Monday, October 18, 2010

First Look at Expansion Draft

We're about a month from this year's MLS expansion draft, which will occur the Wednesday after MLS Cup on November 24th. Last week, the rules were released for this year's draft which will see the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps each select 10 players in alternating picks. This will be my first of likely 2 predictions of who the Wizards will protect before the list of protected players is released. But with the season over when it comes to playoff chances, I figured I'd take an initial look at who KC will protect. Here are the are the rules for this year.

  • Teams are allowed to protect 11 players.
  • Generation Adidas and home grown players will be automatically protected, players graduating this year will be done before the draft.
  • When one player is selected that team can pull one player back to be protected.
  • Designated players don't have to be protected unless they have a no trade clause.
  • Protecting a player does not require the team to exercise any contract option on that player.
  • If a developmental player is selected they must be offered a senior contract.
  • Teams may make available a number of their total internationals minus 3, meaning the Wizards, who have 7 internationals can make available no more than 4 for selection in the draft. Below is the list of internationals.
When it comes to Generation Adidas and home grown players, Chance Myers and Teal Bunbury seem likely to retain their GA status for another year, while Roger Espinoza is likely to graduate from the program. Jon Kempin is also going to be automatically protected as a home grown player.

The Wizards have 7 internationals, Korede Aiyegbusi, Sunil Chhetri, Zoltan Hercegfalvi, Nikos Kounenakis, Ryan Smith, Jimmy Nielsen, and Craig Rocastle. Shavar Thomas, Stephane Auvray, Birahim Diop and Kei Kamara all will not count as internationals. The one wild card in this situation is Omar Bravo. He obviously doesn't have a green card, but with him on loan to Chivas currently it's unknown exactly what his status will be for the expansion draft. If he does have to be protected it will obviously be as an international.

So who will KC protect? Here is my first prediction on who KC will protect:

Davy Arnaud
Stephane Auvray
Omar Bravo
Teal Bunbury (GA)
Sunil Chhetri
Roger Espinoza
Michael Harrington
Kei Kamara
Jon Kempin (HG)
Jonathan Leathers
Chance Myers (GA)
Craig Rocastle
Ryan Smith
Graham Zusi

EXPLANATION - So why the picks I made? There are 3-4 internationals on the list depending on Bravo, Chhetri is there because I think at this point the Wizards have invested a lot of marketing on the player and while he has yet to appear I think KC will protect him inn hopes he'll come good this year. Rocastle is there because I think while he's got an attitude, that is something the Wizards have lacked lately and need in their midfield, he's the type of guy you want on your side in a fight and having that on the field isn't a bad thing. Finally Smith is the most obvious of the internationals to put on this list. Continuing with internationals people may wonder why I didn't protect Jimmy Nielsen. While Nielsen has been one of the Wizards MVPs this season, I think there are other players that can be protected. Also looking at history of the expansion draft the past few years and the Wizards protected players, Kevin Hartman was not protected in those years, so I don't know if we'll see the Wizards change that up, especially when Nielsen currently occupies an international slot.

I think Auvray, Arnaud, Espinoza, Harrington, and Kamara are all ones that you can't afford to leave exposed. Each one of those guys would get picked in an instant if they were left exposed in my opinion.

That leaves 2 players on the list to explain, Leathers and Zusi. Both are on developmental contracts. Leathers may be surprising to some, but I think with him being the only defender on the bench for much of the late run of the season makes me think Leathers could get himself a spot on the list. Zusi I think will be a little less controversial, I think a lot of people see potential in Zusi that he can contribute in the future to this team. And leaving him exposed would give Portland or Vancouver a young attacking minded midfielder.

So that leaves the following players exposed.
Jamar Beasley
Matt Besler
Jimmy Conrad
Birahim Diop
Zoltan Hercegfalvi
Aaron Hohlbein
Jack Jewsbury
Nikos Kounenakis
Eric Kronberg
Jimmy Nielsen
Shavar Thomas
Josh Wolff

I've explained the Nielsen inclusion on this list. While I love Conrad, he's coming to the end of a great career and with another concussion that kept him out of the New England game, I can't see either team stepping up to grab him. Thomas, while protected on Gooch's list over on the Star's site, was solid in central defense, I think his salary is high enough that neither team will look to grab the center back. The two most likely to be taken on this list in my opinion are Besler and Jewsbury, Besler could be a starter or spot starter either at left back or in central defense for either team, and Jewsbury would be a good veteran utility player for either side that could play almost anywhere on the field.

We'll see what happens in November, but this is the way I currently see things break down.


Reepicheep said...

Interesting take.

Myers is a bust.

Rocastle would be NO loss.

We'll see what happens.

Anonymous said...

No loss for Rocastle? Have you not seen him be basically our best player in midfield the past few games? After he adjusted to how much he could get away with in this league he's been a force.

drew said...

I agree Rocastle needs to be kept. It's funny about Ryan Smith, most MLS teams look all over South America, etc for "good" players. Ryan Smith was playing in the Football Conference in England. MLS needs to track some of those players. That's lower than 4th division, but they're still quality, they've got something to prove and most of the time they're players who play for a prem's academy.
I think it's time to let Araund go. He is 29, 30? I don't think he has been as good the past two seasons. KC needs to get rid of the older players that have been there for too long and bring in new players.

Anonymous said...

drew you are confusing Rocastle and Smith, Rocastle was playing in the conference, Smith was playing in the Championship.

And we already did a very large roster turnover I do see that happening again this year. Although I don't expect Conrad or Wolff back.

Reepicheep said...

Rocastle best midfielder in past few games? Seriously?

Kept for what? To lead the team to another playoff miss?

No player (OR COACH) should be safe on a team that hasn't made the playoffs in MLS for two straight years.

J said...

I agree that Rocastle has looked like one of our best medfield players all season (along with Auvray, when healthier).

Anonymous said...

Get rid of Arnoud...are you high? And this club has not made the playoffs the last two years, but this team missed it in it's first year..if you want instant results pay twice as much for tickets or play FIFA- I will gladly wait.

Anonymous said...

If the expansion draft is in November would Bravo officially be on the roster? I thought that he becomes a Wizard in January which would be smart.

Anonymous said...

That's why Mike posted saying that Bravo's status is unknown.

~LB said...

Conrad yeah aging and concussions which sucks but I see that. They have got to protect Jimmy N though. HE rocked the first part of the season and if we don't protect him who's leading us from the back of the field?

Nathan Martin said...

Generally agree with the list.

Jack Jewsbury is a player that could find himself on the protected list.

Also I see Besler/Leathers as a toss-up.

Myers makes way too much money because he was selected #1. His contract needs to be redone or he should be cut.

Anonymous said...

Nathan myers is ga he doesn't count against the cap the league gave him that contract it won't be renegotiated

Nathan Martin said...

Thanks, will next year be his last year on that contract?