- 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.
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:
Teal Bunbury (GA)
Jon Kempin (HG)
Chance Myers (GA)
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.
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.