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Buffalo Bandits 2019 NLL

Random Thoughts: NLL Expansion Draft 2019

With the NLL expansion draft right around the corner, it’s time to do another projection of the 2019 draft on today’s Random Thoughts.

With the NLL expansion draft right around the corner, its time to go through the exercise again of going through the rules and regulations of the expansion draft as well as who might be available in a few weeks to begin to fill the rosters of the New York Riptide and the new version of the Rochester Knighthawks.

Once again, to clarify for some fans who are confused over the Rochester/Halifax situation, the Halifax Thunderbirds are not an expansion team.  Last season’s Rochester Knighthawk roster and franchise rights are moving to Halifax for next season. There will be a new Rochester Knighthawks next season, keeping the old name, but with an expansion roster and new ownership, the Pegulas, who also own the Buffalo Bandits.

In order to not confuse you more on the Rochester/Halifax situation, the team I refer to as Halifax in this article is the team that is moving to Halifax this offseason, and the references to Rochester are for the new expansion team.

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The Basics

Here’s the simple parts as to how the NLL Expansion Draft will work:

  1. A coin flip happened during the NLL finals between Rochester and New York.  The winner had the choice between No. 1 pick in the NLL expansion draft or No. 1 pick in the entry draft.   Whatever the winner of the coin flip didn’t choose, the loser of the coin flip received. The Riptide won the toss and elected to take the first pick in the entry draft this September as expected.  As a result, the Knighthawks received the first pick in the expansion draft.
  2. Each existing team loses two players.  They might lose those two players to the same team or lose one to each.  This does mean that the expansion team is only filling 11 of its 25 roster spots through the NLL Expansion Draft.
  3. Each team is allowed to protect 11 players.  They cannot protect more than five forwards and one goaltender.  The number of defenders they choose to protect is unlimited.  If there is a question as to whether or not a player is a forward, the Commissioner has the final say.
  4. The teams will send protected lists into the NLL office on June 25.  We would expect that the league will release the lists the following day.  During the timeframe between the protection list deadline and the expansion draft on July 9th, there is a trade freeze, except with the expansion teams themselves.

Going through these rules there are a couple of things to note.  First off, as we look at one team in particular below, the Commissioner must sign off on every team’s protected list.  There is some debate as to whether one player is a forward or a transition player.

Also, since the last article, I have had several questions over the Riptide’s decision to take the No. 1 pick in the entry draft when there is no clear No. 1 pick at this time.  The reality is that last season, a gentlemen’s agreement was made between the two teams as to who would select players from what teams in the NLL expansion draft. If these two teams are able to reach a similar agreement, the draft order for the NLL expansion draft becomes somewhat irrelevant.

Other Considerations

You might look at my list of projected picks and protected lists and think I’m crazy because some great players were not protected or picked.  There are a few things to keep in mind.

The first thing to keep in mind is the unrestricted free agent conundrum. Free agents are normally players that are at least 30 years old and whose contracts have expired.  This isn’t always the case. Practice roster players can also be free agents as can restricted free agents (under 30 years old) that don’t receive a qualifying offer.  But we will keep things simple for now. Let’s look at the 30+ year olds.

If a player is a UFA (unrestricted free agent), the odds of them being protected just decreased considerably.  The reason for this is that if the expansion team drafts a UFA, that player is about to become a free agent two weeks later, and lost to the expansion team for no more than a compensatory draft pick a year later.

But….

Each expansion team could draft one UFA in their entire draft, and then slap the franchise tag on that player. The franchise tag gives the player a salary of 25% more than league maximum and immediately takes them out of free agency.  Each team is only entitled to one franchise player however, so each expansion team can only do this once. It would have to be a fairly high-level UFA to make it worthwhile.

But…

If a player is 34 years of age or older, they can reject the franchise tag altogether and so protecting any UFA that is 34 or older is completely unnecessary.

plays of the week nll twitter reactions

You would have seen a number of UFA signings recently such as Joe Resetarits, Evan Kirk, Chris Corbeil, Kyle Rubisch and Jordan McBride.  The question is why sign these players ahead of the NLL expansion draft when you now have to protect them. In all but one of these cases, the answer is simple.  These players are far too good that an expansion team would certainly use their franchise tag on these players and they would be lost to the team holding them, so you still have to protect these players.  When that’s the case, it doesn’t matter if you sign the player before or after the expansion draft.

For those UFA’s that won’t be franchised, teams will certainly want to hold off on signing them until June 10th.

