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Rockers Lose Three in FPHL Expansion Draft

Rockers Expansion Draft

The Federal Prospects Hockey League held an expansion draft today for the two new franchises coming in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Wytheville, Virginia. Neither team has a name yet, but each now holds the FPHL rights to twelve players after today's draft. The Motor City Rockers had three players selected from the pool that were left unprotected, with all three selected by the Wytheville franchise.

Defensman Nick Papandrea, a Chesterfield Township native, came home to join the Rockers late in the season in March but only saw action in five games, going scoreless in those games. The Rockers were his fourth Federal League stop last season after stints in Carolina, Elmira and Watertown. He has also seen action in forty SPHL games over the last two seasons so he could be a solid addition to Wytheville's blueline if he chooses to sign there.

Cody Oakes joined Motor City in late December after opening the season in Carolina. He played in eighteen games for the Rockers, scoring one goal and adding seven assists. He can play both forward and defense so his versatility had to be attractive to the new Virginia-based squad.    

Travis Ridgen might be finally getting what he has been asking for, a chance to play meaningful minutes as a professional goalie. The You-Tuber/podcaster/goaltender only played 44 minutes for the Rockers last season as the third goalie on the roster, before his season ended with a knee injury late in 2022. He did win a game for Motor City, replacing Trevor Babin early in Watertown back in October after Babin was tossed from the game for fighting. But it was also a wild 7-6 win, not exactly a goaltending clinic. I wish Ridgen all the luck in the world, I enjoy his podcast, he's self-deprecating enough, but when you look at who else Wytheville drafted, it may still be a tough road for Trav. Port Huron's Ian Wallace was selected, as was Columbus' Christian Pavlas, and if either or both of them sign in Virginia, they are ahead of Ridgen on the depth chart. If both sign, Ridgen is in trouble as Fed teams are only allowed to carry two goaltenders on their rosters this season. 

The caveat to all of this is that none of these picks mean these players will be playing for these teams. Sure, some will sign, but others may not and choose to become free agents, or look for a spot overseas or in another pro league in North America. Regardless, I don't see any of these three returning to the Rockers. Motor City's braintrust did a tremendous job with their protected list, none of the team's core was eligible for the expansion draft, and some of the stronger players who were unprotected like Mike Winn, Cade Lambdin, Jameson Milam and Blake Scott remain eligible to be brought back to the Motor City. 

This is just the beginning of what will be a busy summer with player moves and signings. Watch this space, as things get announced, I'll have timely updates posted here.


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