Hypotheticals: Expansion Draft

jdd

Let’s say for a moment that the NHL has decided to add two more franchises, like they did in 2000 (Minnesota and Columbus). The first thing they do is hold an expansion draft for the two teams, which are to be located in Hamilton and Kansas City.

The rules for the expansion draft are as they were in 2000, and are as follows (courtesy of Wikipedia):

26 of the 28 teams existing in the league at the time of the draft were each allowed to protect either one goaltender, five defensemen, and nine forwards or two goaltenders, three defensemen, and seven forwards.

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.

At least one defenceman left unprotected by each team had to have appeared in at least 40 games in the 1999–2000 season or 70 games in the 1998–99 season and 1999–2000 seasons combined. At least two forwards left unprotected by each team had to have met the same requirements.

52 players were chosen in the draft, two from each participating franchise. Only one goaltender or one defensemen could be selected from each franchise.

Additionally, all unsigned draft picks (except picks drafted from Europe in 1996 or earlier who remain with their European clubs) and players with two years or less of professional experience are considered protected.

Here then is the list of Oilers players that would be at risk of getting selected:

Eligible Forwards

  • Gilbert Brule
  • Alexander Bumagin
  • Ales Hemsky
  • Shawn Horcoff
  • Jean-Francois Jacques
  • Steve MacIntyre
  • Alexei Mikhnov
  • Evgeny Muratov
  • Chris Minard
  • Ethan Moreau
  • Robert Nilsson
  • Linus Omark
  • Patrick O’Sullivan
  • Dustin Penner
  • Fernando Pisani
  • Ryan Potulny
  • Marc Pouliot
  • Liam Reddox
  • Rob Schremp
  • Ryan Stone
  • Zack Stortini

Eligible Defensemen

  • Tom Gilbert
  • Denis Grebeshkov
  • Matt Nickerson
  • Ladislav Smid
  • Sheldon Souray
  • Steve Staios
  • Jason Strudwick
  • Lubomir Visnovsky

Eligible Goaltenders

  • Bjorn Bjurling
  • Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers
  • Devan Dubnyk
  • Nikolai Khabibulin

*I’m not 100% sure on Linus Omark and Ryan O’Marra, but for the purpose of this exercise O’Marra will be considered exempt, since I believe O’Marra’s brief AHL playoff stint in 2005-06 doesn’t count as a year of professional hockey, and Omark will be considered eligible because of his professional experience in Europe.

The List

Who should the Oilers protect from this hypothetical expansion draft? I’m curious to see what the consensus is in the comments, but I’ll do up my list now.

First of all, the strength of the Oilers current group is its defensive corps, so I’ve decided to protect nine forwards, five defenseman and one goaltender rather than seven, three and two.

Protected Forwards

I’m going to start with the forwards, since they’re relatively easy:

  • Ales Hemsky
  • Shawn Horcoff
  • Ethan Moreau
  • Patrick O’Sullivan
  • Dustin Penner
  • Fernando Pisani

Those six were obvious, and the next three comes down to a choice between a group of Gilbert Brule, J-F Jacques, Robert Nilsson, Linus Omark, Marc Pouliot, Rob Schremp and Zack Stortini. Jacques’ injury concerns, Nilsson’s salary and redundancy on the roster, and Schremp’s stagnation lead me to eliminate them. I also make the difficult choice to keep Zack Stortini off of the protected list because while I love his work ethic and willingness, I can’t ever see him elevated much higher than the fourth line. My final three protected forwards are:

  • Gilbert Brule
  • Linus Omark
  • Marc Pouliot

Protected Defensemen

This part of the list I found incredibly easy. I would protect the following five defensemen:

  • Tom Gilbert
  • Denis Grebeshkov
  • Ladislav Smid
  • Sheldon Souray
  • Lubomir Visnovsky

Left unprotected were Steve Staios (salary, age), Jason Strudwick (depth defenseman) and Matt Nickerson (obviously).

Protected Goaltender

  • Nikolai Khabibulin

This was easily the hardest part of the list. Bjorn Bjurling was an easy player to leave unprotected, while Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers came next because he is neither ready for an NHL starting role nor does he have Devan Dubnyk’s potential. That left me a choice between Nikolai Khabibulin and Devan Dubnyk.