East Coast vs. West Coast

Here is something completely new to consider this year.  Last year the expansion teams each had a location: one in the east and one in the west. Where a player lived was completely irrelevant because there was at least one expansion team within reach of where they lived.  This year its different. Both expansion teams are out East. How willing are teams out East to select players living in British Columbia?  The answer is the same one I commonly give when people are asking for tax advice, “It depends.” It depends on the player’s personal situation.  Do they have a job or a family that they cannot relocate? Can the expansion team give them a job out East that allows them to relocate? How good is the player?  Can you select and then trade the player to another team out west?

While the answer I am going to give you isn’t simple, you will see a few instances where I see a team passing on a player that is from BC for one that is based in Ontario that is only marginally lesser of a player.

Trades & Handshake Deals

We saw a number of trades and handshake deals occur last year that will throw everyone’s projections out the window, and one in particular that the league needs to take steps to avoid happening again, as it ruined the drama and strategy behind the NLL expansion draft for most fans.

The handshake deal I’m referring to was a pre-arranged agreement between Philly and San Diego in which they agreed that San Diego would only draft from the four teams out west, Philly would only draft from four of the five teams out east, and they split the two players from Toronto. Rather than having an NLL expansion draft where one team would pick, the other team would take a minute or two to analyze what they should do next, instead we received an expansion draft where all 18 players selected were known in advance and the GM’s read them off no more than 10 to 15 seconds apart.  I really hope we don’t see a repeat performance of that as the fans that had invested time into the NLL Expansion Draft felt cheated.

This was far from the only handshake deal that happened, and this can throw everything off.  One simple example was Calgary and San Diego coming to a handshake deal where Calgary agreed not to trade Frank Scigliano and leave him unprotected, in exchange for Calgary dictating who the second player they would lose would be.

There were also deals that were on the up and up and very open.  Buffalo worked out an official trade where they agreed to send an additional player to Philly in exchange for Philly not selecting Chase Fraser.  San Diego worked out a pre-arranged trade with Buffalo that if San Diego selected Bryce Sweeting from Colorado that it automatically triggered a trade to send Sweeting to Buffalo.

So with all of that said, let’s get started, out west.

Team-by-Team Analysis

Saskatchewan Rush NLL 2018 NLL Championship

Saskatchewan Rush

Protected List

Forwards (5)

  • Mark Matthews
  • Ryan Keenan
  • Robert Church
  • Ben McIntosh
  • Curtis Knight

Defense (5)

  • Kyle Rubisch
  • Chris Corbeil
  • Ryan Dilks*
  • Mike Messenger
  • Matt Hossack

Goaltender (1)

  • Evan Kirk

Unprotected List

  • Connor Robinson
  • Matthew Dinsdale
  • Jeff Shattler
  • Brett Mydske
  • Jeff Cornwall
  • Jordi Jones-Smith
  • Travis Cornwall
  • Scott Campbell
  • Nick Finlay
  • Jeremy Thompson
  • Nic Bilic
  • Adam Shute
  • Peter Dubenski
  • Ryan MacLean
  • Mason Pynn
  • Tyler Gaulton

Unrestricted Free Agents

Franchiseable

  • Brett Mydske
  • Ryan Dilks
  • Jeremy Thompson

Non-Franchiseable

  • Jeff Shattler
  • Scott Campbell

Projected Picks

  • Connor Robinson
  • Jeff Cornwall

Analysis

I have made one change since the last projection, and it became very obvious as the regular season came to an end.  Curtis Knight will be protected, Connor Robinson will not. This isn’t to say that Robinson won’t be with the Rush next year.  Here’s my theory. The Rush will have four 1st round picks this year.  They can likely get Robinson back with the #9 or #10 pick.  I would expect that trade to be made in advance.

With the list below it leaves the Rush in the pickle it was in last year.  Brett Mydske and Jeff Cornwall are not protected. This time I believe the pick is Cornwall and not Mydske.  Mydske is a UFA. That means franchising him and finding someone willing to pay franchise money and give back assets.  With Cornwall you can avoid paying franchise money. He’s a better target.

I don’t expect Cornwall to play for the expansion team that selects him either.  He’s starting a new career as a firefighter in BC. I doubt he has the ability to play out east.  However as Dan Carey stated on Lacrosse Classified a few weeks ago, he’s willing to take the best available player, even if that means having to trade that player later.  Could the Rush trade to get both players back with all of their draft picks? Anything is possible.

