The Wizards have released their list of protected players for this week's expansion draft for the Philadelphia Union. Most of the players on the list are not that surprising, but there are a few minor ones, and a big one in my opinion. Here is the list:
There are a few deviations from my list earlier in the week, namely, Kevin Souter being protected over Santiago Hirsig, and Jonathan Leathers and Josh Wolff being protected over Matt Besler and Kevin Hartman. The biggest surprise in my opinion, is Wizards rookie, Matt Besler being left unprotected. Besler played in 28 of the Wizards 30 games this past year. The minor surprise is Souter being protected over Hirsig, but I have a feeling there is more to this than has been published. Also, despite was Ives says on his blog, Roger Espinoza and Chance Myers have NOT graduated from the Generation Adidas program according to the Wizards so they will be protected automatically.
As for who is available to be drafted, aside from the previously mentioned Besler, Hartman, and Hirsig, the Wizards have also made available Adam Cristman, Herculez Gomez, Aaron Hohlbein, Michael Kraus, Eric Kronberg, Matt Marquess, Rauwshan McKenzie, Kurt Morsink, Boris Pardo, and Lance Watson.
My opinion on who I think Philadelphia will take hasn't change though. While Besler being exposed is definitely an appealing option and I wouldn't be surprised if Philadelphia did take him, I still think Gomez is the leader to be taken. His salary, leadership, and work ethic make him extremely appealing even though his output hasn't been the best with Kansas City.
You think I'm right? Is Gomez still the favorite? Or you think Besler is now? Who are you surprised was protected/exposed?