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For Real Salt Lake the expansion draft and re-entry draft could take some interesting turns

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Well the playoffs haven't even started but already the talk of the expansion draft and re-entry draft has started. For Real Salt Lake fans this time of year always comes with some dread as we fear what might happen, with just one team coming in this year there is a better chance that RSL may not lose anyone in the expansion draft at all.

Here are some of the details of the expansion draft which will be held on November 23rd:

  • MLS Clubs may protect 11 players between their On-budget and their Off-budget Roster. If the Player's contract expires at the end of 2011, he will still be considered part of the club's roster.
  • Players on a club's Off-budget Roster, other than Generation adidas players who have not been graduated at the end of the 2011 MLS Season or Homegrown Players on a Club's Off-budget Roster, will be part of the expansion draft.
  • Generation adidas players who have not been graduated at the end of the 2011 MLS Season and Homegrown Players on a club's Off-budget Roster at the end of the 2011 MLS Season are automatically protected (Clubs do not have to use a protected slot on them).
  • 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 make available not more than one.
  • For purposes of this expansion process, for US-based clubs, any non-domestic US player would count as an International and, for Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps, any non-domestic US player or non-domestic Canadian players would count as an International.
  • Once a player has been claimed from a team's non-protected roster, that team is eliminated from the expansion draft and may not lose any further players.
  • Rounds: The expansion draft will be 10 rounds.

more about the expansion draft (including my protected list), the re-entry draft and how they might impact RSL after the jump:

So let's deal with what might be the more complicated issues first. First is international players, Real Salt Lake currently has 6 players in International spots so they would have to protect at least 3 of them (Paulo Jr, Fabian Espindola, Nelson Gonzalez, Javier Morales, Alvaro Saborio, and Yourdany Alvarez).

Next up is the DP issue, and DP's do have to be protected, so yes RSL would need to protect Alvaro Saborio

Donny Toia and Nico Muniz would not need to be protected as they are home grown players and on our Off-budget roster, but a huge question is will Luis Gil be kept on Generation Adidas. Based on how the program has worked in the past I fully expect that he will get another season on the program, he is just 17 and has 14 starts so far this year.

So if I had to make my list to protect it would be this(not in any particular order):

  1. Nick Rimando
  2. Kyle Beckerman
  3. Javier Morales
  4. Jamison Olave
  5. Nat Borchers
  6. Will Johnson
  7. Tony Beltran
  8. Chris Schuler
  9. Fabian Espindola
  10. Alvaro Saborio
  11. Paulo Jr.
Now I know that means I leave some valuable players off the list, but you have to remember that RSL can only lose one player and to me the eleven I listed hold the most value to both the current and future of RSL. Should Luis Gil be graduated from Generation Adidas, I would put him in the number 11 spot.

Also on the 23rd will be the waiver draft, which is for "Players with expiring contracts or options that are not renewed by their clubs who do not meet the age and service requirements necessary to be included in the Re-Entry Process may be part of the Waiver Draft on Nov. 23."

The Re-entry draft takes place in two parts, the first on Dec. 5th, and the second part on Dec. 12th, here are some of the details:

The priority order for the Re-Entry Process drafts is the reverse order of finish in 2011, taking into account playoff performance. The Montreal Impact will have the 19th selection.

The selection order, as well as a list of players eligible for selection, will be released to media on November 30.

Available to all teams in the Stage 1 draft of the Re-Entry Process on December 5 will be:
  • Players who are at least 23-years-old and have a minimum of three years of MLS experience whose options were not exercised by their clubs (available at option salary for 2012).
  • Players who are at least 25-years-old with a minimum of four years of MLS experience who are out of contract and whose club does not offer them a contract at their previous salary (available at 2011 salary).
  • Players who are at least 30-years-old with a minimum of eight years of MLS experience who are out of contract and whose club does not wish to re-sign them (available for at least 105% of their 2011 salary).

Players who are not selected in the Stage 1 draft will be made available for the Stage 2 draft on December 12. Clubs selecting players in Stage 2 will negotiate a new salary with any player not under contract.

Players who remain unselected after Stage 2 will be available to any MLS club on a first come, first served basis.

Now there are a couple of RSL players that could be eligible for the re-entry draft, but one major factor will be impacted on Saturday. Allocation money is awarded by MLS to teams that qualify for Champions League action, so a win by RSL on Saturday would give them a 75% chance at the 4th MLS spot for the 2012/13 version of Champions League. That allocation money could play a big factor in the ability to resign some of our players who would be eligible for the re-entry draft.

Based on my understanding we do have a few players that might be available, Jean Alexandre, Arturo Alvarez, Robbie Russell, and perhaps another or two. Contract info is hard to get in MLS as the league controls them, but clearly RSL could be looking at losing a couple of players in the off season.

I think the depth of the RSL roster was tested this year unlike any other team, between injuries, national team call ups, and suspensions RSL has had to go 27 players deep this year in all competitions and while the year had some real ups and downs the reality is that we sit as the 3rd best team in Major League Soccer. All things considering that isn't half bad.