Winners and losers from the expansion draft: how Ottawa’s picks affect the CFL’s other teams

Monday's expansion draft (see our recaps of rounds one, two and three) was mostly about building the Ottawa Redblacks, but it also had substantial impacts on the eight other CFL teams, who each lost three players in the draft. They weren't affected equally, though, as some lost key contributors while others only lost seldom-used players. Here's a look at which teams survived Monday's draft with minimal losses, which teams were hard-hit and which teams were in the middle.


—Winnipeg Blue Bombers: The Bombers appear to have lost less than anyone here. The players selected from Winnipeg were import wide receiver Wallace Miles (round one), Canadian linebacker/special teams player James Green (round two) and Canadian wide receiver Rory Kohlert (round three). Kohlert is the biggest loss, as he showed plenty of potential this past season, but he was a pending free agent, and a return to a Winnipeg team that went 3-15 might not have been all that appealing for him. Moreover, he still only had 493 receiving yards last season, so it's not like he's hit all-star status yet. Miles also has potential, but was on and off the practice squad last year and only picked up 158 receiving yards, and Green has been decent on special teams, but hasn't been particularly close to contributing on defence. That's not bad at all. Of course, given the Bombers' roster issues, there wasn't as much for Ottawa to choose from with them as there was with other, better teams, but still, they emerged from this draft relatively unscathed.

—B.C. Lions: The Lions' primary loss was quarterback Thomas DeMarco in the first round, but that probably worked out being a good thing for them. While DeMarco was reasonably effective during his stints filling in for the injured Travis Lulay last season, and while he's only 24, his loss allowed the Lions to protect more Canadian players in the second and third rounds. DeMarco wasn't going to replace Lulay any time soon, and B.C. is pretty set at quarterback if the 30-year-old Lulay can stay healthy. Even if he can't, they have one experienced backup in Buck Pierce, and they'll undoubtedly be developing other young guys (which they've done impressively over the last few years, as Pierce, Lulay, current Edmonton starter Mike Reilly and DeMarco all got their first CFL experience in the Lions system). DeMarco wasn't a world-beater in B.C., either, as he completed just 53.9 per cent of his passes in 2013 and threw 10 touchdowns with eight interceptions. His loss isn't great, but it let B.C. hang on to more of their Canadian depth; they only lost offensive lineman Matt Albright (in the second round) and defensive end Andrew Marshall (in the third), and neither was a key piece last year.


—Calgary Stampeders: Like B.C., Calgary lost a quarterback who wasn't particularly essential to their future. Ottawa's selection of Kevin Glenn in round one did cause the Stampeders to lose their year-end starter, but it probably worked out well for Calgary; Glenn's going to be 35 by the time next season starts, so he wasn't a long-term answer for the Stampeders, who have two excellent younger quarterbacks in Drew Tate and Bo Levi Mitchell; both completed a higher percentage of their passes than Glenn did last year. He's been an excellent backup and sometime-starter for them, but his loss let them protect more Canadian talent. The loss of starting free safety Eric Fraser in round three may hurt, but they do have other promising players there in Jeff Hecht and Keenan MacDougall, and while J'Michael Deane looked like an impressive offensive lineman, he was only a backup guard by the end of last season. Calgary lost some good players here, but they weren't hit too terribly hard.

—Toronto Argonauts: Ottawa's round three selection of Canadian linebacker Jason Pottinger is the big loss here, as Pottinger's been an excellent special teams player for the Boatmen and is only 30; he also gave them solid depth at linebacker, particularly if they wanted to try starting a Canadian there. However, Pottinger never really got much of a shot as a defensive starter in Toronto. Similarly, offensive lineman Joe Eppele (who the Redblacks chose in the second round) was an impressive talent with great size, but wasn't a key part of the Argos' plans; he ended the year as a backup guard. The first-round loss of import DE Jon Williams isn't bad at all either; he was used sparingly last year, recording just 28 tackles and two sacks. The Argos lost players with potential, but no one who looked like a key piece for them going forward.

—Edmonton Eskimos: The Eskimos lost a couple of interesting Canadian players in offensive lineman Alex Krausnick and defensive end Justin Cappiciotti. Both have the potential to possibly be starters going forward. However, Edmonton was able to hang onto talented Canadian receivers like Shamawd Chambers and Nathan Coehoorn, who would have been bigger losses, and import WR Carlton Mitchell never seemed like a huge part of their plan.


—Hamilton Tiger-Cats: The Tiger-Cats might have lost the most important piece of anyone going forward in centre Marwan Hage. Hage has spent the last 10 seasons with Hamilton and has been a key consistent presence on the Tiger-Cats' offence. He's also just 32, so he might have plenty of good football left (if he goes to Ottawa or convinces them to trade him; it's possible he could retire instead). Import RB Chevon Walker also is a loss; he was behind C.J. Gable on the depth chart by the end of the season, but still showed impressive flashes when he did get to carry the ball, and speedy RBs aren't a dime a dozen. Canadian fullback John Delahunt is lesser-known, but he was an effective receiver out of the backfield this year, catching nine balls for 104 yards and two touchdowns; he's also just 26.

—Saskatchewan Roughriders: Hamilton's opponents in the 101st Grey Cup also were hit hard, not surprising given that it takes plenty of Canadian talent to make it that far. The big loss for the Roughriders is DT Keith Shologan in the second round. Shologan, a first-round pick (fourth overall) in 2008, has been a vital part of their ratio over the last five seasons and one of the league's best performers at the DT spot, a place that isn't easy to fill with productive Canadians; he's just 28, too, so he seems likely to have lots of good football ahead. Saskatchewan also lost young Canadian DT Zach Evans, a 23-year-old who was a solid backup to Shologan. They might have to reevaluate how they address their import ratio going forward following those departures. Import OL James Lee (selected in the first round) doesn't seem like a massive loss, as he only played one regular-season game for the Riders last year, but he has potential too.

—Montreal Alouettes: The loss of Patrick Lavoie in the second round is the big one here. Lavoie was the Alouettes' second-round pick in 2012 (11th overall), and he was a key contributor for them that season as both a fullback and a tight end, proving excellent at both blocking and receiving. He was more limited this year thanks to injuries and offensive changes, but still has the potential to be a star. Import DE Moton Hopkins and Canadian LB Jordan Verdone are also both promising players.

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