NHL Expansion Talk: Which Red Wings would you protect?

With all the recent talk about NHL expansion rather than relocation (because the NHL owners all get to share in expansion fees without having to split it with the NHLPA), I wanted to take a minute to bring this all to bear in a way that actually directly effects the Red Wings: The expansion draft.

This is how the league works. If they add teams out of the blue, every team has to submit to the idea of having their team picked clean of certain players so that the new team(s) can build an NHL-ready roster. Since it's still August, let's take a look at which players we would protect and which ones we would expose to such a draft.

For guidance, we'll look back at the last time the NHL had an expansion draft and go with the same rules. That year was 2000 and the league was filing the rosters for the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets. Detroit ended up losing Stacy Roest and Darryl Laplante to the Wild in that draft.

Here are the rules:

You may protect either

1 Goaltender

5 Defensemen

9 Forwards

2 Goaltenders

3 Defensemen

7 Forwards

You have to leave one defenseman and two forwards unprotected who either appeared in 40 games last year or 56 games combined over the last two years (truncated from 70 because of the lockout).

We're dealing with roster players here, so anybody in the AHL doesn't count. For the sake of argument, we'll say that waiver exempt players will count as being in the AHL, so you don't have to worry about protecting Petr Mrazek or Tomas Jurco. Let's also pretend that Daniel Alfredsson is signed, just to make it a bit more fun.

So let's hear it: who do you protect in an expansion draft?

My Choices

Jimmy Howard

Niklas Kronwall
Jonathan Ericsson
Brendan Smith
Danny DeKeyser
Kyle Quincey (yes I'm serious)

Pavel Datsyuk
Henrik Zetterberg
Johan Franzen
Stephen Weiss
Gustav Nyquist
Tomas Tatar
Riley Sheahan
Darren Helm
Daniel Alfredsson

Why: It's a tough call on guys like Quincey and Weiss, because I think that there's a semi-decent chance with Weiss that the Wings get out from under a contract that's got some real potential to be a brutally bad mistake over the next four years. Still, I want to give Weiss a chance and I think that if he's good, he's definitely a better #2 center than the other guys the Wings still have. On Quincey, it's the same deal. If we can potentially dump Lashoff and Kindl to Vegas/Seattle/Quebec City/The Moon, then we've made space for the kids I want to see more of this season. Quincey isn't great, but he's actually proven himself capable of playing in the top four. I'd like the flexibility to have him lose that job rather than being stuck just giving it away.