SB Nation mock expansion draft - who should the Lightning protect?

Maybe you picked it up through the FanShot we posted last week, but SB Nation is running a time-killing exercise:  Expanding the NHL by two teams and conducting a mock-expansion draft.   Last week, users had to chose the cities that would get expansion teams.  This weekend they chose the names.

Well, that's done.  Welcome back the Quebec Nordiques and the Winnipeg Jets.  Ho-hum, yawn and all that (uncreative, to say the least).

With the choosing done, the time has come for the 30 franchises to submit their protected lists for the SB Nation mock expansion draft.  Below the fold we'll talk about ground rules for the expansion draft...  and ask for input from the users on who to protect and who to keep exposed.

This will seem over simple, and may need to be elaborated (meaning - ask questions when confused, and we'll pass on questions we don't have the answers to), but here are the protected-list ground rules, and the rules on drafting:

Ground rules on protected lists:

- Teams can protect either "1 goalie, 5 defensemen and 9 forwards" OR "2 goalies, 3 defensemen and 7 forwards." 

- If you go the two goalie route, at least one goalie left unprotected must have played in at least 10 games last season OR 25 games in the last two seasons combined. One game = at least 31 minutes. 

- Each team must leave unprotected at least one defenseman who appeared in 40 games last season OR 70 games in the last two seasons combined. 

- Each team must leave unprotected at least two forwards who appeared in 40 games last season OR 70 games in the last two seasons combined. 

- Players who have played in 49 or fewer games are automatically exempt and do not need to be protected.

Ground rules on drafting:


- Each expansion team selects 30 players. A total of 60 players will be selected. 

- The first 26 picks are to be used on three goaltenders, eight defensemen and thirteen forwards.

- The final four picks can be used to pick a player at any position. 

- Only one goalie or one defenseman can be selected from each existing team

- Team must be compliant with the salary cap.

Unless something isn't clear, this pertains specifically to the Lightning's current roster (no prospects, no minor leaguers with very little NHL time).  The Bolts have enough veteran talent to fill their exposure requirements while also keeping key assets.

So the question is - who do the Lightning protect?  Do the Bolts go with the top nine forwards and expose lower line talent?  Or perhaps we protect both goalies (stop laughing, people, it's an option) and can only protect 3 defensemen and 7 forwards?

Here's another question (for the good of finances):  Do you take the risk and expose Vincent Lecavalier?  His contract is massive, his no-movement clause limits what you can do with him (well, that and the sum of his contract)...  He'd almost certainly be picked up as a PR move by Quebec...  Or perhaps as a central building block for Winnipeg.  Can the Bolts afford to let go one of their top two centers?  

There are other things to ponder with who to protect, and other things to ask.  I leave it to comments for people to do the asking as well as submit their protected lists.

We have to have our protected list finalized by Thursday.  We'll publish the results in a new post by then.  The draft itself is due to be held over the weekend (depending on scheduling issues with the selected GM's for each "new" team).

The floor is open, may the debate begin!

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