The expansion draft for the Philadelphia Union will take place today. Later today we will know who was picked, if anyone will be picked from the Wizards. Philadelphia can take 10 players, max of 1 per team so 10 teams will lose a player and 5 will not.
Kansas City Wizards Protected List
Generation Adidas (protected by default)
While I may have protected different players, there was really only two surprises to me. First is that Besler was left unprotected. He played well, started 26 games as a rookie and has the home town ties. With Conrad protected, three central defenders (Besler, Hohlbein and McKenzie) are available.
The second surprise is that Souter was protected over Hirsig. They had to protect 3 International players so some combination of Lopez, Zoltan, Hirsig and Souter had to be on the list. No way Vermes would expose Zoltan, he showed too much promise at the end of the season and the Hungarian relationship would make exposing him unlikely. While Lopez is aging he was the second leading scorer on the team and could be a key factor if Vermes is able to straighten the team out in 2010.
Hirsig did not play much at the end of the year. He was nursing some injuries but being exposed makes me wonder if he fits into plans for next year. It is possible that Souter has impressed enough for the Wizards to hang onto even though he was injured much of 2009.When he did start practicing he was not removed from the DL but did show a lot of potential in scrimmages.
I was also a little surprised that Leathers was protected. Jonathan is a talented and athletic player but with Myers and Watson on the roster I expected he would be exposed. Guess that makes three surprises...
A lot of fans are concerned that Hartman was exposed again this year. He was unprotected in the last two expansion drafts as well. Last year, Seattle already had a big name keeper signed (Keller) so Vermes felt safe leaving Kevin available. This year Philadelphia does not have a player but Vermes may know something the rest of us does not know. Over the summer, there were rumors that a big name goalie was going to return to the US to play and would go through the allocation process. At the time it was rumored to be Friedel but that was never confirmed. Could Vermes feel safe leaving the all time saves leader unprotected because Philly will get a number 1 keeper through allocation? Ives mentioned that there was very possibly some handshake deals with the Union so that certain players would be exposed without fear. Could he have one of those handshake deals or is the Wizards Technical Director just gambling that the age and salary will deter Philly. By that logic he could have made other veterans with high salary available.
It is hard to criticize the list because I do not know all the possible variables. Contracts, pending trades, handshakes and a dozens other factors that I do not know come into play.
Not a prediction:
If I was picking a player from the Wizards, I would take either Gomez or Hohlbein. Herculez Gomez is a talented midfielder who could provide instant quality for an expansion team. Aaron Hohlbein is mature and expereinced for his age. In the short run he would be better for Philly than Besler because of leadership. Aaron developed center defense leadership experience next to Conrad over the last two years and put it into practice while Conrad was with the National Team.