SBN Mock Expansion Draft - Who Do the Hawks Protect?

It's a slow news period around here.  Sure there's the Niemi signing, the Kovy contract issues just won't die and Sam came out of hibernation to ask you all for money.. but that's not a hell of a lot to really write about.  So SBN decided to see what would happen if the NHL were to add two more teams.  Through fan voting - two new cities were picked - one in Winnipeg and the other in Quebec City.  The former being named the Jets and the latter being the Nordiques... real fucking original guys...

And of course if the NHL were dumb enough to actually make this league bigger - it would need to conduct an expansion draft.  So the powers that be here at SBN decided to see what that would look like.  The great Gabe Desjardins of Behind The Net gets to play GM for the Jets while our Godfather, James Mirtle, calls the shots for the Nordiques.  The question becomes then - who do those two get to pick from?

Here's where we come in - we decided to use rules that were close, if not identical, to the last expansion draft the NHL conducted in 2000 when the Wild and Blue Jackets were added.  The rules are fairly straight forward but I probably managed to screw them up and possibly cheat them...  Here they are:

-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.

So with those rules in place here is my protected and unprotected list:

Protected:
Goalie (1) - Marty Turco
Defense (5) - Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Brian Campbell, Jordan Hendry
Forwards (9) - Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland, Troy Brouwer, Jeff Taffe, Tomas Kopecky??



Unprotected:
Goalie - Cristobal Huet (enjoy!),  Hannu Toivonen
Defense - Nick Boynton, Jassen Cullimore, John Scott?? 

Forwards - Fernando Pisani, Tomas Kopecky/John Scott??

Why the question marks?  Hit the jump to hear my explanations and see my questions...

Lets break this down by position:

Goalies - Leaving Huet unprotected is a no brainer - we don't want him and if one of the other two new teams wants him they're free to pay him his money.  If they can convince him to come back from Europe that is.  Corey Crawford is automatically exempt from the draft because he's only played in 8 NHL games.  I really didn't realize Toivonen had played 61 games in the NHL - fun fact though - Sidney Crosby scored his first ever career goal against Toivonen.  So yeah - we'll take Turco for the year and keep him out of Canada.

Defense - The top three of this group is once again an easy choice.  Seabs, Keith and Hammer are all locks to stay on this team.  Now, you could make things a little interesting here.  Campbell's cap hit is a bit outrageous - we know this.  So do we leave him unprotected?  There's two ideas here - 1) No one else wants to take on his cap hit so there's a chance he won't be taken in the draft.  That would leave us with room to protect another d-man.  2) Screw it - if someone else wants to take on that hit... let them.  Freeing up that money will allow the Hawks a lot more flexibility in the coming years. 

I decided against it though.  First of all, we saw what happens to this team when Campbell is gone this spring and it wasn't pretty.  There's no one to replace him on this roster yet so he plays a valuable role.  Plus, the only other options to protect are Boynton, Cullimore and possibly John Scott.  I'd much rather have Soupy than those guys who are easily replaced.  Sorry to Boynton, I don't have anything against you but there's only so many spots available.  Cullimore... I'm not even sure if he should be present here.  I barely remembered that he was signed to the team.  I included him here just to be safe.

Forwards - Now why did I say only "possibly" John Scott?  Well, it's because I'm trying to cheat the system here.  We have room to protect 9 forwards.  Toews, Kane, Hossa, Sharp, Bolland and Brouwer are all easy choices to protect.  That's only 6 though.  We need to leave at least two forwards who have played 40 last season or 70 in the last two combined. 

Fernando Pisani is a pretty easy choice to drop.  His health concerns alone make him unprotectable.. so that's one.

The other forward?  Maybe John Scott??  I'm still awaiting a ruling here - but Scott has played forward before in his career.  He also meets the minimum games requirement - so can the Hawks list him as one of the unprotected forwards?  Does it matter that he may have possibly played most games as a defenseman... or that is what the Hawks signed him to be?  I hope not, because again - he doesn't do anything particularly well other than fight.  He'd be an easy player to part ways with. Either way though - Scott's unprotected..

Putting Scott on the unprotected list also means the Hawks would be able to keep Tomas Kopecky... which I guess would be nice.  If the powers that be say that Scott CANNOT be listed as a forward though - I'd choose to leave TomoKop unprotected.  While he endeared himself to many in the playoffs - someone's got to be unprotected and he is probably the best option...

Why protect Taffe you may ask?  Well because he doesn't fit the bill for an unprotected player.  We need to leave two forwards unprotected that have played 40 games last year or 70 the last two combined, remember?.  Taffe's only played 29 games the last two years so he doesn't work for that spot.  We also have an extra spot or two on the protected list... so why the hell not?

So here's the list if Scott can be listed as a forward:

Protected:
Goalie (1) - Marty Turco
Defense (5) - Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Brian Campbell, Jordan Hendry
Forwards (9) - Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland, Troy Brouwer, Jeff Taffe, Tomas Kopecky



Unprotected:
Goalie - Cristobal Huet,  Hannu Toivonen
Defense - Nick Boynton, Jassen Cullimore

Forwards - Fernando Pisani, John Scott

If Scott can't be listed as a forward:

Protected:
Goalie (1) - Marty Turco
Defense (5) - Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Brian Campbell, Jordan Hendry
Forwards (9) - Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland, Troy Brouwer, Jeff Taffe



Unprotected:
Goalie - Cristobal Huet,  Hannu Toivonen
Defense - Nick Boynton, Jassen Cullimore, John Scott

Forwards - Fernando Pisani, Tomas Kopecky

So there we go - any changes you'd like to see?  Should we be allowed to bend the rules here?  Remember - players with less than 50 games played are automatically exempt, that's why guys like Beach aren't on here..

UPDATE:  Yeah.. the buzzkills who are running this thing won't let me list Scott as a forward.  So Scott is an unprotected defenseman and Kopecky is the second unprotected forward.  You can check around other sites for their lists.  There's not a hell of a lot of talent to be had on most of these so I'd imagine Kop goes pretty quick.  Mirtle and Gabe will be drafting teams later today so I'll post a link about who they choose.

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