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NHL expansion draft would cause tough decisions

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

In the Dec. 17 magazine edition of THN, we decided to use growing rumors of NHL expansion – to Quebec City and southern Ontario/Markham – to have a little fun in the form of an expansion draft. Long-time hockey men Jacques Demers and Gord Stellick served as GMs for Quebec and Markham, respectively, and selected a 24-man roster comprised of three goalies, eight defensemen and 13 forwards. The results are guaranteed to provoke passionate discussion.

To get a look at their expansion rosters, you’ll have to buy the issue. But in this column, we’ll look at the first part of the expansion draft process – deciding on protected lists for all 30 teams – which in and of itself serves as a great source of debate. That’s because we modelled those lists based on the requirements for the NHL’s 2000 expansion draft that stocked teams in Minnesota and Columbus.

Back then, the league’s 28 teams were presented with a choice: protect one goalie, five defensemen and nine forwards or protect two goalies, three defensemen and seven forwards. And that’s where the first tough calls had to be made. Here are five teams we believed would face some serious dilemmas and the choices we believe they would make (full protected rosters for all teams are below):

BUFFALO: The Sabres were the only team we saw protecting two goalies, because (a) current starter Ryan Miller will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2014; and (b) backup Jhonas Enroth is just 24 and almost assuredly would have been one of the first (if not the first) netminders taken in an expansion draft. That meant leaving rugged veteran Robyn Regehr and puck-moving blueliner Andrej Sekera unprotected and taking a calculated gamble in exposing highly paid center Ville Leino.



LOS ANGELES:
Like the Sabres, the Kings currently have two capable goalies, but after the season Jonathan Quick just had – and the 10-year, $58-million contract extension the team rewarded him with – the writing was on the wall for 24-year-old Jonathan Bernier. Sure, L.A. could have protected both players, but that would have resulted in protecting just three members of a defense corps featuring Drew Doughty, Matt Greene, Alec Martinez, Rob Scuderi and Slava Voynov. In reality, Kings GM Dean Lombardi likely would trade Bernier before any expansion draft for an asset he could protect, but for the purposes of our fantasy expansion draft, Bernier had to be left unprotected.

SAN JOSE: The Sharks have one of the league’s deepest defense corps, so there was never much doubt they’d protect just one goalie (Antti Niemi) and five d-men. However, we presumed the presence of solid veterans Brent Burns, Dan Boyle, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Brad Stuart and Douglas Murray on the blueline would leave GM Doug Wilson no choice but to leave youngsters Jason Demers and Justin Braun unprotected. This is another instance in which Wilson very likely would make a transaction or two that allowed him to retain the services of one or both Demers and Braun or landed him a prospect or draft pick. Absent that taking place, this is the way we see things shaking out.

ST. LOUIS: Much of the Blues’ success last season stemmed from their powerful platoon of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott between the pipes. But when faced with a choice of protecting them both – and having to safeguard just three blueliners – it didn’t make sense for GM Doug Armstrong to stay with his pair of veterans. Indeed, the Blues had so many valuable assets on defense – including Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk, Barret Jackman and Roman Polak – they had a tough decision to make between 23-year-old Ian Cole and 25-year-old Kris Russell. In the end, we thought Armstrong would protect the slightly more experienced Halak and the younger Cole.

TORONTO: The Maple Leafs haven’t enjoyed much success since the 2004-05 lockout ended, but just because they haven’t made the playoffs in eight years doesn’t mean GM Brian Burke wouldn’t face some difficult expansion draft scenarios. On the one hand, Toronto’s lack of a veteran goalie made it easy to protect just one netminder. But when it came to their current collection of forwards, the answer wasn’t nearly so easy. The off-season acquisition of former Flyers James van Riemsdyk made that decision more difficult and it came down to these questions for the final couple spots: would you protect Nazem Kadri? Clarke MacArthur? Tyler Bozak? None of those players would necessarily be top-tier talent on other teams, yet there was an overwhelming sense among THN staffers all three of those players would be snapped up in an expansion draft. In the end, we felt the Buds would grit their teeth and leave 26-year-old winger Nikolai Kulemin (a 30-goal-scorer in 2010-11 who struggled mightily last season) unprotected.