I was asked repeatedly about whether Adam Shute would be selected, and I just can’t see it happening.  First of all, Shute is a medical student in Calgary. He can’t go out east. Also, there are just too many attractive options on the Rush.  Keep in mind, Marty Dinsdale is also available. How crazy would it be that he gets bypassed two years in a row in the NLL expansion draft. That’s just how deep the Rush roster is.

One final note.  Ryan Dilks, as far as I understand, is now a UFA.  Since the Rush signed him to the practice roster late in the season, any practice roster players are UFA’s.

San Diego Seals

Protected List

Forwards (5)

  • Austin Staats
  • Turner Evans
  • Casey Jackson
  • Kyle Buchanan*
  • Connor Fields

Defense (5)

  • Brodie Merrill
  • Adrian Sorichetti
  • Tor Reinholdt
  • Cam Holding*
  • Drew Belgrave

Goaltender (1)

  • Frank Scigliano

Unprotected List

  • Connor Kearnan
  • Dan Dawson
  • Garrett Billings
  • Connor Kelly
  • Paul Dawson
  • Garret McIntosh
  • Ethan Schott
  • Kyle Hartzell
  • Johnny Pearson
  • Nick Ossello
  • Zach Miller
  • Garrett Epple
  • Brandon Clelland
  • Tyler Carlson
  • Rylan Hartley
  • Graydon Bradley
  • Mike Schlosser
  • Jules Heningburg
  • Brendan Ranford
  • Joe Walters
  • Evan Messenger

Unrestricted Free Agents

Franchiseable

  • Garett McIntosh
  • Garett Billings
  • Cam Holding
  • Tyler Carlson
  • Kyle Buchanan

Non-Franchiseable

  • Paul Dawson
  • Dan Dawson
  • Kyle Hartzell
  • Joe Walters

Projected Picks

  • Connor Kelly
  • Connor Kearnan

Analysis

This is one of those situations where I wish the league data would be better.  Cam Holding might, or might not be a UFA, the information isn’t clear.  But in any event, I think he’s protected as he’s too good of a UFA that can be franchised to head out east.

I really struggled with the last few protected players and the projected picks.  Leaving Garrett Billings unprotected would be a risk, but a risk worth taking in my mind.  He is a UFA, and one year away from being non-franchiseable. Between that, and not likely to move out east, I just don’t see him being picked if he’s exposed.

I did switch the final forward that I would protect to Connor Kelly.  He only played two regular season games this past year because of injuries, but his upside potential is far greater than the others on the list.  Yes field lacrosse is a different game, but he’s playing exceptionally well in the PLL so far. Two good young players may be exposed. But to my faith in who gets picked, you could easily sway me that I’m wrong.

2019 nll championship calgary roughnecks buffalo bandits lacrosse
Photo: Paul Mawdsley / Calgary Roughnecks

Calgary Roughnecks

Protected Players

Forwards (4)

  • Curtis Dickson
  • Dane Dobbie*
  • Jesse King
  • Wes Berg

Defense (6)

  • Zach Currier
  • Tyler Burton
  • Mitch Wilde
  • Tyson Bell
  • Eli Salama
  • Dan MacRae*

Goaltender (1)

  • Christian Del Bianco

Unprotected List

  • Rhys Duch
  • Riley Loewen
  • Tyler Pace
  • Reece Callies
  • Dan Taylor
  • Curtis Manning
  • Greg Harnett
  • Mike Carnegie
  • Shane Simpson
  • Chad Cummings
  • Anthony Kalinich
  • Cole Pickup
  • Tyler Richards
  • Sean Tyrell
  • Bob Snider
  • Ryan Martell

Unrestricted Free Agents

Franchiseable

  • Tyler Richards
  • Dan MacRae
  • Curtis Manning
  • Rhys Duch
  • Dane Dobbie
  • Riley Loewen

Non-Franchiseable

  • Mike Carnegie
  • Bob Snider

Projected Picks

  • Chad Cummings
  • Greg Harnett

Analysis

If you look at this list at first, you might think I’m nuts.  Calgary not protecting the overtime hero, but protecting a player that didn’t even play last year, and not protecting another major forward.  Rhys Duch, the overtime hero, suffered a significant injury. He’s one of my favorites out on the floor, and I hope he recovers from this. But it will be tough for him to play next year, and a year from now he’s a non-franchiseable UFA.  There isn’t much sense in protecting him.

Tyler Pace won’t need protecting for a simple reason.  He has US immigration problems which meant all last season, he couldn’t enter the US for any games.  There is no chance either of the two US based expansion teams select him.

