SBNation has recently been riding the wave of news about Quebec City and Winnipeg making an NHL return. Instead of a fantasy amateur draft, James Mirtle and Gabriel Desjardins conducted a fantasy expansion draft.
An interesting concept and interesting draft (well for 20 picks or so). It was interesting for Habs fans specifically because of the players the team "lost".
The first overall selections in the draft were Colin White and Barrett Jackman, but third in the pecking order was the Habs current top-line centre, Scott Gomez. Picked 6 picks (and only 3 skaters) later was Roman Hamrlik.
(Pure fantasy of course, but a lot of what we discuss goes well into the realm of the fantastic.)
Of all the teams poached for players, the Habs were the only group to lose both a top-line centre and a top-2 defenceman. It was likely because the Habs were the only team to expose 2 players like that.
As much as I'd love to delude myself into the belief that this is because of the team's incredible depth at those positions, I fear that it's not. One only has to delve into memories of the playoffs to recall the depth of the Canadiens forwards group.
So what then?
Well, it seems our friend Robert L of Habs Eyes on the Prize left Gomez and Hamrlik unprotected for the new Nordiques and Jets to circle over. On this summary of the players left exposed for the fantasy draft, the author mentions clicking on the team sites "to take a look at the players who were protected and the debates that went on surrounding those selections."
I searched Habs Eyes on the Prize, but I couldn't find any debate, so I thought I'd post the opportunity for that here.
Expose because of salary?
With all due respect to Boyd, Darche, Perezhoghin, Picard, Henry, Auld and Sanford, I think the two players worth discussing are probably Hamrlik and Gomez.
Now I don't know what the protection rules were specifically. But from looking at Pittsburgh, I would bet there's not a cap restriction to worry about. Therefore, the salary didn't need to be shed for the sake of the rules.
It seems then that Robert, as proxy GM, treated this draft as a chance to ditch salaries he didn't like. He, if no one else, believes that losing Gomez for nothing is favourable to losing someone like say Travis Moen. And that the chance to save $5.5 million on Roman Hamrlik for a single season is better than exposing Ryan O'Byrne or Hal Gill.
I can't say I'd agree, but I wanted to put it to some of you:
Is Gomez's contract so awful that it would prompt you (imagine now that you're the GM) to jettison him given this unique expansion draft opportunity?
If this happened, how would you replace Gomez and Hamrlik in the immediate term, then next summer?