Protected lists:

AnaheimDucks (one goalie)

Forwards: Bonino, Cogliano, Getzlaf, Koivu, Perry, Ryan, Selanne, Smith-Pelly, Winnik

Defensemen: Allen, Beauchemin, Fowler, Sbisa, Souray

Goalies: Hiller

Boston Bruins (one goalie)

Forwards: Bergeron, Campbell, Caron, Horton, Kelly, Krejci, Lucic, Marchand, Seguin

Defensemen: Boychuk, Chara, Ference, McQuaid, Seidenberg,

Goalies: Rask

Buffalo Sabres (two goalies)

Forwards: Ennis, Gerbe, Hodgson, Ott, Pominville, Stafford, Vanek

Defensemen: Ehrhoff, Leopold, Myers

Goalies: Enroth, Miller

Calgary Flames (one goalie)

Forwards: Backlund, Cammalleri, Glencross, Iginla, Hudler, Jackman, Jones, Stempniak, Tanguay

Defensemen: Bouwmeester, Butler, Giordano, Smith, Wideman

Goalies: Kiprusoff

Carolina Hurricanes (one goalie)

Forwards: Brent, Jokinen, LaRose, Ruutu, Semin, Skinner, E. Staal, J. Staal, Tlusty

Defensemen: Faulk, Gleason, Harrison, McBain, Pitkanen

Goalies: Ward

Chicago Blackhawks (one goalie)

Forwards: Bolland, Frolik, Hossa, Kane, Kruger, Sharp, Shaw, Stalberg, Toews

Defensemen: Hjalmarsson, Keith, Leddy, Oduya, Seabrook

Goalies: Crawford

Colorado Avalanche (one goalie)

Forwards: Downie, Duchene, Hejduk, Jones, Landeskog, McGinn, O’Reilly, Parenteau, Stastny,

Defensemen: S. Elliott, Hejda, Johnson, Wilson, Zanon

Goalies: Varlamov

Columbus Blue Jackets (one goalie)

Forwards: Anisimov, Atkinson, Brassard, Dorsett, Dubinsky, Foligno, Johansen, Prospal, Umberger

Defensemen: Johnson, Moore, Nikitin, Tyutin, Wisniewski

Goalies: Bobrovsky

Dallas Stars (one goalie)

Forwards: Benn, Eakin, Eriksson, Jagr, Morrow, Nystrom, Roy, Ryder, Whitney

Defensemen: Daley, Fistric, Goligoski, Larsen, Robidas

Goalies: Lehtonen

Detroit Red Wings (one goalie)

Forwards: Abdelkader, Bertuzzi, Datsyuk, Filppula, Franzen, Helm, Samuelsson, Tootoo, Zetterberg

Defensemen: Ericsson, Kindl, Kronwall, Quincey, White,

Goalies: Howard

Edmonton Oilers (one goalie)

Forwards: Belanger, Eberle, Gagner, Hall, Hemsky, Jones, Nugent-Hopkins, Paajarvi, Smyth

Defensemen: Petry, Potter, Schultz, Smid, Whitney

Goalies: Dubnyk

Florida Panthers (one goalie)

Forwards: Bergenheim, Fleischmann, Goc, Kopecky, Mueller, Parros, Upshall, Versteeg, Weiss

Defensemen: Campbell, Ellerby, Gudbranson, Kuba, Kulikov

Goalies: Theodore

Los Angeles Kings (one goalie)

Forwards: Brown, Carter, Clifford, King, Kopitar, Lewis, Richards, Stoll, Williams

Defensemen: Doughty, Greene, Martinez, Scuderi, Voynov

Goalies: Quick

Minnesota Wild (one goalie)

Forwards: Bouchard, Brodziak, Clutterbuck, M. Cullen, Parise, Heatley, Koivu, Torrey Mitchell, Setoguchi

Defensemen: Gilbert, Prosser, Scandella, Spurgeon, Suter

Goalies: Backstrom

Montreal Canadiens (one goalie)

Forwards: Cole, Desharnais, Eller, Gionta, Leblanc, Moen, Pacioretty, Plekanec, Prust

Defensemen: Diaz, Emelin, Gorges, Markov, Subban

Goalies: Price

Nashville Predators (one goalie)