As for Wes Berg, why protect him?  Simple, Calgary needs to trade him, not lose him in the NLL expansion draft, and he has some significant value still in my opinion, as long as another team can work out a deal with him.  He’s too valuable to simply lose for nothing.

I changed my mind on Dan MacRae.  He’s the team captain and certainly a franchise tag target if he’s exposed.  That means that Dan Taylor isn’t protected, but I think that there are other targets.  Cummings is an obvious target. Don’t be surprised if Reece Callies is the other target instead of Harnett. 

Colorado Mammoth

Protected List

Forwards (5)

  • Kyle Killen
  • Ryan Lee
  • Eli McLaughlin
  • Jacob Ruest
  • Jeff Wittig

Defense (5)

  • Taylor Stuart
  • Robert Hope
  • Jordan Gilles
  • Dan Coates
  • Joey Cupido

Goaltender (1)

  • Dillon Ward

Unprotected List

  • Jeremy Noble
  • Chris Wardle
  • Cory Vitarelli
  • Josh Sullivan
  • Tim Edwards
  • Scott Carnegie
  • Ian Llord
  • John Lintz
  • Julian Garritano
  • Steve Fryer
  • Brandon Humphrey
  • John St. John
  • Steven Lee

Unrestricted Free Agents

Franchiseable

  • John Lintz

Non-Franchiseable

  • Brad Self
  • Cory Vitarelli
  • Scott Carnegie
  • Ian Llord

Projected Picks

  • Jeremy Noble
  • Chris Wardle

Analysis

Call me crazy, but yes, I think an expansion team should take a chance on Jeremy Noble.  The Mammoth are ready to move on from him, but he’s too talented not to take that chance, and I fully believe he’ll come out of his slump.

As for the 2nd pick, Wardle is an attractive option, but so is Steve Fryer, in an expansion draft with few good goaltending options.

nll national lacrosse league vancouver warriors winners and losers
Colorado Mammoth at Vancouver Warriors 01.26.19
Bob Frid
January 26, 2019
National Lacrosse League

Vancouver Warriors

Protected List

Forwards (5)

  • Mitch Jones
  • Logan Schuss
  • Keegan Bal
  • Tony Malcolm
  • Jordan McBride

Defense (5)

  • Matt Beers
  • Justin Salt
  • Colton Porter
  • Zack Porter
  • Chris O’Dougherty

Goaltender (1)

  • Eric Penney

Unprotected List

  • Brandon Goodwin
  • Owen Barker
  • Joel McCready
  • Brody Eastwood
  • Jean-Luc Chetner
  • James Rahe
  • Jarret Toll
  • Tyler Codron
  • Dallas Wade
  • Reid Mydske
  • Travis Burton
  • Ian Hawksbee
  • Aaron Bold
  • Nate Wade
  • Andrew Gallant
  • Ty Goff
  • Zac Christianson

Unrestricted Free Agents

Franchiseable

  • Jarrett Toll
  • Tyler Codron
  • Joel McCready

Non-Franchiseable

  • Aaron Bold
  • Ian Hawksbee

Projected Picks

  • Jean-Luc Chetner
  • Owen Barker

Analysis

Here’s my issue with how Vancouver handled things this offseason.  Jordan McBride was a UFA. I highly doubt either expansion team had any intention of having to franchise him and convincing him of moving out east, and the trade value of him being franchised would diminish significantly.  That’s why it made zero sense to me for Vancouver to sign him early and have to protect them.

My confidence in whether my projected lists is correct with Vancouver is very low.  Last year Casey Jackson was an obvious choice. The second selection, Brendan Ranford, someone who had never played in the league and was playing pro hockey in Europe.

Buffalo Bandits

Protected List

Forwards (5)

  • Shawn Evans
  • Dhane Smith
  • Josh Byrne
  • Chris Cloutier
  • Corey Small*

Defense (5)

  • Steve Priolo*
  • Ian MacKay
  • Matt Gilray
  • Nick Weiss
  • Bryce Sweeting

Goaltender (1)

  • Matt Vinc 

Unprotected List

  • Thomas Hoggarth
  • Chase Fraser
  • Jordan Durston
  • Kevin Brownell
  • Mitch De Snoo
  • Justin Martin
  • Matt Spanger
  • Ethan O’Connor
  • Jon Harnett
  • Reid Action
  • Mark Steenhuis
  • Craig England
  • Zach Higgins
  • Dallas Bridle
  • Zach Herrewyres
  • Josh Medeiros
  • Devlin Shanahan

Unrestricted Free Agents

Franchiseable

  • Kevin Brownell
  • Steve Priolo
  • Jon Harnett
  • Corey Small

Non-Franchiseable

  • Mark Steenhuis

Projected Picks

  • Thomas Hoggarth
  • Chase Fraser

Analysis

One thing has changed since my last projection, Corey Small is protected, Thomas Hoggarth is not.  Will Small be franchised if he’s left exposed, absolutely. Hoggarth’s injuries are a concern. I fully believe that Steve Dietrich will make a trade to keep Hoggarth because he fits so well in that system.  

