The Vegas Golden Knights are the newest expansion franchise to join the National Hockey League (NHL). If anyone even ten years ago had predicted which sport Las Vegas would get its first professional team, ice hockey probably wouldn’t have been the top choice, but whatever.
Anyway, Wednesday is the expansion draft, and if you’re unfamiliar with the player protection rules of that league, here they are:
The list of players protected by the 30 NHL teams in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft was unveiled on Sunday. Each team had the option to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or eight skaters and one goalie. All players with continuing and effective no-movement clauses had to be protected. All first- and second-year professionals are exempt from selection, as are unsigned draft choices.
Bold emphasis is mine.
These are very different rules from when the Houston Texans had their expansion draft. The other 31 teams listed five players who could be drafted by Houston, and were required to claim either 30 players or at least $27.2 million in contracts (which was 38% of that era’s salary cap). Some of the notable restrictions included no punters or kickers allowed on the list, ditto anyone set to be an unrestricted free agent heading into the next offseason, as well as not listing more than one player who had been tenured for at least 10 years.
The folks over at Buffalo Rumblings and Niners Nation have done their own versions of this fun hypothetical experiment, basing it off of the NHL’s rules. They’ve each chosen twelve players to protect from being drafted by a future 33rd NFL team.
While BR and NN both just picked any twelve players, I’ve tweaked it so that you have to choose six guys aside on offense and defense, regardless of whether or not they’re impending free agents in 2018. Additionally, you have the option of protecting players whose rookie year was 2015. That means the likes of Tyler Lockett and Frank Clark (both entering their third season) can be protected, while anyone from the 2016 or 2017 draft class would be exempt from being drafted by an expansion team.
Here’s my list:
- Russell Wilson
- Eddie Lacy
- Doug Baldwin
- Jimmy Graham
- Justin Britt
- Tyler Lockett
- Earl Thomas
- Richard Sherman
- Bobby Wagner
- K.J. Wright
- Frank Clark
- Michael Bennett
I’ve left off Cliff Avril, as tough a choice as it may be, but I chose Bennett because he’s the more versatile player on the defensive front. You could probably make the case that Avril should be protected over Wright, but KJ is also four years younger and is incredibly underappreciated for what he’s worth to this team’s linebacker group. Other notable Seahawks I’ve left unprotected are Kam Chancellor, Paul Richardson, and Thomas Rawls.
Now it’s your turn. You have an allotment of six Seahawks on either side of the ball to protect from being selected in an expansion draft. Put in your selections in the comments section.