Are NHL GM’s Like Maple Leafs Dave Nonis Taking Into Consideration A Possible Expansion Draft?

So there was a recent rumor going around the Twittersphere the other day that Quebec City is actually a lot closer to getting the struggling Phoenix Coyote’s than one might think and that got me pondering something. Personally, I have always been intrigued by the possibility of another team entering into the league and of the ensuing ramifications of an entry draft league wide; it is said that either Kansas City or Seattle might actually be in the running. This brings up a number of interesting questions on the topic…from what kind of effect would the expansion draft would have on current rosters, what free agents would be available to build a team around and finally would another teams entrance into the league truly liquidate the overall talent levels?

So first things first, since it was awhile since the last expansion draft was held, one had to look around pretty hard to determine exactly what the rules were. When conducting an NHL expansion draft, teams are essentially able to protect a listed number of players on their team and the ensuing draft allows the expansion team to pick one player from each team who are unprotected; thanks to Semper Tyrannus on HFBoards for the breakdown below:

“Teams can protect either 1 goalie, 5 defensemen, and 9 forwards, or 2 goalies, 3 defensemen and 7 forwards. Each team cannot lose more than 1 player off its roster, and in the case of successive expansion drafts (ie 98 with Nashville and 99 with Atlanta), teams cannot lose goalies in consecutive years.”

“For teams protecting only one goaltender, there was no experience requirement for those left unprotected. For teams protecting two goaltenders, each goaltender left unprotected must have appeared in either 10 NHL games in the 1999–2000 season or 25 games in the 1998–99 season and 1999–2000 seasons combined. A goaltender had to be in net for at least 31 minutes in each game for the game to be counted against these totals.”Wikipedia

Keeping the above in mind and the fact that teams are essentially being forced to give up a player without return (they are going to protect assets that can still garner trade returns for if necessary) here are some quick thoughts on who would be available if an expansion draft were held today. Please make note that I am no expert on every team in the NHL so your insights and suggestions are always appreciated. I am going by current rosters as of April 24th, 2013 and statistics found on hockeydb.com or insight on hockeyfutures.com. Also note that the picks are just for fun and what could ‘potentially’ be available given the circumstances but I am always open to suggestions on specific players/teams so dont hesitate to send over arguments (possibly backed with some stats or fact lol).

1) Philadelphia Flyers – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Simon Gagne, Ruslan Fedotenko, Adam Hall, Mike Knuble, Tye McGinn, Zac Rinaldo, Jay Rosehill, Jody Shelley
Defense – Kurtis Foster, Nicolas Grossman, Erik Gustafsson, Kent Huskins, Oliver Lauridsen, Chris Pronger
Goalies – Michael Leighton, Steve Mason

Most likely pick – Simon Gagne Why? Going to be available due to age and injury history. Flyers aren’t likely to expose Couturier or Read.

2) Vancouver Canucks – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Andrew Ebbett, Jannik Hansen, Maxim Lapierre, Manny Malhotra, Steve Pinnizzotto, Tom Sestito, Dale Weise
Defense – Keith Ballard, Cam Barker, Chris Tanev
Goalies – Roberto Luongo

Most likely pick – Roberto Luongo Why? If they protect 2 goalies Dan Hamhuis or others may likely become exposed who I would suspect are more valuable to the team and frankly this rids the Canucks of a sizeable and lengthy contract.

3) Minnesota Wild – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Cal Clutterbuck, Charlie Coyle, Matt Cullen, Zenon Konopka, Torrey Mitchell, Jason Zucker
Defense – Brett Clark, Tom Gilbert, Nate Prosser
Goalies – Josh Harding, Darcy Kuemper

Most likely pick – Cal Clutterbuck Why? Playing on a fourth line checking role although important, he was picked due to the possible PK work with Travis Moen (see below) on a team that is likely to require strong defensive play.

