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Pondering a potential Expansion Draft


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  Nick Vucic from the Hockey Writers website ponders how a potential NHL Expansion draft might go down. There has not been a draft like this since the 2000 season (other recent ones were the 98 and 99 seasons), which was not in the salary cap era. This would infer that a modern day draft would have some certain rules and regulations that were not present in previous expansion drafts. It would put a whole new dynamic on things.


  In the past, teams were allowed to protect 1 goalie, 5 defensemen and 9 forwards. If you protect 2 goalies, the d-men and forwards drop to 3 dmen and 7 forwards, so you pay a heavy price to protect 2 goalies. Usually a player has to have 2 or so years in the NHL to be eligible for a draft like this, so a lot of young prospects would be untouched.


  For the first time, we could see legit talent that have horrid contracts, or are just plain underperforming their present contracts be left unprotected. This could/should be used as a get out of jail free card for a number of NHL GM's. Almost like a buy-out scenario. The expansion teams could really benefit from this type of a purging. It is spectated in this article that players with NTC or NMC could not be selected (or maybe they are included but not elegible to be selected, not sure on this one)....so finally, Homers insistence on these stupid things might finally play to our advantage....lol. I can't see anyone waiving their NTC to go to an expansion team, unless it's a veteran who has already won and want's to play out his final years in his hometown.


 Some NHL GM's may have been managing their cap/roster with the knowledge that this might indeed really happen. Perhaps that is why Johnathan Gibson of the Ducks never played last year etc. I believe the criteria is 10 games played equals an official season in the NHL.




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  It all comes down to: are there two markets for the game? It has been how long since any of the four leagues have expanded?


 I think it comes down to a few key points.


A) Inevitably, 2 teams need to be added to the Western Conference in order to even things out with the Eastern Conference. Right now, it's easier to make the playoffs in the West than it is in the East. It's not a make or break kinda thing, but it will need to be addressed eventually.


B) Gary will not let any of the teams leave their current locations, he views it as failure and a black mark on his career, taking away from his legacy, which is more important to Buttman than *anything* else. The Phoenix situation dragging out for 6 years is living proof of that. Atlanta was an outright failure and had to be addressed, but no other current team can be viewed in that light (at least in Gary's little corner of the world).


C) Expansion rather than relocation creates cash flow, something the rich teams would welcome with open arms, but something the poor teams would consider necessary to pay some of the bills. They can totally rip off the 2 new owners to the tune of 200-400 million as a one time purchase price. This assures the new ownership groups are straight up loaded, providing stability moving forward AND proves they have the deep pockets to survive the first 5-7 non winning years that any new franchise would encounter as they grow the fan base.


 A. B and C all add up to expansion rather than relocation....thus, at some point in the next 1-3 years, I believe we will see a expansion draft...it's inevitable.


 When you look around at the possibilities, 2 out of Seattle, Quebec, Southern Ontario, Vegas, and Kansas City are sure to emerge as viable cities. I would imagine one U.S and one Canadian city would work out perfectly. Then you just need a slight geographical conference shuffle to tie things up with a pretty little bow....and even things out once and for all. Gary would see this as securing his legacy, which is the real goal in all of this.


 Taking it one step further, the NHLPA would be desperate to make this happen, maybe even give up concessions in the next CBA to assure it's rank and file grows by 60+ players.

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