesses as to which two teams won? Hint: they've both already had a franchise that have moved!

The full results of the poll:

1. Winnipeg -- 28%, 653 votes

2. Quebec City -- 24%, 560 votes

3. Seattle -- 19%, 434 votes

4. Hamilton -- 11%, 250 votes

5. Portland -- 8%, 181 votes

Winnipeg and Quebec City earned the two teams (that will eventually move and establish a second team in Phoenix and Colorado each) and Gabriel Desjardins of Behind the Net (who, by the way, does excellent work and shame on you for not going there more) and the ever awesome James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail will be the GMs for these two teams. Gabe will pick the players for the Winnipeg franchise while Mirtle selects for the Quebec City.

So, I got to play the role of a general manager in a post-apocalyptic world and choose who the Red Wings would protect. Why do I say in a post-apocalyptic world? Because the apocalypse is likely to happen before the NHL ever expands to more than the number of teams there are now. But I digress. 

Check after the jump for the stipulations on who we could protect, who was automatically protected, and how the whole thing worked out. 

Here's a summary of who would be exempt based on their lack of NHL experience:

Each team must leave unprotected at least one defenseman who appeared in 40 games last season OR 70 games in the last two seasons combined.

Each team must leave unprotected at least two forwards who appeared in 40 games last season OR 70 games in the last two seasons combined.

Players who have played in 49 or fewer games are automatically exempt and do not need to be protected.

We were given the option to protect either of these options:

  • 1 goalie, 5 defensemen, 9 forwards
  • 2 goalies, 3 defensemen, 7 forwards
Seeing as how Thomas McCollum wouldn't qualify to be taken based on the games played minimum, I chose the one goalie route in order to keep as many forwards/defenders as possible. I'm also greedy and don't want to give anyone up. There, I admitted it. 

From the league-wide list of unprotected players, Gabe and Mirtle will select 30 players for each expansion team during the mock draft tomorrow.

The list didn't really take all that long for me to construct as I felt it was pretty easy to imagine who our real-life, excellent-at-his-job General Manager Ken Holland would likely protect. 

Protected (Exempt in parenthesis)

Goalie: Jimmy Howard (Thomas McCollum)

Defense: Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, Niklas Kronwall, Brad Stuart, Jonathan Ericsson (Jakub Kindl, Sergei Kolosov, Brendan Smith)

Forwards:  Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Tomas Holmstrom, Valtteri Filppula, Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Jiri Hudler, Dan Cleary (Mattias Ritola, Tomas Tatar)

Unprotected list

Goalie: Chris Osgood, Joey MacDonald

Defense: Ruslan Salei

Forwards: Todd Bertuzzi (there you go, Petrella), Mike Modano, Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller, and likely Kirk Maltby (since he's apparently close to re-signing on a two-way deal).

I know Osgood is a long time Wing and a legend in his own right but if you're choosing for the future, there's no doubt you protect Jimmy Howard over him. Ruslan Salei was the easy choice as far as the defenders go. Bertuzzi, Modano and Maltby are all players that would work in the Detroit system well but is it worth giving up a younger guy like Helm or Abdelkader for one of them? No. Also, if a new franchise is being built, I highly doubt that any team would pick up one of these guys as they're on the older end of the spectrum (same for Osgood). I like both Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller but as mentioned before, just don't see how you could give up anyone else in favor of those two.

Thoughts? Reply with your own protected list (or, if it's easier you can reply with your unprotected list). It was a fun little "project"