SBN Hypothetical Expansion draft

The NHL has a lot of wacky ideas. At SBN, we're looking into expansion.


Like it or not; with extreme interest in Canada, a brand new building in Kansas City and the plum Las Vegas market sitting out there for whichever league is brave enough to come to it, the NHL's probably expanding sooner or later.

SB Nation
is going around it's blogs to determine who each team would protect.  The ground rules:

- Teams can protect either "1 goalie, 5 defensemen and 9 forwards" OR "2 goalies, 3 defensemen and 7 forwards."

- If you go the two goalie route, at least one goalie left unprotected must have played in at least 10 games last season OR 25 games in the last two seasons combined. One game = at least 31 minutes.

- 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.

Ground rules on drafting:


- Each expansion team selects 30 players. A total of 60 players will be selected.

- The first 26 picks are to be used on three goaltenders, eight defensemen and thirteen forwards.

- The final four picks can be used to pick a player at any position.

- Only one goalie or one defenseman can be selected from each existing team.

- Team must be compliant with the salary cap.

After the jump, let's debate who the Pens need to designate as keepers.

No offense to Brent Johnson, but I think we can all agree on the 1G option, which allows us to keep more skaters.  It's not even worth debating, really.

One huge road bump might be this, for the defensemen:

 

- 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.



Since we are in the world of hypotheticals, the Penguins announced the bizarro-world signing of Shane Hnidy to a one year contract to add a veteran prescene as a 6/7 defenseman.  This has nothing to do with the fact that Alex Goligoski would be exposed to the expansion draft had this transaction not taken place.

Are the Pens likely to add a vet NHL d-man in reality?  Unknown, they might be comfortable going with Ben Lovejoy and Deryk Engelland as the #6 and #7 D.  But they did sign Martin Skoula on 9/29 of last season, so it's impossible to say they aren't going to sign a veteran.

So I am sort of exploiting the system by making this hypothetical Hnidy signing, but doing so in a totally reasonable way that the team would 100% do to be able to protect a 25 year old puck moving defenseman who scored 37 points last year and has the potential to do more in the future.  Those aren't the type of players that end up on an unprotected list, so I feel I'm keeping with the spirit of this thing.

Instead of a lot of polls, we are going to do this in the comments on who to protect and who to leave exposed for the expansion draft.  Remember: any player who has played less than 50 regular season NHL games is in the clear, so guys like Eric Tangradi, Ben Lovejoy and all the other prospects are safe.


I think we can all agree the following people should be no-brainers:

Protected list:
G (1 of 1) : Fleury
D (5 of 5): Letang, Orpik, Martin, Michalek, Goligoski
F (5 of 9): Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Kunitz, Cooke,

No surprises or controversy there, that's the core of this team and all the slam dunks.



So now we need to hold on to four more players, the candidates:
-Tyler Kennedy
-Max Talbot
-Pascal Dupuis
-Craig Adams
-Mike Rupp
-Arron Asham

-Eric Godard

Remember contract situations and player's ages too- Talbot, Dupuis, Rupp, Asham will all be UFA's after this season, which may make them less valuable.  Which three listed above do you want to see unprotected?

By the way, in case you were wondering, here's the players currently on the list for an expansion team to go after:

Unprotected list (for sure):

G: Johnson
D: Shane Hnidy (hypothetical signing), Andrew Hutchinson
F:  TBD

Maybe Brent Johnson gets gobbled up, but it's pretty slim pickins for the 31st and 32nd NHL teams.

So make your cases in the comments for who to hold onto.  To make it simple, throw out four names in bold (like my first comment will be) and then argue for why they deserve it.  I'll go back and whoever the consensus/strongest arguments are, those will be the last three forwards we hang onto.  Then we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

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