The NFL doesn’t appear to be in line for expansion any time soon. However, the NHL’s expansion draft for the newly-former Seattle Kraken got us wondering which players the 49ers would protect if the NFL added a team and executed an NHL-style expansion draft.
An expansion hockey team is allowed to pick their roster from a pool of the NHL’s active players. The non-expansion clubs are able to protect up to 11 players (seven forwards, three defensemen and a goaltender).
For our purposes we’re going to split the NFL’s protected player rule down the middle. Five offensive players, five defensive players, and one specialist. We’ve also made rookies exempt.
This is what the 49ers’ protected list may look like if we turned the clock back to before the draft, but after free agency: