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Roundtable: Who should the Fire protect in the Expansion Draft?

In which we learn it’s much easier to type ‘Kylo’ than ‘Arshakyan’

"Don't let them read your lips, y'freakin' noob."
Who will Pauno and N-Rod keep from a terrible 2016 squad? The answers continue to trickle in.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

{In this experimental form of a round table, I attempt to edit a discursive online conversation into a useful guide to the Fire’s decisions around the Expansion Draft.}

Sean Spence: I'd like to kick things off with the observation that a player is not necessarily done with the club just because their option was turned down. Every year, some of the guys who get negged wind up re-upping with the club. Last year (and possibly this year?), Razvan Cocis was a good example - he had his option for '16 declined, and negotiated a new deal to return.

That said, the following people are currently under contract with the club:

Sean Johnson

Matt Lampson

Jonathan Campbell

Johan Kappelhof*

Michael Harrington

Brandon Vincent

Joao Meira*

Patrick Doody**

Arturo Alvarez

David Accam

Jon Goossens*

Matt Polster

Collin Fernandez**

Joey Calistri**

Drew Conner**

Michael de Leeuw*

David Arshakyan*

*=International **=Homegrown Player (does not need protection in Expansion Draft)

In Ives' story about the signings, he indicates that the club 'might have interest' in welcoming back three players whose options were negged - Ramos, Solignac and Thiam. All had relatively big money due in '17, and all are internationals.

That matters because, under the expansion draft rules, the Fire will have to include 3 Internationals in their list of 11 protected players. (Accam's not an International for these purposes because he has a green card.)

Let's start with a gimme: Obviously not Sean Johnson, since we're trading him. And then the obvious 'protect' names. Accam. Polster. Kappelhof. Vincent. de Leeuw. Campbell.

John Carollo III: I’d protect Accam, Campbell, De Leuuw, Kap, Polster, Vincent, Goose, Kylo Ren, and Lamp

Sean: Kylo Ren is Arshakyan? Ah hahahahaaa

John: Yeah.

Sean: So that's six slots and 2 internationals out of the way, leaving five more and at least 1 more international.

John: Though I might switch Kylo with Meira.

Sean: Ok, so remaining candidates are Alvarez, Meira, Harrington, Goossens, Arshakyan ... and Thiam, Ramos, Solignac, if Guillermo’s right, and he usually is.

Ahan Jain: Solignac can be traded away for depth so leave him in protected

John: I don’t think they should pay Solignac - there’s better options in the draft than Soli.

Brian Bottei: My protected list is basically the obvious ones (Accam, De Leeuw, Polster, Kap, Vincent, Campbell) plus Arshakyan, because Pauno likes him. Beyond that, I really think he protects Harrington.

Sean: What!?

John: Why?

Brian: Because they don’t want to waste their time trying to find FB depth when this offseason needs to be about signing someone who can run the midfield.

John: Or we draft (Louisville right back Tim) Kubel 3rd. He’s a Dortmund product, I'd rather see him at RB and Kap in the middle than Meira starting.

Sean: After the year he just had, I have to assume that Alvarez is in. And Goossens is skilled depth. And they’re not going to expose Lampson and risk an offseason where they have to find three more keepers. Which gets us most of the way there: Accam, Polster, Kappelhof, Vincent, de Leeuw, Campbell, Lampson, Alvarez and Goossens is 9 protected, with three internationals. So all that’s left is two more, and international status doesn’t matter.

Ahan: Ramos since we need a RB.

John: <fake coughing> Kugel! ... I say keep Meira, he looked better later on. Though Kylo never had a chance.

Sean: Controversial opinion: Thiam is way better than he showed, and could bloom in '17. Also, I agree that Meira improved once he had a settled place next to Campbell

Ahan: I really dislike Thiam.

John: I agree, but I don't really like those odds.

Sean: Something about Thiam tickles my scouting nerve; good size, great motor, good in the air, decent in combination ... but his form was insanely bad. I wouldn't be surprised to see him back at $100k or so.

John: I think if we get him on a small number, he'd be a decent late-game backup. If we get Scweinie, we need someone to cover for him at the end of "not even close" matches to keep him as healthy as possible.

Kylo will probably get taken in the end. Pauno scouted him for a long time. I'd prefer that we protect Meira because he actually turned out a solid showing later, but not protecting someone doesn't mean he's gone for certain.

Sean: So Kylo over Meira? Or those two over Thiam?

John: When you're 6'4" Striker and you're invisible in every game you play, you're not a good player. I know he didn't get much of a chance to blend in, but he needs to improve by about 500% over the offseason.

Ahan: Plus, he’s clumsy and slow.

John: I don't care much about his speed, speed doesn't matter for that type of player. He needs to be able to position himself in the action where he can cause the most damage. He didn’t do that. That's why he was invisible. He didn't do that.

I just realized (once again) that even though we're arguing about whether we want to keep certain players or not, not putting on the list doesn't condemn them to an expansion team, it just means they're being risked. I don't think any of those three will be taken and if we look at it from Pauno's point of view, he's going to protect Kylo because he's basically going to be his project.

Brian: Here is how [I think they should] they run the offseason: Get rid of one of the two primary right mid traffic cones from last year, whoever they keep becomes the backup. Basically, I’m not in favor of keeping both Alvarez and Goossens. My reasoning in not really wanting to protect either of them is that I just think that each should be a rotation player next year, and I don't really care which.

The muttering continued for nearly 72 hours. All four men fell insensate, struck dumb by the paucity of the Fire’s options and the inanity of the arguments they’d just shared. No one can remember who finally produced the


Accam, Polster, Kappelhof, de Leeuw, Campbell, Alvarez, Goossens, Lampson, Vincent, Meira, Arshakyan