4) New York Rangers – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Arron Asham, Derek Dorsett, Darroll Powe, Taylor Pyatt, Mats Zuccarello
Defense – Steve Eminger, Matt Gilroy, Roman Hamrlik, John Moore, Michael Sauer
Goalies – Martin Biron

Most likely pick – Michael Sauer Why? With alot of youth on the back end there was plenty for the Rangers to protect and Sauer might be the odd man out. Sizeable, relatively young and that -/+ doesn’t lie.

5) San Jose Sharks – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Adam Burish, Andrew Desjardins, Scott Gomez, Tim Kennedy, James Sheppard
Defense – Jason Demers, Justin Braun, Scott Hannan, Matt Tennyson
Goalies – Alex Stalock, Thomas Greiss

Most likely pick – Scott Gomez Why? It was a toss up if the Sharks would expose Raffi Torres but considering they got Gomez for nothing…vertern player, a center with possibly something to prove.

6) Montreal Canadians – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Colby Armstrong, Mike Blunden, Gabriel Dumont, Jeff Halpern, Travis Moen, Ryan White, Brendan Gallagher
Defense – Francis Bouillon, Davis Drewiske, Tomas Kaberle, Yannick Weber
Goalies – Peter Budaj

Most likely pick – Travis Moen Why? This was a tough choice but you have to think Montreal would not expose Brandon Prust, he is an essential cog in this team and a guy that can hit, fight and chip in the occassional goal. Gallagher brings super pest like abilities with some scoring accumen as well and would most likely be sent down (if still on a two way) to be protected. Moen is still a strong 3rd line player that hits plenty and could assist on the PK.

7) Chicago Blackhawks – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Brandon Bollig, Dan Carcillo, Marcus Kruger, Drew Leblanc, Jamal Mayers, Viktor Stalberg, Andrew Shaw
Defense – S. Brookbank, Johnny Oduya
Goalies – Ray Emery

Most likely pick – Viktor Stalberg Why? Toss up again, Bryan Bickell could be the other player exposed but is matching Stalberg for production and has the additional element of considerable size. Stalberg is becoming a consistent looking 20 goal scorer with speed.

8) Pittsburg Penguins – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Craig Adams, Beau Bennett, Matt Cooke, Tanner Glass, Dustin Jeffrey, Jussi Jokenien, Steve MacIntyre, Joe Vitali
Defense – Robert Bortuzzo, Simon Despres, Mark Eaton, Deryk Engelland
Goalies – Tomas Vokoun, Eric Hartzell

Most likely pick – Jussi Jokinen Why? This is a team that is going to be scratching and clawing out wins and Jokinen still has some scoring touch and valuable shootout skills.

9) Tampa Bay Lightning – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – B.J. Crombeen, Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Tom Pyatt, Dana Tyrell
Defense – Sami Salo, Radko Gudas
Goalies – Ben Bishop, Mathieu Garon

Most likely pick – Radko Gudas Why? Lightning aren’t likely to expose an assistant captain like Ohlund or emerging youth like Aulie. Gudas has youth and size on his side and might be worth the risk of picking up.

10) Buffao Sabres – protecting 7F, 3D, 2G

Forwards – Luke Adam, Brian Flynn, Jochen Hecht, Patrick Kaleta, Ville Leino, Kevin Porter, John Scott
Defense – Adam Pardy, Mark Pysyk, Chad Ruhwedel, Mike Weber, Alexander Sulzer
Goalies – None

Most likely pick – Mike Weber Why? Cant see the Sabres exposing Enroth when they have not been overly happy with the team. Weber over Sulzer due to size, age and experience. Calming defensive defenseman with grit.

11) Boston Bruins – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Kaspars Daugavins, Jaromir Jagr, Daniel Paille, Jay Pandolfo, Rich Peverley, Marc Savard, Shawn Thorton
Defense – Matt Bartkowski, Aaron Johnson, Adam McQuaid, Wade Redden
Goalies – Anton Khudobin

Most likely pick – Adam McQuaid Why? Same as Mike Weber above, defensive defenseman with size and grit and I doubt Jagr would go to an expansion team that late in his career most likely preferring retirement.