The second pick is between two players in my opinion, Chase Fraser and Zach Higgins.  There are only a few goaltending options available so Higgins may be one of those targets.  But from a purely trade value perspective, Fraser has more value, and let’s remember, the Bandits traded last year to hold onto Fraser. They might just do it again.

nll power rankings bandits swarm

Georgia Swarm

Protected List

Forwards (5)

  • Lyle Thompson
  • Miles Thompson
  • Randy Staats
  • Shayne Jackson
  • Holden Cattoni

Defense (5)

  • Jason Noble
  • Jordan MacIntosh
  • Chad Tutton
  • Bryan Cole
  • Brendan Bomberry

Goaltender (1)

  • Kevin Orleman

Unprotected List

  • Joel Tinney
  • Jerome Thompson
  • Zed Williams
  • Alex Crepinsek
  • Adam Wiedemann
  • Leo Stouros
  • John Ranagan
  • Matt Dunn
  • Connor Sellars
  • Mike Poulin
  • Craig Wende
  • Tyler Ferreira
  • Leroy Halftown
  • Steven Orleman

Unrestricted Free Agents

Franchiseable

  • Jerome Thompson

Non-Franchiseable

  • Mike Poulin

Projected Picks

  • Zed Williams
  • Adam Wiedemann

Analysis

Let’s start with this. Zed Williams is listed as a transition player for the Swarm.  I am assuming that the Commissioner’s office will list him as a forward.  If they do, that probably exposes him to the NLL Expansion Draft. 

The reason you protect Kevin Orleman over Mike Poulin is that Poulin is non-franchiseable and goes nowhere even if he’s not protected.

The group of four defencemen in Wiedemann, Sellars, Tutton and Bomberry, you could convince me that any two of those four gets exposed and one gets picked.  That part is a complete crap shoot.

Toronto Rock

Protected List

Forwards (5)

  • Rob Hellyer
  • Tom Schreiber
  • Adam Jones
  • Dan Craig
  • Reid Reinholdt

Defense (5)

  • Challen Rogers
  • Brad Kri
  • Latrell Harris
  • Sheldon Burns
  • Billy Hostrawser

Goaltender (1)

  • Nick Rose*

Unprotected List

  • Johnny Powless
  • Phil Caputo
  • Kieran McArdle
  • Dan Lintner
  • Brandon Slade
  • Brock Sorenson
  • Creighton Reid
  • Alec Tulett
  • Damon Edwards
  • Adam Jay
  • Jay Thorimbert
  • Jordan Magnusson
  • AJ Kluck
  • Paul Rabil
  • Riley Hutchcraft
  • Mitchell Gustavsen
  • Scott Dominey
  • Brad Lyons

Unrestricted Free Agents

Franchiseable

  • Nick Rose
  • Jay Thorimbert
  • Brock Sorensen
  • Creighton Reid
  • Rob Hellyer (possibly)

Non-Franchiseable

None

Projected Picks

  • Brandon Slade
  • Kieran McArdle

Analysis

Let’s start with this, and I doubt it makes a difference in the end, but whether or not Rob Hellyer is a free agent at the end of this year is in doubt, as to whether the season he missed with his knee injury counts towards his contract or not.  Regardless, he’s on the protected list if he’s a UFA or not.

Last year I debated hard about the last few players Toronto would protect and this year was the same.  If McArdle is exposed, he’s picked in an instant given where his roots are from. I’ll say that Slade is the second, although Powless is also an attractive pick, if he has the right coach.  Reid Reinholdt’s health also plays a role here, but if he’s good to go, he has to be protected.