Nikolai Khabibulin would be an obvious choice if his contract wasn’t so long (four years) and impossible to get out of (over 35) and there weren’t other goaltenders (Biron, Fernandez) still on the market. That said, I would probably opt to protect him and expose Dubnyk unless I could hammer out an agreement in principle with Martin Biron.

Since I can also only lose one goaltender, I’d work hard to try and convince teams to take Deslauriers instead of Dubnyk. At the 2000 Draft, San Jose made trades with both Minnesota and Columbus to keep them from selecting Evgeni Nabokov, and since my team could only lose one goaltender, I’d try and make a deal if a team elected to take Dubnyk over Deslauriers.

The Unprotected

  • Alexander Bumagin
  • J-F Jacques
  • Steve MacIntyre
  • Alexei Mikhnov
  • Evgeny Muratov
  • Chris Minard
  • Robert Nilsson
  • Ryan Potulny
  • Liam Reddox
  • Rob Schremp
  • Ryan Stone
  • Zack Stortini
  • Matt Nickerson
  • Steve Staios
  • Jason Strudwick
  • Bjorn Bjurling
  • Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers
  • Devan Dubnyk

As the G.M. of both Hamilton and Kansas City, I would make the following selections:

Hamilton acquires Rob Schremp for agreeing not to select a goaltender.

Kansas City acquires Cody Wild for agreeing not to select Devan Dubnyk, and selects Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers.

Hamilton selects Robert Nilsson.

  • Hippy

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    @ Ogden Brother:
    In my assumption that ESPN dropped the NHL? uh, it already happened.

    That ESPN dropped because of expansion.

    "And yet they risked (and lost) millions of dollars by watering down their talent pool"

  • Hippy

    @ Ogden Brother:
    You dont think that the NHL is watered down further than it should be? You dont think that an inferior product led to the loss of interest in the US, and therefore the loss of a quality TV deal?

    I dont think that it's that big of a leap.

  • Hippy

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    @ Ogden Brother:
    You dont think that the NHL is watered down further than it should be? You dont think that an inferior product led to the loss of interest in the US, and therefore the loss of a quality TV deal?
    I dont think that it’s that big of a leap.

    No, I don't think it led to a lack of interest in the US, in fact I'd say their is the same (or more) interest in the US that their has always been. I also think the league expanded to trying to land the big US TV deal… And I'd be willing to bet they did so at the reccomendation of the TV providers.

  • Hippy

    @ Ogden Brother:
    There was a time when the NBA was below the NHL in terms of popularity, it isnt even close now. Whether or not the league expanded in order to get a better TV deal doesnt matter, what has happened suggests it was a poor decision. They and the TV providers were wrong and it cost the NHL lots of money and accessibility. The fact of the matter remains that the 28 other owners have no reason to support failing franchises in bad markets. They are like a cancer that should be cut out of the league.

  • Hippy

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    @ Ogden Brother:
    There was a time when the NBA was below the NHL in terms of popularity, it isnt even close now. Whether or not the league expanded in order to get a better TV deal doesnt matter, what has happened suggests it was a poor decision. They and the TV providers were wrong and it cost the NHL lots of money and accessibility. The fact of the matter remains that the 28 other owners have no reason to support failing franchises in bad markets. They are like a cancer that should be cut out of the league.

    And again, your just assuming that expansion = no TV deal.

    Also, remember it wasn't long ago that the Oil were one of those cancers (and could be again in the not to distant future). Careful what you wish for.

  • Hippy

    I'm amazed how quickly we all are to deem Khabibulin expendable simply because of his contract. We have a proven veteran starter who's won nearly everything there is to win in hockey. He is one of the best goaltenders in the league. He's even better than Roli the Goalie himself (!)

    Do you want to know what a bad contract for a goaltender is?
    Look at what the Flames are paying 'Kipper'. Over 6 million is a bad cap hit for any goaltender, let alone a goaltender who gets outplayed most nights.

