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MLS Changes Up Expansion Draft; Who Will the Timbers Protect?

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MLS: LAFC Groundbreaking Ceremony Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The MLS season might still be in full swing, but just three days after the 2016 MLS Cup Final comes the expansion draft and after several months of rumors we know just what that means.

Let’s take a quick look at the expansion rules and how they apply to the Timbers.

First, the most that the Timbers could potentially lose in this year’s expansion draft is one player. Both incoming teams — Altanta United and Minnesota United FC — will take five players in the draft, down from ten in previous years. After a team has had a player taken, no further players can be taken from that team.

Knowing this, Timbers fans will certainly be crossing their fingers and hoping that Chris Klute is taken by Minnesota, whom he is currently on loan to in the North American Soccer League, and keeping the team otherwise free from the ravages of the draft.

Second, the Timbers will be able to protect eleven players, at least three of whom must be internationals. If the Timbers had any homegrown or Generation Adidas players on their roster, then the side could protect them as well without using one of their eleven selection (but they do not, so it is not an issue).

Finally, there are a number of other provisos that will come into play for Atlanta and Minnesota, but few of the other rules seem likely to have a direct impact on the Timbers.

With all that in mind, there seem to be several groups of players that are all but assured of making the Timbers’ protected list:

The Timbers’ defensive group — Jake Gleeson, Alvas Powell, Liam Ridgewell, Steven Taylor, and Vytas — all have signed new contracts with the team recently, as have Darlington Nagbe, Diego Chara, and Diego Valeri in the midfield. Up top things get a little more tricky as few of the Timbers wide players have made much of an impact this season. Fanendo Adi, even if he is set to be sold over the offseason (something that remains unconfirmed but seems likely), should be held onto so that the Timbers can reap the benefits of selling him on.

All of that leaves the Timbers with only two slots left with which to protect players and a number of potential names to fill them with including Jack Jewsbury, Lucas Melano, Gbenga Arokoyo, Jack McInerney, and Darren Mattocks.

What do you think of the new-look expansion draft? And who do you think the Timbers will protect come December?

The full expansion rules:

2016 Expansion Draft Rules and Regulations

2016 Expansion Draft Rules and Regulations

The 2016 Expansion Draft will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 at 2 p.m. ET

Expansion Draft Rules

MLS Clubs may protect 11 players between their Senior, Supplemental and Reserve Roster. If the Player’s contract expires at the end of 2016, he will still be considered part of the Club’s Senior Roster.

If a Club protects a player, it is not obligated to exercise the player’s option. It may renegotiate a new budget number for the player as in previous years, subject to the CBA.

Option Decline Free Agents and Out of Contracts Free Agents are part of the Expansion Draft and are not automatically protected.

If a Free Agent is selected in the Expansion Draft, the Expansion Club that selected the Player will gain his previous Club’s ability to renegotiate a new contract consistent with the CBA prior to the beginning of Stage Two of the Re-Entry Draft.

If an Out of Contract Free Agent is selected in the Expansion Draft and subsequently signs with his previous Club via Free Agency, he will be subject to the compensation limitation for Out of Contract Players signing with a new Club, as provided in the CBA.

If a player retires, he will not be a part of the Expansion Draft, but his Club will lose its right of first refusal to him should he ultimately decide to play.

Players on a Club’s Supplemental/Reserve Roster, other than Generation adidas players who have not been graduated at the end of the 2016 MLS Season or Homegrown Player’s on a Club’s Supplemental/Reserve Roster, will be part of the Expansion Draft.

Generation adidas players who have not been graduated at the end of the 2016 MLS Season and Homegrown players on a Club’s Supplemental/Reserve Roster at the end of the 2016 MLS Season are automatically protected (Clubs do not have to use a protected slot on them).

If Atlanta/Minnesota selects a Supplemental/Reserve Roster Player, it must offer him a Senior Roster position and he must remain on the Senior Roster as of Roster Compliance Date.

Clubs are restricted in the number of international player(s) that they may make available. Clubs may make available a number of international players equal to their total number of international players minus three, provided that if a Club has three or fewer international players it may not make more than one such player available.

For purposes of this expansion process, any non-domestic U.S. Player would count as an International.

If a Player has a no-trade clause in his contract, his MLS Club must protect him and he will count as one of the 11 Players who may be protected.

Designated Players are NOT automatically protected (i.e., Clubs must choose whether to protect such players and if such player is not protected, he will be available for selection in the Expansion Draft).

Maximum Player Loss: Once one (1) player has been claimed from a Club’s non-protected roster, that Club is eliminated from the Expansion Draft and may not lose any further players.

Right to Negotiate: Atlanta and Minnesota will have the right to renegotiate a drafted player’s salary (either up or down) without having to place such player on waivers or giving his previous Club a right of first refusal.

Priority

Minnesota will have priority over players on its NASL roster and one additional player in USL/NASL not on its roster, subject to another Club’s right of first refusal.

Atlanta will have priority over players it has signed to MLS Contracts and one additional player in USL/NASL subject to another MLS Club’s right of first refusal.

International Player Protection Requirements

Clubs may make available a number of international players equal to their total number of international players minus 3, provided that if a Club has 3 or less international players it may not make more than one 1 player available.

Number of International Minimum Must Protect May Make Available Not More Than

10 3 7

9 3 6

8 3 5

7 3 4

6 3 3

5 3 2

4 3 1

3 2 1

2 1 1

1 0 1

RoundsThere will be five (5) rounds.

Selection Clock

Atlanta and Minnesota are permitted three (3) minutes to make each selection.

Timeouts

There will be NO timeouts during the Expansion Draft.

Failure to Make Selection in Designated TimeExpansion Clubs that fail to make their selection in time must wait until their next pick to make a selection.

Trades

No trades are permitted during the Expansion Draft.