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Expansion Draft Wish List: Montreal Impact

Who could be available for Atlanta United to pick?

MLS: SuperDraft Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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Major League Soccer’s resident French-Canadian contingent came into the 2016 season with high expectations. Some experts believed they’d be contenders for all the awards and trophies this season with a full year of Didier Drogba at their disposal.

It hasn’t quite gone to plan for the Impact, although they are still in a somewhat comfortable playoff spot (4th in the East). Players haven’t performed like projected and results haven’t gone their way during the stretch run of the season, so it doesn’t appear that the lofty goals set for them will be reached.

Despite the mediocre regular season, Montreal boasts a talented and deep roster that could bode well for the two expansion franchises in the draft in December. There are a lot of unknown variables on the Impact’s roster, like will Drogba return next season or will some of their young international talent stay? Here’s the protected list we’ve assembled to the best of our abilities:

Projected Protected List

  1. Evan Bush
  2. Victor Cabrera
  3. Hassoun Camara
  4. Laurent Ciman
  5. Didier Drogba
  6. Matteo Mancosu
  7. Dominic Oduro
  8. Lucas Ontivero
  9. Ambroise Oyongo
  10. Ignacio Piatti
  11. Donny Toia

Exempt List

  1. David Choiniere
  2. Maxime Crepeau
  3. Jeremy Gagnon-Lapare
  4. Anthony Jackson-Hamel
  5. Wandrille Lefevre

Available Players

  1. Kyle Bekker
  2. Hernan Bernardello
  3. Patrice Bernier
  4. Amadou Dia
  5. Marco Donadel
  6. Kyle Fisher
  7. Eric Kronberg
  8. Callum Mallace
  9. Andres Romero
  10. Michael Salazar
  11. Harry Shipp
  12. Johan Venegas

Potential Targets for Atlanta United: Harry Shipp, Andres Romero, Callum Mallace, Kyle Bekker

Jason: If Harry Shipp is available, and maybe it’s even wishful thinking on our part that he might be, you take him and play him as a #10. It’s simple. Too often in his career, Shipp has been pushed out wide into a position that doesn’t play to his strengths. I really think Shipp could be the next great American #10 if he’s given the opportunity.

Andres Romero could be another attractive option to Tata Martino. Romero has been out of action for nearly 12 months now after an ACL tear, and his recovery would have to be complete to be considered. Prior to the injury, he was one of the best right wingers in MLS.

Callum Mallace and Kyle Bekker provide another option in the middle of midfield to pair with Chris McCann. Mallace is more of a defensive midfield option, while Bekker is a bit more of a two-way option.

Rob: Look, there’s like a 99% chance that Harry Shipp will be protected for this expansion draft, but this is our series and we’re allowed a little blind optimism every once in a while. If the Impact decide to not protect Shipp, he would have to be the No. 1 pick no matter which team has it. He’s a difference maker in the final third and is a set-piece specialist. Make sure to plead to whatever deity you believe in on December 11th that Montreal somehow forget to protect him.

I’m a fan of Kyle Bekker. Last season when he was paired with Michael Bradley in Toronto at the beginning of the season, he would outplay him on multiple occasions. In the right situation, he’s a player who could thrive with some confidence and consistency.

Romero is a big risk. If the team does their due diligence and deem him ready to start the 2017 season, I’d be okay with taking the gamble. However, it seems very unlikely with only five picks per team. I would think Atlanta would want to be 100% certain they will be getting a player who can contribute in March.