For some reason almost every time media types, fans, and the like mention the Expansion Draft they tend to follow their statement up with a complaint that it’s not being aired live on television. Well, it’s time for me to explain why it’s not happening so you don’t make the same mistake.
First of all, the timeline allows for Las Vegas to submit their selections over a three day period. On June 17th, 2017 all 30 current teams must submit their list of either 9 or 11 (1G, 3D, 7F or 1G and 8 skaters) players they will protect from the Expansion Draft. At that point, Las Vegas has 72 hours to comb over the names and pick one player from each of the existing franchises. In other words, the process isn’t going to happen in a nice 120 minute span with four 3 minute long commercial breaks per hour.
Next, Las Vegas is entering the league alone. Therefore, they are not selecting players against another team like previous expansion drafts in 1992, 1993, and 2000. Vegas is competing with the clock, not another expansion franchise.
The entire 72 hour period will be spent shuffling names trying to come up with the best 30. They’ll consider contracts, age, skill, fit, and much more, all while making sure they stay within the requirements the NHL has set forth. Certain players names will be on the team, then off the team, then back on in a matter of the three days as they come up with the perfect roster. Every player decision has an effect on the other 29 they’ll be allowed to select, so it’s going to be a long tedious process that’s simply not going to be something we’d want to watch.
Finally, there’s not an “order” by which players are ultimately selected. This isn’t like the draft tonight in Buffalo where Auston Matthews gets selected first overall to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 30 players coming to the team in Las Vegas are all equal as they all must fit together like pieces to a puzzle.
As much as we would love to see the process unfold live, it’s simply not a realistic thing to put on TV. Ever watch Big Brother and realize after three hours all you saw was one dude brush his teeth and a chick have a hard time deciding between Honey Nut Cheerios and Lucky Charms? (I couldn’t find the cereal picture, but I swear I watched it on that show once) The 2017 NHL Expansion Draft will be something like that. A bunch of suited up execs sitting in a room trying to put together a puzzle tougher than the one on an immunity challenge on Survivor.
The NHL’s plan to unveil the roster all at once on June 21st is perfect. It’ll be short and sweet and then we can all start dissecting every nook and cranny of that puzzle.
Now you’re educated, feel free to share this knowledge with your knucklehead friends who keep saying, “but why isn’t it live?!?”