12) Washington Capitals – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Jay Beagle, Jason Chimera, Eric Fehr, Matt Hendricks, Aaron Volpatti, Joel Ward, Casey Wellman
Defense – Jack Hillen, Tomas Kundratek, Steve Oleksy, Tom Poti, Cameron Schilling, Jeff Schultz
Goalies – Michal Neuvirth, Philipp Grubauer

Most likely pick – Tomas Kundratek Why? Given what is exposed it might be good to risk the pick on a young and emerging defenseman like Kundratek who has possible upside.

13) Toronto Maple Leafs – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Joe Colbourne, Matt Frattin, Ryan Hamilton, Leo Komarov, Frazer McLaren, Colton Orr
Defense – Mike Kostka, John-Michael Liles, Ryan O’Bryne
Goalies – Ben Scrivens

Most likely pick – Matt Frattin Why? Assuming the Leafs protect Colbourne by moving him down to the minors Frattin has shown a nack for the physical game while also scoring the odd timely goal and could still develop into a 2nd line roster player.

14) Detroit Red Wings – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Joakim Andersson, Todd Bertuzzi, Patrick Eaves, Cory Emmerton, Drew Miller, Gustav Nyquist, Jordin Tootoo
Defense – Carlo Colaiacovo, Danny DeKeyser, Brian Lashoff, Brendan Smith
Goalies – Jared Coreau, Jonas Gustavsson

Most likely pick – Todd Bertuzzi Why? Possibly some gas left in the tank while the expansion team develops, size and veteran presence, Wings more likely to hold onto the slightly younger Sammuelsson, wow can’t believe I just said that!.

15) Calgary Flames – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Tim Jackman, Brian McGratton, Paul Bryon, Blair Jones, Steve Begin
Defense – Brett Carson, Mark Cundari, Cory Sarich, Derek Smith
Goalies – Joey MacDonald, Miikka Kiprusoff

Most likely pick – To Be Determined. With the number of rookies on the team right now it is hard to even determine who would be available. In this instance I would pick a young exposed rookie and return them to the AHL.

16) Los Angeles Kings – protecting 7F, 3D, 2G

Forwards – Kyle Clifford, Colin Fraser, Dwight King, Trevor Lewis, Jordan Nolan, Brad Richardson, Nick Shore, Tyler Toffoli
Defense – Keaton Ellerby, Matt Greene, Alec Martinez, Robyn Regehr, Rob Scuderi
Goalies – None

Most likely pick – Dwight King Why? Assuming the Kings protect Toffoli by moving him down to the minors, King is a 23 year old developing power forward and a centre to boot.

17) New Jersey Devils – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Ryan Carter, Steve Bernier, Kris Barch, Harri Pesonen, Tom Kostopoulos, Stephen Gionta, Tim Sestito, Jacob Josefson, Mike Sislo, Steve Sullivan
Defense – Bryce Salvador, Mark Fayne, Peter Harrold, Eric Gelinas, Alexander Urbom
Goalies – Johan Hedberg

Most likely pick – Mark Fayne Why? The Devils are unlikely to expose some of their more key vetern squad, even on the back end but Fayne looks to be the odd man out. Relatively young, sizable and chips in offensively from time to time.

18) Carolina Hurricanes – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Chad LaRose, Tim Brent, Kevin Westgarth, Drayson Bowman, Riley Nash, Nicolas Blanchard, Tim Wallace
Defense – Justin Faulk, Jay Harrison, Bobby Sanguinetti
Goalies – Dan Ellis, Justin Peters

Most likely pick – Drayson Bowman Why? Still relatively young, had some success scoring in his career and might be worth the risk.

