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Knowing Expansion Rules is Key to Creating Expansion Lists

Brendan Savage’s expansion draft article gets the basic rules of the expansion draft wrong

Minnesota Wild v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

As our readers know, Mike and I have spent a great deal of time the last few months covering the upcoming expansion draft.

If you haven’t seen it, you can take a look here at our Detroit article. The attached storystream at the bottom of that article will take you to our entire series.

The only change we had from our original protection list is adding Nick Jensen and taking out Xavier Ouellet.

I’ve been interested in reading what other writers have to think about whom Detroit will protect. This morning I saw that MLive’s Brendan Savage wrote a lengthy article about whom to protect in the expansion draft.

It was riddled with errors. Enough, quite frankly, that it’s astonishing it was published by a professional beat writer. Everyone makes a mistake every now and then, and no matter how hard a writer works, he or she will inevitably have to issue some corrections.

The reason I’m taking the time to point this out is because having a beat writer be so wrong is harmful to a team’s fans who rely on the pros to know their subjects. This article has since been corrected, but the damage has already been done.

So What is Wrong?

I was going to have you go read the article and come back and see how many errors you were able to find, but with us pointing it out on Twitter, corrections have since been made.

Well, let’s start in the introduction (all quotes are from the original article):

Just to review some of the rules, the Red Wings don't have to protect players who have been pros for two seasons or fewer. They're exempt from the expansion draft. That includes minor leaguers. Also exempt are players like Johan Franzen because he missed all of last season with concussion issues and Frans Nielsen, who has a no-movement clause. (emphasis mine)

Honestly, the bolded section should be enough to say this article never should have made it to print. Nielsen’s No Movement Clause means he has to be protected (unless he waives it, which won’t happen), not that he is exempt. I get that some of the rules are a little hard to parse, but this is black-and-white.

I’m not going to go through player by player and debate his choices because as you’ll continue to see below, the selections were made without an understanding of the options. I will, however, point out a few selections that I think are particularly hard to understand.

I’m going to skip ahead to the end of his article and then come back to a few specific players because I think it’ll be easier to understand that way.

So here’s a paragraph from the end.

By now, you've probably figured out the plan here is to protect eight skaters and one goalie rather than break it down by position and protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one netminder. That will allow the Red Wings to protect four of their young defensemen and avoid possibly losing one while keeping the focus on the future and making postseason appearances an annual event once again. Only protecting nine players instead of 11 also opens up the possibility that Vegas will take one of the Red Wings' bad contracts off their hands. (emphasis mine)

[Ed: this paragraph was deleted between the time this article was started and when it was finished, killing the concept of the 8-1 scheme Savage originally touted]

If you’ve been following our series, you may be asking yourself, “how the heck does it make sense to protect 4 forwards instead of 7?” If so, congratulations. That’s a very good question.

Also, Vegas has no reason to take one of our bad contracts unless we make it worth their while by making a trade to grease the wheels.

So, let’s take a look at his protected player list.

Goal: Petr Mrazek

Defense: Danny DeKeyser, Nick Jensen, Xavier Oullet, Ryan Sproul

Forward: Tomas Nosek, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Henrik Zetterberg.

You may be wondering why Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Mantha were not protected. Here’s what he wrote about Mantha (it’s the same for Athanasiou)

He's exempt from the expansion draft but he would be one of the first players the Red Wings would protect if they had to make that decision.

This is just incredible. The information about who is exempt and who is not has been out for months. It’s as simple as clicking on Capfriendly. It’s also been discussed by other Detroit beat writers.

In fact, JJ wrote a follow up to my original article about why Anthony Mantha should be exempt with the updated information from the league that confirmed he will not be exempt.

JJ’s article was written July 25, 2016, 10 months ago (a month after mine).

He has since updated his article, but during an intermediate update prior to final approval, he still had Mantha as exempt and 10 skaters protected for his 8+1 protection scheme. This article was basically the PC port of Arkham Knight.

Just to touch on a few of his protection choices:

Exposing Mike Green is laughable. Regardless of what you think of Ken Holland currently, this in itself would be a fireable offense.

Protecting Ryan Sproul (since reversed) is nearly as bad.

Like I said at the start, it’s impossible to never make a mistake. These mistakes, however, should never happen from a professional writer, and a team’s fan base deserves better.