New England Black Wolves

Protected List

Forwards (5)

  • Callum Crawford
  • Joe Resetarits
  • Tyler Digby
  • Stephan LeBlanc
  • Reilly O’Connor

Defense (5)

  • Jackson Nishimura
  • Adam Bomberry
  • Ryan Fournier
  • Joel Coyle
  • Colton Watkinson

Goaltender (1)

  • Doug Jamieson

Unprotected List

  • Kevin Buchanan
  • Dave Emala
  • Dereck Downs
  • David Brock
  • Greg Downing
  • Brett Manney
  • Nick Chaykowsky
  • Andrew Suitor
  • John Lafontaine
  • Mackenzie Mitchell
  • Alex Buque
  • Seth Oakes
  • Adam Perroni
  • Mike Byrne

Unrestricted Free Agents

Franchiseable

  • David Brock
  • Andrew Suitor
  • Kevin Buchanan

Non-Franchiseable

  • Greg Downing
  • Brett Manney

Projected Picks

  • Alex Buque
  • John Lafontaine

Analysis

The Black Wolves made a major mistake in the 2018 offseason trading a 1st round pick for Alex Buque.  They have two goaltenders, one of which will be exposed, and in an expansion draft with few options in goal, Buque is as good as gone, and the 1st round pick they traded away didn’t amount to much in the end.

As for the 2nd player, I would lean towards Lafontaine, who has two championships under his belt, to help provide some experience to a new team.

colorado mammoth philadelphia wings

Philadelphia Wings

Protected List

Forwards (5)

  • Kevin Crowley
  • Josh Currier
  • Blaze Riorden
  • Brett Hickey
  • Matt Rambo

Defense (5)

  • Trevor Baptiste
  • Kiel Matisz
  • Steph Charbonneau
  • Anthony Joaquim
  • Liam Patten

Goaltender (1)

  • Doug Buchan

Unprotected List

  • Frank Brown
  • Justin Guterding
  • Jordan Hall
  • Vaughn Harris
  • Eric Shewell
  • Dylan Evans
  • Chet Koneczny
  • Zac Reid
  • Liam Byrnes
  • Ryan Wagner
  • David Diruscio
  • Matthew Bennett
  • Isaiah Davis-Allen
  • Adam Osika
  • Patrick Resch

Unrestricted Free Agents

Franchiseable

  • Dylan Evans
  • Zac Reid

Non-Franchiseable

  • Chet Koneczny
  • Jordan Hall

Projected Picks

  • Frank Brown
  • Vaughn Harris

Here’s where the commissioner’s office will have to make a decision on the status of a player.  This is the list I am certain the Wings will submit to the league office. Now the decision that has to be made.  Is Kiel Matisz a forward or transition player? The decision in my mind was made very easy when Matisz was nominated for transition player of the year.  

The Wings have some significant talent that will be exposed and will be attractive to the expansion teams.  The fact that they have these players available is a testament to the long-term depth they are building.

Halifax Thunderbirds

Protected List

Forwards (5)

  • Chris Boushy
  • Kyle Jackson
  • Cody Jamieson
  • Austin Shanks
  • Mike Burke

Defense (5)

  • Graeme Hossack
  • Luc Magnan
  • Jake Withers
  • Brad Gilles
  • Daryl Robertson

Goaltender (1)

  • Warren Hill

Unprotected List

  • Ryan Benesch
  • Eric Fannell
  • Pat Saunders
  • Steven Keogh
  • Dawson Theede
  • Brandon Robinson
  • Mike Manley
  • Mike Triolo
  • Luke Van Schepen
  • James Barclay
  • Rowan Kelly
  • Oran Horn
  • Angus Goodleaf
  • Sid Smith
  • Nick Damude
  • Cameron Simpson
  • Joel Matthews
  • Colton Armstrong
  • Matthew Lee

Unrestricted Free Agents

Franchiseable

  • Mike Manley
  • Pat Saunders
  • Angus Goodleaf
  • Stephen Keogh

Non-Franchiseable

  • Ryan Benesch

Projected Picks

  • Eric Fannell
  • James Barclay

We go from a difficult list to pick from with Toronto to an impossible list to pick from in Halifax.  With the fire sale that happened at the trade deadline, the list of whom to even protect with the last few spots is difficult, and the projected picks is a complete guess.  Fannell’s situation is dependent upon his health.

There are still a few days to trade with other teams.  Could you see the Thunderbirds trade picks to another team who is about to lose someone special?  Its possible, but the clock is ticking to see that happen.

Wrapping Up

Last year I was 84% correct on who would be protected.  I have to say this year is more difficult to pick those last few protected players.

If you know of any contracts that I have incorrect, please mention it in the comments.  Unfortunately, the league’s transactions page is missing several signings, and one simple item missing could change the projection altogether.

One thing is certain however, on June 26, we will be stunned by a few teams’ lists, and the debate will continue.

 

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