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Central Division 2013 NHL Mock Expansion Draft

Taking a look at how the Winnipeg Jets and their divisional rivals could protect players in the event of an expansion draft for a Seattle franchise.

Marianne Helm

The 2013-2014 NHL season marks the first time the Winnipeg Jets will play in a division with logical rivals, unlike the past couple of seasons in which they have been stuck in the Southeast. Close geographical rivals such as the Wild and Blackhawks will now be frequent opposition, as will the Avalanche, Blues, Predators and Stars.

Following the previous models of expansion drafts, most recently in June of 2000 when Minnesota and Columbus got the chance to pick a rag tag group of players from a list that their NHL counterparts had chosen not to protect. When Geoff Sanderson is the best of that bunch, you know that there's not a lot to choose from. Which is not meant to be a slight to Sanderson, who put in 355 NHL goals and was more than capable of contributing to his team, but is meant to show that there were no superstars available for the choosing.

The reason for that was that each team was allowed to select players they would protect from being chosen. They had the option of protecting 1 goalie, 5 defenders and 9 forwards, or they could protect 2 goalies but that would mean they could only protect 3 defenders and 7 forwards. There were also stipulations on ensuring that some players with experience were left open to be chosen, such as a defender per team that had played 40 NHL games the previous season, or 70 in the previous 2. There is yet another stipulation protecting first or second year players.Only one player is to be chosen from any team.

So how would the division shape up in the event of a Seattle team?



Coming off a Stanley Cup win, the Blackhawks lost a number of players this offseason, but still retained their core. The good thing for the Seattle franchise is that this is a very deep team, so there are a few enticing names to be had.

Protected Unprotected
Corey Crawford Nikolai Khabibulin
Duncan Keith Michal Rozsival
Brent Seabrook Sheldon Brookbank
Niklas Hjalmarsson Brandon Bollig
Johnny Oduya Michal Handzus
Nick Leddy
Patrick Kane
Jonathan Toews
Marian Hossa
Bryan Bickell
Jimmy Hayes
Marcus Kruger
Jeremy Morin
Patrick Sharp
Andrew Shaw



If this draft happened at a normal time of the year, protecting 1st overall pick MacKinnon would not have been necessary, but his name is one the Avalanche have to protect in this case, along with another handful of good young players like Duchene, O`Reilly and Landeskog.

Protected Unprotected
G Semyon Varlamov G Jean-Sebastien Giguere
D Erik Johnson D Cory Sarich
D Jan Hejda D Matt Hunwick
D Ryan Wilson D Andre Benoit
D Stefan Elliott F Mark Olver
D Tyson Barrie F Cody McLeod
F Paul Stastny F Patrick Bordeleau
F Ryan O`Reilly
F P.A. Parenteau
F Steve Downie
F Gabriel Landeskog
F Alex Tanguay
F Matt Duchene
F Jamie McGinn
F John Mitchell



The Stars would likely choose to protect youth over experience, so this is another team that features experienced players being left available for the choosing.

Protected Unprotected
G Kari Lehtonen G Dan Ellis
D Sergei Gonchar D Aaron Rome
D Alex Goligoski D Jordie Benn
D Stephane Robidas F Ray Whitney
D Trevor Daley F Erik Cole
D Brenden Dillon F Lane MacDermid
F Tyler Seguin F Chris Mueller
F Shawn Horcoff F Ryan Garbutt
F Jamie Benn
F Rich Peverley
F Valeri Nichushkin
F Cody Eakin
F Vernon Fiddler
F Alex Chiasson
F Antoine Roussel



The rivalry between Winnipeg and the Wild is already establishing itself, and the two teams have yet to share a division. That all changes this year.

Protected Unprotected
G Josh Harding G Niklas Backstrom
D Ryan Suter D Nate Prosser
D Clayton Stoner F Zenon Konopka
D Jared Spurgeon F Jake Dowell
D Keith Ballard
D Marco Scandella
F Zach Parise
F Jason Pominville
F Dany Heatley
F Mikko Koivu
F Torrey Mitchell
F Mike Rupp
F Nino Niederreiter
F Kyle Brodziak
F Matt Cooke



There isn't a backup goaltender on the active roster for the Predators, which would likely not be allowed. However, I doubt it would have much impact when the starter is Rinne.

Protected Unprotected
G Pekka Rinne G N/A
D Shea Weber D Victor Bartley
D Roman Josi F Richard Clune
D Kevin Klein F Matt Cullen
D Mattias Ekholm F Matt Hendricks
D Ryan Ellis F Taylor Beck
F David Legwand F Gabriel Bourque
F Patric Hornqvist
F Mike Fisher
F Paul Gaustad
F Viktor Stalberg
F Eric Nystrom
F Colin Wilson
F Craig Smith
F Nick Spaling



The Blues look like a good young team on the rise, and can afford to do without players like Jaroslav Halak.

Protected Unprotected
G Brian Elliott G Jaroslav Halak
D Alex Pietrangelo D Jordan Leopold
D Jay Bouwmeester D Ian Cole
D Kevin Shattenkirk F Magnus Paajarvi
D Barret Jackman F Chris Porter
D Roman Polak F Keith Aucoin
F David Backes F Ryan Reaves
F T.J. Oshie F Adam Cracknell
F Chris Stewart
F Derek Roy
F Alexander Steen
F Patrik Berglund
F Maxim Lapierre
F Vladimir Sobotka
F Jaden Schwartz



Luckily for the home town Jets the names of Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba are unavailable for selection, so superstar Eric Tangradi can be protected.

Protected Unprotected
G Ondrej Pavelec G Al Montoya
D Dustin Byfuglien D Mark Stuart
D Tobias Enstrom D Adam Pardy
D Zach Bogosian F Chris Thorburn
D Grant Clitsome F James Wright
D Paul Postma F Anthony Peluso
F Andrew Ladd F Alexander Burmistrov
F Blake Wheeler
F Bryan Little
F Evander Kane
F Devin Setoguchi
F Michael Frolik
F Jim Slater
F Eric Tangradi
F Olli Jokinen

Like what you see? Disagree completely? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.