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June 19, 2017

You Heard It From Me: Expansion Draft Edition

As everyone knows, the Detroit Red Wings, along with every other team in the NHL released its list of protected players ahead of Wednesday’s expansion draft.  The Red Wings list generated a lot of buzz for one reason above others, that Jimmy Howard was the goalie protected instead of Petr Mrazek.

Here is the complete list of protected players as follows, according to wxyz.com.

Forwards

Justin Abdelkader
Andreas Athanasiou
Anthony Mantha
Frans Neilsen
Gustav Nyquist
Tomas Tatar
Henrik Zetterberg

Defensemen

Danny DeKeyser
Mike Green
Nick Jensen

Goaltender

Jimmy Howard

 

As it turns out, Dylan Larkin doesn’t need to be protected, as he’s exempt from the expansion draft since he part of the group of players with two years or less of professional experience.  This means, that besides Mrazek, the notable Red Wings that the Vegas Golden Knigts have to choose from include, Niklas Kronwall, Darren Helm, Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening, Drew Miller, Jonathan Ericsson, Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul, and Jared Coreau.  There are a few others who have mainly played in Grand Rapids.

For what it’s worth, I believe general manager, Ken Holland did a solid job identifying who and who not to protect.  The one major issue I had protecting Howard instead of Mrazek.  I’ve never been a big Howard fan, as I felt he was a glorified backup goalie who got hot at the right time and overachieved for a few years.  That’s my opinion.  Yes, he outperformed Mrazek this past season.  However, Howard is 33, with a big fat contract I would have never signed him to.  Exposing him to the expansion time would have been a golden opportunity to shed that contract.  Mrazek is 25 and still arguably has some upside.

A recent story from MLive, however, has shed some light on the fact that Mrazek’s attitude problems may be greatly to blame for the decision. This has somewhat changed my view, but only somewhat.  I’d still would have protected Mrazek.  Seeing that Glendening, Kronwall, and Ericson were all left unprotected were a pleasant surprise to me, given Holland’s tendency to overvalue his own players.

Lets face fact, Kronwall was never an elite defenseman.  He was a solid two-way defenseman ideal for the second defensive pair.  He received great hype because of his big hits, Brad Stuart didn’t get the recognition he deserved, but played well in his own zone.  Ericsson never played up to his size, and is a third pair defenseman at best.  Glendening may be viewed as a solid grinder, but the Wings already had grinders in Abdelkader, Helm, and Miller.  They need more scorers, so I’ve always viewed Glendening as expendable.  Helm should have never received a five-year extension, especially with his injury history.  Some people may take issue with Sheahan not being protected, but when you’re a former first-round pick as a forward, who goes almost an entire season without a goal, that greatly diminishes your value in my eyes.  If you all can’t tell by now, I like offense.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t realize the importance of defense, but many of you, like myself, remember a time, two decades ago, when the Red Wings could shut down teams, while still being one of the top scoring teams in the league.  They didn’t play a boring style of hockey.

Then there’s the fact that Abdelkader and Green where protected.  Abdelkader is a good character guy who can provide the occasional goal.  The Wings like his leadership ability.  Green has the big contract, but he’s an offensive presence on the blue line, so he has value.

In any case, the protected list is out now, and we will all see who the Golden Knights take in the expansion draft.  Stay tuned for more stories here on Sports Source Media.  You heard it from me, Seth Walker.

Which Red Wing player do you believe the Vegas Golden Knights will select in the expansion draft?

  • Petr Mrazek (45%, 15 Votes)
  • Xavier Oulette (27%, 9 Votes)
  • Riley Sheahan (18%, 6 Votes)
  • Niklans Kronwall (6%, 2 Votes)
  • Another player (3%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 33

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