19) Florida Panthers – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Mike Santorelli, Drew Shore, Quinton Howden, George Parros, Shawn Matthias, Jack Skille, Jerred Smithson, Eric Selleck, Greg Rallo
Defense – Mike Weaver, Tyson Strachan, T.J. Brennan
Goalies – Jose Theodore, Scott Clemmensen

Most likely pick – George Parros Why? He has a really cool mustache and would be great for marketing 🙂

20) Winnipeg Jets – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Kyle Wellwood, Antti Miettinen, Chris Thorburn, Eric Tangradi, James Wright, Anthony Peluso
Defense – Grant Clitsome, Zach Redmond, Derek Meech, Paul Postma, Arturs Kulda
Goalies – Al Montoya

Most likely pick – Grant Clitsome Why? They picked him up off waivers and have a number of talented defensemen to protect. A solid first pass and possesses good speed with some nack for offense.

21) Anaheim Ducks – protecting 7F, 3D, 2G

Forwards – Saku Koivu, Daniel Winnik, Peter Holland, David Steckel, Matt Beleskey, Nick Bonino, Radek Dvorak, Brad Staubitz
Defense – Bryan Allen, Toni Lydman, Luca Sbisa, Ben Lovejoy
Goalies – None

Most likely pick – Saku Koivu Why? At 38 he is an experienced and calming force that has achieved much and come back from plenty of adversity in his career. If ever there was a strong willed individual to captain a new team, Koivu would be my personal pick and face of the franchise. Possibly slowing down somewhat, you can’t put a price on experience.

22) Dallas Stars – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Tomas Vincour, Antoine Roussel, Ryan Garbutt, Lane MacDermid, Tom Wandell
Defense – Brendan Dillon, Trevor Daley
Goalies – Richard Bachman

Most likely pick – Antoine Roussel Why? Assuming the Stars protect and move down like Eakin and Smith, Roussel may be available and would be an intriguing pick who appears to be having some NHL success although his AHL numbers are not strong. A possible injury replacement while you determine actual skill set.

23) Colorado Avalanche – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Jamie McGinn, Chuck Kobasew, John Mitchell, Aaron Palushaj, Mark Olver, P. Bordeleau
Defense – Matt Hunwick, Tyson Barrie
Goalies – J.S. Giguere

Most likely pick – Jamie McGinn Why? If exposed manages to do a whole bunch of things relatively well from cycling to hitting and is a really fast skater to boot. Works on the PK and can chip in on offense as well.

24) Nashville Predators – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Nick Spaling, Brandon Yip, Matt Halischuk, Richard Clune, Daniel Bang, Kevin Henderson
Defense – Hall Gill
Goalies – Chris Mason

Most likely pick – Chris Mason Why? Capiable backup goaltender.

25) Columbus Blue Jackets – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Derek MacKenzie, Matt Calvert, Cam Atkinson, Sean Collins, Colton Gillies, Mark Letestu, N. Drazenovic
Defense – Adrian Aucoin, John Moore, Dalton Prout
Goalies – Steve Mason

Most likely pick – Adrian Aucoin Why? Vetern defenseman with a booming slapshot.

26) Ottawa Senators – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Peter Regin, Zack Smith, Mike Hoffman, Jim O’Brien, Erik Condra, Matt Kassian, Colin Greening, Erik Condra
Defense – Mike Lundin, Andre Benoit, Eric Gryba
Goalies – Robin Lehner

Most likely pick – Colin Greening Why? Might not necessarily be Greening but the Senators would be likely forced to expose one semi young player that has proven themselves at the NHL level. Greening is relatively young, putting up points and has good size.

27) Edmonton Oilers – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Eric Belanger, Ryan Jones, Lennart Petrell, Mike Brown
Defense – Jeff Petry, Mark Fistric, Theo Peckham, Corey Potter
Goalies – Devan Dubnyk

Most likely pick – Ryan Jones Why? Plays with an edge forcing other players to keep their heads up. Can put up points as well and a good depth choice.

28) New York Islanders – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Josh Bailey, Matt Martin, Colin McDonald, Keith Aucoin, Jesse Joensuu, Eric Boulton
Defense – Thomas Hickey, Brian Strait, Andrew MacDonald, Joe Finlay
Goalies – Tim Thomas, Kevin Poulin

Most likely pick – Josh Bailey Why? Assuming availability Bailey could possibly thrive in a new setting and has the potential if he isn’t already one to be a strong second line centre.

