What a potential Atlantic Schooners expansion draft would look like

Just over a week ago was the National Hockey League’s expansion draft for the newly founded Seattle Kraken. After years of speculation about the Canadian Football League gaining that elusive tenth team, the Seattle expansion got the wheels turning in my head about what an Atlantic Schooners expansion draft would look like if they were to join the CFL this season.

I can’t take all the credit for this idea though as I saw the created parameters of the draft on Twitter through 620 CKRM’s Mitchell Blair, which allows teams to protect 12 players, four of which MUST be Canadian. Also included in the draft is the fact that the 2020 and 2021 drafted classes are exempt from being protected, so Hamilton wouldn’t have to worry about the Schooners selecting Jake Burt for example. I will be making picks for all nine CFL clubs while also highlighting some key players from each roster who would potentially be left exposed for the Schooners to select.

BC Lions

  • Michael Reilly
  • Bryan Burnham
  • Dominique Rhymes
  • Ryker Mathews
  • Marcus Sayles
  • Anthony Cioffi
  • TJ Lee
  • Joel Figueroa


  • Lemar Durant
  • Shaq Johnson
  • Sukh Chung
  • Boseko Lokombo

Left unprotected:

  • Shaq Cooper
  • Chris Rainey
  • Peter Godber
  • Hunter Steward
  • Garry Peters
  • Adam Konar
  • J.R. Tavai

The hardest part I had with the Lions was determining which Canadians they would protect. They have some very good American talent starting off with the likes of future CFL Hall of Fame quarterback Michael Reilly and top pass catcher Bryan Burnham but it was tough to pick between BC protecting two Canadian receivers over two Canadian offensive lineman. I decided to go with the receivers in Lemar Durant, who was an obvious choice and Shaq Johnson over the likes of Peter Godber or Hunter Steward. This is because it’s easier to find solid offensive lineman with Canadian passports than it is receivers.

Calgary Stampeders

  • Bo Levi Mitchell
  • Ucambre Williams
  • Jameer Thurman
  • DaShaun Amos
  • Richard Leonard
  • Mike Rose


  • Sean McEwan
  • Ryan Sceviour
  • Hergy Mayala
  • Fraser Sopik
  • Royce Metchie

Left unprotected:

  • Kamar Jorden
  • Jamar Wall
  • Rene Parades
  • Derek Wiggan

I went with youth over experience with Calgary, leaving some fan favourites available for the Schooners such as Kamar Jorden, Jamar Wall and Rene Parades. All of these players are in their mid-30s though, so I could see John Hufnagel take the same ‘next man up’ approach that he has for the last decade by protecting younger players with potentially more upside. Bo Levi Mitchell was an obvious selection, as was Jameer Thurman, Sean McEwan, Richard Leonard and Hergy Mayala, but the rest are all on the assumption they take the next step in their careers and become bonafide CFL starters.

Edmonton Elks

  • Trevor Harris
  • Derel Walker
  • Greg Ellingson
  • Aaron Grymes
  • Jake Ceresna
  • James Wilder Jr.
  • Jonathan Rose


  • Kwaku Boateng
  • Tevaun Smith
  • David Beard
  • Kyle Saxelid
  • Mathieu Betts

Left unprotected:

  • Jonathon Mincy
  • Armanti Edwards
  • Jacob Ruby
  • Colin Kelly
  • Matt O’Donnell

The newly named Elks had a lot of talent to choose from, both on the Canadian and American side of things. Trevor Harris, Derrel Walker, Greg Elingson, Aaron Grymes and Kwaku Boateng were all easy selections with their prior history. I opted to add a fifth Canadian and protect defensive end Mathieu Betts because I think he projects into a starting calibre lineman in the CFL and the Elks would have a ton of flexibility if they were able to play he and Boateng opposite from one another for the next three to five years.

Saskatchewan Roughriders

  • Cody Fajardo
  • Shaq Evans
  • Kyran Moore
  • Loucheiz Purifoy
  • Deon Lacey
  • Nick Marshall
  • Terran Vaughn
  • A.C. Leonard


  • Evan Johnson
  • Brayden Lenius
  • Logan Ferland
  • Mike Edem

Left unprotected:

  • Micah Johnson
  • William Powell
  • Larry Dean
  • Ed Gainey
  • Elie Bouka
  • Dan Clark
  • Brett Lauther
  • Jon Ryan
  • Jordan Williams-Lambert

Once again I went with youth over experience with the Riders. I have heard some great things about Brayden Lenius and Logan Ferland over the course of training camp, so while yes it’s risky to select them with either limited or no experience at the CFL level, I think those two selections would pay off in the long run for Saskatchewan. The Riders have some pretty big names left unprotected such as Micah Johnson, William Powell, Larry Dean, Ed Gainey and Dan Clark but these players are all on the back nine of their CFL careers, with all of them being 30 plus years old.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

  • Darvin Adams
  • Zach Collaros
  • Willie Jefferson
  • Jackson Jeffcoat
  • Kenny Lawler
  • Mercy Maston
  • Jermarcus Hardrick
  • Brandon Alexander


  • Nic Demski
  • Johnny Augustine
  • Michael Couture
  • Jonathan Kongbo

Left unprotected:

  • Andrew Harris
  • Stanley Bryant
  • Adam Bighill
  • Jake Thomas
  • Nick Taylor
  • Drew Desjarlais