  • Hippy

    Also, JW, what do you see in Marc Pouliot? I couldn't believe that you would rather keep Pouliot than Zach Stortini. What potential do you see in him that you don't see in Stortini?

  • Hippy

    @ J.L.:

    I'll do an article on Marc Pouliot some time. He brings a lot to the table offensively that people don't seem to remember, plus he knows where his own zone is and can play any position.

    If he can ever get his head bolted on straight he'll have it made.

  • Hippy

    J.L. wrote:

    I’m amazed how quickly we all are to deem Khabibulin expendable simply because of his contract. We have a proven veteran starter who’s won nearly everything there is to win in hockey. He is one of the best goaltenders in the league. He’s even better than Roli the Goalie himself (!)
    Do you want to know what a bad contract for a goaltender is?
    Look at what the Flames are paying ‘Kipper’. Over 6 million is a bad cap hit for any goaltender, let alone a goaltender who gets outplayed most nights.

    That's the name of the game here, free cap space > quality hockey players.

  • Hippy

    expansion is good for one thing. cleaning the books form the other 30 teams. with the cap going down, and alot of teams getting in trouble cap wise, it could potentially help balance out the rest of the league. it wont be by alot. but if there were 2 new teams and they each take on about $40M thats an average $2.4M off each clubs books.

    silver lining to every cloud?

  • Hippy

    @ oilitsinyoutogive:
    Then why do they have to protect Omark? He hasn't played 1 game in the NHL. Same with DD and JDD. Why do these players have to be protected.

  • Hippy

    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    If he can ever get his head bolted on straight he’ll have it made.

    I think he only drafted as high as he did because he played junior on a line with Crosby.

  • Hippy

    – pouliot was drafted the year before Crosby played with him

    – who here thinks the Oilers should consider signing Sykora as a PP specialist to replace what Kotalik would have brought?

    – i think Cogliano for Harntell would be a good trade for both teams. Gives Philly a young cheap player, Oilers get rid of a small center and get a tough winger who can score. Thoughts? Dump Staios salary to pay the difference..

  • Hippy

    one other thing, don't those of you like Lowetide who think the Oilers are giving up on the future by trading Cogliano for Heatley (as part of the package) not realizing that it makes no sense for the Oielrs to keep both Gagner and Cogliano long term? You cannot have two small centers as number one and two if you are going to be a good team. If Cogliano cannot play the wing, it makes sense to trade him for a grittier, goal scoring winger who is still young. Heatley is 28. Hartnell is 27. Cogliano will be 23 this season and will be getting a big raise in one year. He will be a UFA in three years after this season, so what is the big deal about keeping him because we drafted him? By the time he is a true star, he will be UFA and may leave anyway….

  • Hippy

    smiliegirl15 wrote:

    Jonathan Willis wrote:
    If he can ever get his head bolted on straight he’ll have it made.
    I think he only drafted as high as he did because he played junior on a line with Crosby.

    Tikkanen's got it. Pouliot was drafted prior to playing with Crosby.

  • Hippy

    How many years has Omark played. How the hell is he on the list. Hemsky is way over rated. He does nothing on 5 on 5. Pouliot is a joke he only played well in quebec cause he was on Crosbys line.

  • Hippy

    For all those lovely people who don't like the hypothetical article: I'm a draft geek. I like doing up mock drafts, I like thinking about what I would do as a GM in different situations.

    I realize that many of you aren't interested, in which case I'd advise you to just skip the article.

  • Hippy

    Side note: A friend of mine works for the Rebels, he told me last night that D/B Sutter were both just in Kelowna talking to Heatly… Wouldn't that just be icing on the cake.

  • Hippy

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    And yet they risked (and lost) millions of dollars by watering down their talent pool.

    I don't understand. ~With incredible talent like Brule, Potulny, and Schremp languishing in the minors; it's clear that expansion is required~

  • Hippy

    @ Chris:
    Ha. The fact that 1 team last year (the Islanders)couldnt even find a 20 goal scorer suggests to me that the league is too thin on talent. Between 30 NHL teams and Players jumping ship to play in Siberia there isnt enough talent to fill the NHL.