So now that the NHL has released the framework for a potential expansion draft, it's time to think about the list of eleven players (including one goaltender) that the Sens are going to protect (or WOULD protect, as it would be no sooner than the 2017-2018 season). Logically, we would go with 6 forwards, 4 defencemen and a goalie although who knows what our roster's going to look like after Pierre Dorion takes over. Since we have no clue what shape we'll be in by the time the expansion takes place (and neither do YOU!), I'll just share my opinion of who I think we should protect, and who I think the Sens would ACTUALLY protect.
Starting with the 6 forwards. For me, the no-brainers are Turris, Stone, Zibanejad,
Karlsson and yes, both Hoffman and Ryan. Love it or hate it, the fact is that both Mike Hoffman and Bobby Ryan are crucial components to the Senator's core. They are both over-rated by their fans (like me), but also extremely under-rated by their haters. Plus, would you really give up >20 goal scorers for nothing? (although in this scenario, we'd probably have to let Zack Smith go)
So with these 5 forwards each taking up spots, there is 1 more open spot for a forward. Taking into consideration that MacArthur would be at least 33 years old at the time of the expansion, and the negative trend in his production, it may not be so easy to make this decision. Another option is Curtis Lazar, the Sens' 1st round pick from 2013. He may not seem worth protecting at the moment, but he would be a very logical selection for a new expansion team looking for young players to develop. We wouldn't want to lose a 1st round pick for nothing eh? Then there's Jean-Gabriel Pageau, homegrown talent. He's been developing into a very reliable player with Mark Stone and Zack Smith. Taking injury history into consideration, maybe keeping a younger player with a higher ceiling would be smarter for the Sens. Besides, we never really did complete our rebuild.Defencemen
Here we go. 4 defencemen. Easy decision. Erik Karlsson, Erik Sven Gunnar Karlsson, EK65 and King Karl. If only that was our defence corpse. Right now, protecting Marc Methot would also be a no-brainer, but we really don't know how good he'll be >3 years from now. Same goes for Dion Phaneuf, they would both be at least 33 years old by the time an expansion occurred. Somebody who WILL be in the prime of his career in a couple years would be Cody Ceci. If Cody Ceci does develop into the defenceman that Ottawa thought he'd become when he was drafted, then it would be a no-brainer to keep him. Right now, it only seems logical that we would keep our hometown boy. We should also consider the AHL's defenceman of the year, Chris Wideman as he'd also be a good choice should one of Methot or Phaneuf not be the players that they currently are.
This decision isn't as easy as it should be. In 3 years, Craig Anderson will be celebrating his 38th birthday. We don't know if he'll still be the NHL caliber goalie he is right now (probably not). We'd get to choose from Matt O'Connor, Chris Driedger, or the Hamburglar. It doesn't seem very likely that Driedger is ever going to get a fair chance with the big club so it's really a 2-man battle. Matt O'Connor is a highly touted goalie prospect but began his professional career with a rough start, although he has gradually improved. While Andrew Hammond hasn't continued his magical Hamburglar streak from last season, he is still a very capable NHL goalie. Who this goalie spot goes to fully depends on how the two develop in the next couple of years.
PredictionWhat I'd like
Hoffman, Ryan, Turris, Stone, Zibanejad, Pageau
Karlsson, Phaneuf, Methot, Ceci
Realistically for the Sens
Hoffman probably would have been history long ago and they probably would have dumped Ryan's salary somewhere for
a 3rd round pick something low. With the current forwards they have though, I'd expect them to have a somewhat similar list as mine but possibly swapping out Pageau for MacArthur or Lazar (Although Pageau is a hometown boy so he does have that going for him)
Karlsson, Phaneuf and Methot are all shoo-ins and Ceci is from Ottawa. Need I say more? Oh wait, Borowiecki's from Ottawa as well? ;)
As for the goaltenders, I'd expect they'd protect whoever is ready to win as Murray "really believes that this team is a playoff team he doesn't need to make any moves unless a real good hockey trade surfaces".
*note: If no-movement/trade clauses can protect a player, then the decision is much easier as Ryan, Methot, Phaneuf and MacArthur all hold clauses (as well as Chris Neil and Phillips).Also
THIS mock expansion draft has Craig Anderson being taken 1st overall
HERE are some more details about how the expansion draft would work
HERE are some MORE details and a Bryan Murray quote