The Bombers were definitely one of the harder rosters to make a protection list for. Their team is one of the oldest in the CFL, which resulted in me leaving the likes of Andrew Harris (34), Stanley Bryant (35) and Adam Bighill (34) being left unprotected. Even so, Winnipeg has a very nice group of protected players and while there are several big name players available, I think it would be unlikely that the Schooners would select a player in their mid 30s who are nearing the end of their football careers.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

  • Dane Evans
  • Jeremiah Masoli
  • Bralon Addison
  • Brandon Banks
  • Simoni Lawrence
  • Dylan Wynn
  • Ja’Gared David
  • Cariel Brooks


  • Sean Thomas-Erlington
  • Brandon Revenberg
  • Darius Ciraco
  • Tunde Adeleke

Left unprotected:

  • Ted Laurent
  • Jaelon Acklin
  • DeVier Posey
  • Frankie Williams
  • Don Jackson
  • Chris Van Zeyl
  • Jovan Santos-Knox
  • Ciante Evans
  • Jumal Rolle
  • Julian Howsare

The Ticats were another very tough group to just pick 12 players to protect. As you can see from the list of players unprotected, there would definitely be some talent available for the Schooners to choose from. I went a bit off the board and protected both Dane Evans and Jeremiah Masoli because while it’s likely Hamilton only keeps one moving forward, you could trade whoever you don’t keep and at least get something back for them instead of losing them for nothing in the expansion draft and likely having to play them in your division.

Montreal Alouettes

  • Vernon Adams Jr.
  • William Stanback
  • Eugene Lewis
  • Jake Wieneke
  • Quan Bray
  • Patrick Levels
  • Nick Usher
  • Greg Reid


  • Philippe Gagnon
  • Chris Ackie
  • Junior Luke
  • David Foucault

Unprotected players:

  • BJ Cunningham
  • Tony Washington
  • Money Hunter
  • Almondo Sewell
  • Tyquwan Glass

The unexpected retirement of Jason Lauzon-Seguin the other week threw a loop into who I project the Alouettes would protect in terms of Canadians. Montreal’s Canadian depth is thin in terms of big name notoriety, but their American depth is strong with players such as Vernon Adams Jr., William Stanback and Eugene Lewis leading the way. I really had to debate putting Almondo Sewell on the teams protected list even though he’s 34, but I elected to go with Nick Usher instead.


  • Matt Nichols
  • Timothy Flanders
  • R.J. Harris
  • DeVonte Dedmon
  • Jalen Saunders
  • Don Unamba
  • Avery Williams
  • Sherod Baltimore


  • Cleyon Laing
  • Antoine Pruneau
  • Mark Korte
  • Lewis Ward

Left unprotected:

  • Nolan Macmillan
  • Davon Coleman
  • Avery Ellis
  • Anthony Coombs
  • Micah Awe
  • Abdul Kanneh
  • Daniel Petermann
  • Michael Klukas

Ottawa might have been the team hit hardest with retirements before training camp with Brad Sinopoli, Corey Tindal, Alex Mateas all hanging up the cleats and Alex Fontana opting out of the 2021 season thus putting his football career in jeopardy. The REDBLACKS have some nice players, but this list probably shows why a lot of people are picking Ottawa to finish near the bottom of the league. With the loss of so many offensive lineman, the REDBLACKS front office may opt to protect Nolan Macmillan over Antoine Pruneau. Jalen Saunders’ protection also depends on his health after his off-season car accident that has currently put him out indefinitely, but if he makes a full recovery he is an easy choice for Ottawa to protect.

Toronto Argonauts

  • Nick Arbuckle
  • DaVaris Daniels
  • Eric Rogers
  • Shaq Richardson
  • Dexter McCoil
  • Charleston Hughes


  • Cameron Judge
  • Henoc Muamba
  • Juwan Brescacin
  • Cody Speller
  • Darius Bladek
  • Arjen Colquhoun

Left unprotected:

  • McLeod Bethel-Thompson
  • John White
  • Phillip Blake
  • Chris Edwards
  • Drake Nevis
  • Bear Woods
  • Llevi Noel
  • Cordarro Law

As everyone knows the Argos have made some major moves the past two off-seasons and it made for some interesting decisions if they were forced to make an expansion list. As I see it Toronto would protect six Americans and six Nationals and while there were some obvious choices (Cam Judge, Henoc Muamba, DaVaris Daniels, Eric Rogers), there would have to be some pretty tough choices made by Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons and his front office staff. Nick Arbuckle or McLeod Bethel-Thompson is one example or maybe an up and coming American comes out of nowhere like Daniels or Rogers did several seasons ago. I also gave Charelston Hughes the last protected spot, mostly as a respect thing with him being 37 and likely not wanting to move to a third team in three seasons.

In summary the Atlantic Schooners would have a pretty good group of players to choose from. Back in 2013 when Ottawa was joining the league teams were allowed to protect 10 American players, one quarterback and six Nationals so the talent pool was shrunken down for the REDBLACKS and that showed when they finished the season with a 2-16 record. I think the CFL would need to take the NHL’s approach of trying to make the Schooners as competitive as possible right off the bat and this version of the draft would do just that. Here’s to hoping the Schooners are part of the CFL sooner rather than later so the league is truly coast-to-coast.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s