Which Nashville Predators should be protected in the SB Nation Mock NHL Expansion Draft?

Let's get the gang back together in L.A. and hold a mock NHL expansion draft...

This weekend's conversation ties in to the mock expansion draft that the SB Nation hockey blogs are conducting. As polls determine which cities will receive these fictional teams, we can turn out question to how the Nashville Predators should handle such a situation. The last time the NHL expanded, the Predators were brand new and didn't have to expose any of their players to the draft, but if it happened these days, they'd have some tough decisions to make.

Follow after the jump for the guidelines, and sound off in the comments!

Quoth our rules:

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.

With Nashville, obviously we'd go with the "one goalie" route, as everyone else in the system is exempt due to the games-played requirement.

A few other players who don't need to be protected due to games played: Colin Wilson, Cal O'Reilly, Nick Spaling, and Alexander Sulzer.

My initial list would be:

Goalie: Pekka Rinne

Defense: Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Kevin Klein, Francis Bouillon, Cody Franson (exposing Ryan Parent)

Forwards: David Legwand, Martin Erat, Matthew Lombardi, Patric Hornqvist, J.P. Dumont, Marcel Goc, Steve SullivanAlexander Radulov and Joel Ward (exposing Wade Belak, Jordin Tootoo, Jamie Lundmark, Jerred Smithson, and Sergei Kostitsyn)

UPDATE: I had totally spaced out on Alexander Radulov. You bet I'm adding him to the list... but then that makes things more difficult. I exposed Tootoo, but know that could be a very unpopular option. In terms of winning hockey games, however, I think that would be my pick.

I'd like to get your input over the course of the weekend in the comments below, and once we winnow things down to a few key decisions, perhaps we can run a poll on them next week. The plan is to publish our "protected list" Thursday evening. So...

Which Nashville Predators would you protect in a mock NHL expansion draft?

To keep up with all of our coverage of the Nashville Predators, you can subscribe to the RSS feed, follow us on Twitter (@Forechecker@predatweeter @SLakePreds), or catch the site on Facebook. You can also email me at the.forechecker@gmail.com.

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