29) Phoenix Coyotes- protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – Paul Bissonnette, Alexander Bolduc, Rob Klinkhammer, Chris Connor
Defense – Michael Stone, David Schlemko
Goalies – Jason Labarbera, Chad Johnson

Most likely pick – Michael Stone Why? Young with upside, keeps it simple while possessing a decent first pass.

30) St. Louis Blues – protecting 9F, 5D, 1G

Forwards – J. Langenbrunner, Scott Nichol, Chris Porter, Ryan Reaves, Adam Cracknell, Andrew Murray
Defense – Ian Cole, Roman Polak, Kris Russell
Goalies – Jake Allen, Brian Elliott

Most likely pick – Roman Polak Why? Assuming Schwartz and Jaskin are protected by the team by sending him back to the minors, Polak is coming into his prime and is a solid all round defensive defenseman with size.

Not taken into consideration for the roster was any player currently in the KHL although one could argue that the likes of Zherdev, Radulov and even Frolov would be players that should be under consideration for any expansion team entering into the league. Unfortunately I really don’t see any of those players coming back to North America and one should assume that any savvy NHL general manager looking for depth would have already considered the above as possibilities so for this article they were left out of the equation.

Forward Picks:
Simon Gagne – LW
Viktor Stalberg – LW/RW
Matt Frattin – RW
Todd Bertuzzi – RW
Travis Moen – LW
Scott Gomez – C
Jussi Jokinen – LW
Dwight King – C
Drayson Bowman – LW
Saku Koivu – C
Antoine Roussel – LW
Jamie McGinn – LW
Josh Bailey – C
George Parros – RW
Cal Clutterbuck – RW
Colin Greening – LW
Ryan Jones – LW
Calgary Flames pick

Defense Picks:
Michael Sauer
Radko Gudas
Mike Weber
Adam McQuaid
Tomas Kundratek
Mark Fayne
Grant Clitsome
Roman Polak
Michael Stone

Goalie Picks:
Roberto Luongo
Chris Mason

Possible Lineup Combinations:

Simon Gagne — Saku Koivu “C” — Viktor Stalberg
Jussi Jokinen — Scott Gomez — Todd Bertuzzi “A”
Jamie McGinn — Josh Bailey — Matt Frattin
Travis Moen — Dwight King — Cal Clutterbuck

Mike Weber “A” — Adam McQuaid
Michael Sauer — Roman Polak
Mark Fayne — Grant Clitsome

Roberto Luongo
Chris Mason

Spares – George Parros, Colin Greening, Ryan Jones, Radko Gudas
Rookies sent to AHL (if possible) – Drayson Bowman, Antoine Roussel, Calgary Flames selection, Tomas Kundratek, Michael Stone

In summary it really came out as expected, a collection of older players in the twilight of their careers and younger players whom have yet to fully prove themselves at the NHL level. A few stronger players could potentially be exposed on some higher tier teams but all in all I dont feel it would liquidize the overall talent level in the NHL and if anything provides another avenue for cusp level players to make it to ‘the show’. With the above it became apparant quite quickly that the first two lines would be difficult to put together in terms of high end ability but with some tactical analysis one could potentially put together two bottom lines that would not only offer some higher than average scoring but also great defensive awareness. PK strength would be a definite asset (hence Moen, Clutterbuck) and you might be in a situation where protecting one goal leads for the first year would be a common occurance. Shootouts would provide important points (hence Jokinen, Koivu) and having some organizational depth (hence Greening, Jones and outlined Rookies) would be important. All in all this team may still have some trouble in its first year winning a high number of games but at least it might provide the fan base something to cheer for with the likes of Koivu, Parros, Clutterbuck being recognized names and players one could easily root for. As always thanks for reading and food for thought.

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