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Expansion Draft Extravaganza: Who did we protect from San Jose?

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The results from our poll are in.

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

As part of our Expansion Draft Extravaganza, we held a reader vote on which players the San Jose Sharks should protect ahead of next week’s Expansion Draft. Earlier this week, nearly two thirds of voters chose to protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender.

This protection method left the readers with some interesting decisions to make, and led to some even more interesting results. Let’s take a look at the voting for each position group.

Forwards

The first five forwards (Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, Melker Karlsson, and Chris Tierney) received over 80% of the vote from our readers, while the sixth (Jannik Hansen) got a nice percentage of votes.

San Jose had to expose two forwards under contract next year and that played 40 or more games last year, or 70 or more over the previous two seasons. After the reader vote, the only two forwards that met said requirement were Joel Ward and Mikkel Boedker, who will be exposed when the polls for the Pacific Division open later today.

That left the seventh forward spot to be filled by an unsigned player, and a plurality of readers voted to protect Joe Thornton. It really comes down to him or Marleau, should San Jose choose to use the seven-three-one method, as it’s unlikely Vegas would use their pick on an unsigned Ryan Carpenter or Barclay Goodrow, given the plethora of defensive options available.

Defensemen

Speaking of blueliners, readers overwhelmingly voted to protect Brent Burns (99.7%) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (98.5%). A large majority still picked Justin Braun (68.9%), which left David Schlemko (10.1%), Paul Martin (9.8%), Mirco Mueller (5%), Brenden Dillon (4.5%), and Dylan DeMelo (3.2%).

The vote breakdown was very interesting. Of the exposed defensemen, I wasn’t surprised to see Schlemko lead, but I was stunned to see Paul Martin and Mirco Mueller protected by more people than Brenden Dillon, who was arguably San Jose’s most improved defenseman this past season.

The case to protect Martin is fairly compelling if the Sharks choose to protect eight skaters, especially if you are worried about Brent Burns taking a step back without his reliable partner alongside him. I can also understand wanting to protect Mueller in that case, as he is a former first round pick. But, it may be time to recognize that pick is a sunk cost and risk losing Mueller to expansion, especially as that leaves defensemen ahead of him on the depth chart on San Jose’s roster.

Goaltenders

No surprises here. I’m not sure what is more of an omen: 666 responses, or that the percentage of voters that protected Jones (98.5) is the same digits as the radio station that broadcasts Sharks games.

But in the spirit of this Extravaganza, we’ll live it up to you!

Poll

What is more of an omen?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    98.5
    (136 votes)
  • 53%
    666
    (159 votes)
295 votes total Vote Now

What did or did not surprise you in these results? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments below!