The first step to our mock draft is to establish the list of players that will be available for the Las Vegas franchise to draft. To do this, we decided to have a blogger from each team represent their own franchise and select the players that will be protected from the Mock Expansion Draft available player pool. To see the rules which were followed to protect players, hit this link.
- G – Connor Hellebuyck
- F – Alexander Burmistrov
- F – Nik Ehlers
- F – Andrew Ladd
- F – Bryan Little
- F – Adam Lowry
- F – Mathieu Perreault
- F – Nic Petan
- F – Mark Scheifele
- F – Blake Wheeler
- F – Dustin Byfuglien
- F – Toby Enstrom
- F – Joshua Morrissey
- F – Tyler Myers
- F – Jacob Trouba
Analysis from ArcticIceHockey.com:
As the Winnipeg Jets have already been crowned the 2019 Stanley Cup Champions, via The Hockey News, (we here at The Sin Bin do not condone this message) there should be little question that it doesn’t matter who is taken in this expansion draft. The 2019 Cup is already spoken for. It does, however, speak volumes about the prospects that will become available to the newcomers.
The toughest decision when deciding who to protect for this expansion draft came down to two players – Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien. Both are entering the last year of their respective contracts, and are not locks to even be in Winnipeg by the time 2017-18 rolls around. With that in mind, I’ve made the assumption that both will re-sign, and protected them accordingly. If they are not re-signed, I’m going to assume that at least one player from each deal Kevin Chevaldayoff makes will end up on the protected list.
The only goalie to be protected was Connor Hellebuyck, as any team that wants Ondrej Pavelec is welcome to him. Michael Hutchinson, while excellent in 2014-15 is going to be a UFA next year and would likely be let go regardless – to make room for Hellebucyk. The choice was relatively easy.
The choice to only protect one goalie was also made easier by the plethora of quality defensemen in the Winnipeg Jets line up. A top-four of Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom, Tyler Myers, and Jacob Trouba is something that should be retained, and Josh Morrissey is developing nicely, and was a priority for protection.
There is also a lot of youth in the forward corps that needed to be blocked off from expansion poaching. While mainstays like Blake Wheeler, Brian Little, and Mark Scheifele were pretty much automatic, spots were also reserved for Nic Petan and Nikolaj Ehlers – just two of the Jets many highly touted prospects.
It does leave some other interesting pieces open to the expansion teams. Drew Stafford is likely to get snapped up, as he’s a solid veteran who can put the puck in the net, and there is no shortage of NHL-ready defensemen to pick from. Pavelec is a proven NHL starter, and while his numbers may not be great, a team that takes him know they are getting someone that can play 65+ games in a year.
The entire list of unprotected players that will be available for Team Lane and Team Pothier to select from can be found here.
To see more team explanations just like this one, check out The Sin Bin Mock Expansion Draft Landing Page.