SBN's Mock NHL Expansion Draft--Which Flames Would You Protect?

With the dearth of NHL news in the weeks leading up to training camp, SB Nation's hockey division has decided to run a little experiment in the form of a mock NHL expansion draft. Leading up to this exercise, two new locations were chosen (Winnipeg and Quebec city) along with names for the new franchises (the Jets and Nordiques)--you can all stop holding your collective breath now. Former SBNer James Mirtle will act as the GM of the faux Nordiques while Behind The Net's Gabriel Desjardins will oversee hockey operations for the Jets. The actual draft goes down later this week, but first, the matter of which players each team wishes to protect from being pilfered by the new franchises must be settled. Here are the rules, as per On The Forecheck, after the jump:

Ground rules on protected lists:

- Teams can protect either "1 goalie, 5 defensemen and 9 forwards" OR "2 goalies, 3 defensemen and 7 forwards." 

- If you go the two goalie route, at least one goalie left unprotected must have played in at least 10 games last season OR 25 games in the last two seasons combined. One game = at least 31 minutes. 

- Each team must leave unprotected at least one defenseman who appeared in 40 games last season OR 70 games in the last two seasons combined. 

- Each team must leave unprotected at least two forwards who appeared in 40 games last season OR 70 games in the last two seasons combined. 

- Players who have played in 49 or fewer games are automatically exempt and do not need to be protected.

All Flames goalies outside of Mikka Kiprusoff are exempt on the basis of not having played enough games at the NHL level, so we can safely select the "one goalie" option at the top of the list. Mikael Backlund, Ryan Stone, and Brett Sutter, along with several other prospects whom have appeared in fewer than 49 games with the Flames would also be exempt from the draft. The following Flames defencemen would hypothetically qualify for exposure in an expansion draft, according to the rules listed above:

D Jay Bouwmeester

D Robyn Regehr

D Ian White

D Mark Giordano

D Cory Sarich

D Steve Staios

D Adam Pardy

D Staffan Kronwall 

I think most people's lists will look nearly identical here; right off the bat, my five protected defencemen would be Bouwmeester, Regehr, White, Giordano, and then probably Pardy. I have zero issues with jettisoning any of the remaining three (Staios, Sarich, Kronwall) Eastward; let's take a look at the forwards:

F Jarome Iginla

F Alex Tanguay

F Olli Jokinen

F Rene Bourque 

F Curtis Glencross

F Daymond Langkow

F Niklas Hagman

F Matt Stajan

F David Moss

F Craig Conroy

F Ales Kotalik

F Raitis Ivanans

F Tim Jackman 

Again, the selection of the nine protected forwards will likely be fairly unanimous; I'll go with Iginla, Bourque, Tanguay, Glencross, Langkow, Moss, Stajan, Hagman, and Jokinen. I pondered protecting Conroy, but at his age, the likelihood that either hypothetical team would snap him up is debatable; Jokinen and Stajan are younger, and are probably better bets to score goals and provide offence--even if they can't handle tough minutes--which is what Langkow is there for. My list also leaves Kotalik, Ivanans, and Jackman exposed--but the issue with Kotalik being on the list is that he has a limited NTC. 

Each team's list of protected and unprotected players is due by Thursday, so I'd love to get everyone's opinion on the subject before then. Who makes your list? 

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