New Orleans Saints: 10 players to protect in a hypothetical expansion draft

Leigh Oleszczak
New Orleans Saints (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Saints
Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

For the New Orleans Saints fans who aren’t into hockey, the NHL is having an expansion draft on Wednesday night. The Seattle Kraken is joining the NHL and that means the other teams have to protect players in order for the Kraken not to steal those players away.

Per the NHL rules:

"The 2021 NHL Expansion Draft is being conducted under the same rules for the Kraken as the Golden Knights in 2017. Current NHL teams were able to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender, or eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender."

We’ll frame this article as if NFL teams can protect 10 players since that’s right in between the rule numbers. Those players are immune from being selected by the hypothetical new team entering the league.

Who would the Saints protect if this were the case? Let’s take a look.

New Orleans Saints to Protect – No. 10: Wil Lutz

Including a kicker on here might seem insane but have you seen Wil Lutz play? He’s one of the best kickers in the league and the past few years have proven how important it is to have a good kicker on the roster.

Lutz has been clutch for the Saints and it’s why they felt comfortable signing him to a five-year deal worth $20 million, tying him to New Orleans through the 2023 season. Any NFL team entering the league would see Lutz’s production and try to steal him away.

Last season was Lutz’s lowest percentage completion in field goal attempts but he had his highest completion rate in extra-point attempts with 98.3%. He missed just one extra-point attempt during the 2020 season so he made sure it counted when the Saints went for one.

Teams get into kicker purgatory all the time and the Saints haven’t been in that situation in quite some time and won’t be for the next few years thanks to Lutz’s abilities. He’d be an easy pick to protect in an expansion draft.