Now that we know Atlanta United and Minnesota United FC are coming into MLS next season, it also means an expansion draft is on the way. SI.com’s Grant Wahl is reporting today that the league is close to finalizing all the details on this year’s draft, which is set to take place on December 13.
The biggest detail though in today’s report is how Atlanta and Minnesota will only have five picks to deal with.
Each new team will select five players in the expansion draft, down from 10 in the draft two years ago. Each existing team will lose no more than one unprotected player. The expansion draft will take place on Dec. 13, 2016, three days after the MLS Cup final. A couple of MLS general managers criticized the league for taking this long to notify them of the rules, noting that it hurts their planning, but they should also be happy considering fewer teams will be losing players under the new format.
No word yet on how many players each team will be allowed to protect this time around. It does make you wonder that with so few picks in this draft if teams will be allowed to protect more players.
If anything this will force the two new clubs to pick wisely in this draft and not use these picks as bait in trades like we’ve seen in previous drafts.
But the good news in all of this is that FC Dallas will only lose one player in this draft. And depending on who is available, they could come out of it without losing anyone at all.
Edit: The league has issued information about the draft:
The 20 current MLS clubs will have the ability to protect 11 players from their rosters. These 11 protected players, in addition to Generation adidas players who do not graduate from the program at the end of the season and Homegrown Players on a club’s Supplemental or Reserve roster, will not be eligible for selection in the Expansion Draft. All remaining MLS players will be available for selection by the two expansion clubs.