Forwards: Bourque, Erat, Fisher, Gaustad, Hornqvist, Kostitsyn, Legwand, Smith, Wilson

Defensemen: Ellis, Gill, Josi, Klein, Weber

Goalies: Rinne

New Jersey Devils (one goalie)

Forwards: Bernier, Clarkson, Elias, Henrique, Josefson, Kovalchuk, Tedenby, Zajac, Zubrus,

Defensemen: Fayne, Greene, Larsson, Salvador, Volchenkov

Goalies: Brodeur

New York Islanders (one goalie)

Forwards: Bailey, Grabner, Tavares, Martin, Moulson, Niederreiter, Nielsen, Okposo, Ullstrom,

Defensemen: Carkner, Hamonic, Streit, Visnovsky,

Goalies: Nabokov

New York Rangers (one goalie)

Forwards: Boyle, Callahan, Nash, Gaborik, Hagelin, Richards, Pyatt, Rupp, Stepan,

Defensemen: Del Zotto, Girardi, McDonagh, Staal, Stralman

Goalies: Lundqvist



Ottawa Senators
(one goalie)

Forwards: Alfredsson, Greening, Latendresse, Michalek, Neil, Regin, Smith, Spezza, Turris

Defensemen: Cowen, Gonchar, Karlsson, Methot, Phillips

Goalies: Anderson

Philadelphia Flyers (one goalie)

Forwards: Briere, Couturier, Giroux, Hartnell, Read, B. Schenn, Simmonds, Talbot, Voracek

Defensemen: Coburn, Grossman, Meszaros, L. Schenn, Timonen

Goalies: Bryzgalov

Phoenix Coyotes (one goalie)

Forwards: Boedker, Doan, Gordon, Hanzal, Korpikoski, Sullivan, Torres, Vermette, Vrbata

Defensemen: Ekman-Larsson, Klesla, Michalek, Rundblad, Yandle

Goalies: Smith

Pittsburgh Penguins (one goalie)

Forwards: Cooke, Crosby, Dupuis, Jeffrey, Kennedy, Kunitz, Malkin, Neal, Sutter

Defensemen: Engelland, Letang, Martin, Niskanen, Orpik

Goalies: Fleury

San Jose Sharks (one goalie)

Forwards: Burish, Clowe, Couture, Handzus, Havlat, Marleau, Pavelski, Thornton, Wingels

Defensemen: Boyle, Burns, Murray, Stuart, Vlasic,

Goalies: Niemi

St. Louis Blues (one goalie)

Forwards: Backes, Berglund, D’Agostini, McDonald, Oshie, Perron, Sobotka, Steen, Stewart

Defensemen: Cole, Jackman, Pietrangelo, Polak, Shattenkirk,

Goalies: Halak

Tampa Bay Lightning (one goalie)

Forwards: Connolly, Lecavalier, Malone, Pouliot, Purcell, Pyatt, St-Louis, Stamkos, Thompson

Defensemen: Brewer, Carle, Hedman, Ohlund, Salo

Goalies: Lindback

Toronto Maple Leafs (one goalie)

Forwards: Bozak, Frattin, Grabovski, Kadri, Kessel, Lupul, MacArthur, Van Riemsdyk, McClement

Defensemen: Gardiner, Gunnarsson, Holzer, Liles, Phaneuf

Goalies: Reimer

Vancouver Canucks (one goalie)

Forwards: Booth, Burrows, Hansen, Higgins, Kassian, Kesler, Raymond, D. Sedin, H. Sedin,

Defensemen: Bieksa, Edler, Garrison, Hamhuis, Tanev

Goalies: Schneider

Washington Capitals (one goalie)

Forwards: Backstrom, Brouwer, Chimera, Johansson, Laich, Ovechkin, Perreault Ribeiro, Ward

Defensemen: Alzner, Carlson, Green, Orlov, Schultz

Goalies: Holtby

Winnipeg Jets (one goalie)

Forwards: Antropov, Burmistrov, Jokinen, Kane, Ladd, Little, Slater, Wellwood, Wheeler

Defensemen: Bogosian, Byfuglien, Enstrom, Hainsey, Stuart

Goalies: Pavelec

(Editor's Note (Dec. 4): Added McClement to Toronto protected list)

Adam Proteau is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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