The Seattle Kraken are getting ready to begin their NHL journey with the Expansion Draft taking place on Wednesday. The expansion draft is taking place with the same rules as the 2017 Expansion Draft that gave us the Vegas Golden Knights. The Kraken must take a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goalies in their picks. With the protection lists out to the public and plenty of big names unprotected, the NHL staff here at Prime Time Sports Talk took a shot at predicting what the Kraken roster could look like when the dust settles. So, without further ado, let’s get into the picks.
Each writer was assigned the following teams:
Chris Gallagher: Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes
Carter LaCorte: Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers
Logan Lockhart: Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils
Liz Pendergraft: New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks
Carson Babbini: St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals, Winnipeg Jets
Haydn Fleury, D, Anaheim Ducks
Fleury was acquired by the Ducks back in April. Averaging over 20 minutes of ice time per night for the team, he recorded three points in 12 games. Still just 25 years old, the former first-round pick offers Seattle a cheap young piece on their blue line with just a $1.3 million cap hit next season.
Christian Fischer, F, Arizona Coyotes
Fisher is a depth forward capable of playing up and down the lineup. He remains just three years removed from a career-high 33 points for the Coyotes. Contributing to both the powerplay and penalty kill, the US National Development Program product is locked up throughout the 2021-2022 season on just a $1.1 million cap hit.
Jeremy Lauzon, D, Boston Bruins
An important piece of the Bruins defensive core a year ago, Lauzon showed flashes of being a physical shutdown defenseman. Playing over 18 minutes a night in 2020, the 24-year-old is a capable penalty killer who will help boost the left side of the Kraken blue line.
Will Borgen, D, Buffalo Sabres
Battling injuries a year ago, Borgen played in just 10 games for the Sabres. Showing strongly, the 25-year-old is set to become a restricted free agent. Capable of filling a bottom pair role, he represents better value for general manager Ron Francis than taking on a larger contract.
Derek Ryan, F, Calgary Flames
Born in Spokane, Ryan would provide much-needed veteran leadership. A six-year veteran, the 34-year-old can play in the bottom six for head coach Dave Hakstol. Still capable of producing offense, the former undrafted free agent has amassed 80 points in 192 games during his time with the Flames.
Jake Bean, D, Carolina Hurricanes
With Brady Skjei staying protected by the Hurricanes, Beane provides a cheaper option with high upside as he enters just his third season. A first-round pick of Carolina in 2016, he racked up one goal and 12 assists in 42 games with the Hurricanes in 2020.
Calvin de Haan, D, Chicago Blackhawks
de Haan has just one year left on his contract that holds a $4.55 million cap hit. It may be a bit high, but he is a capable two-way defenseman who has always been an elite shot blocker.
Joonas Donskoi, F, Colorado Avalanche
The Avalanche did a good job making the pick as tough as possible on Seattle. The best available player is clearly Donskoi, a productive third-line winger making just short of $4 million for two more seasons.
Max Domi, F, Columbus Blue Jackets
Another expensive pick, Domi has one year left on his contract at $5.3 million. He has the value to be flipped and can also be a fine top-six forward for the Kraken.
Adam Mascherin, F, Dallas Stars
There are cheaper and safer bets in net than Ben Bishop. Mascherin, a 2018 fourth-round pick, is 23-years-old and just scored 18 goals with 16 assists in 37 AHL games. If they want to take more expensive players, Seattle has to balance it out.
Troy Stecher, D, Detroit Red Wings
Signed at a perfectly fine $1.7 million for one more season, Stecher is perfect for an expansion team: Cheap, reliable, and not too old at 27.
Tyler Benson, F, Edmonton Oilers
It comes down to Benson and Cooper Marody, who both lit up the AHL this past season. Benson is a year younger and had 36 points in 36 minor-league games.
Chris Driedger, G, Florida Panthers
Multiple reports have indicated that the 27-year-old pending free agent will be selected and then signed by the Kraken. As per the expansion rules, Seattle can negotiate with pending UFAs around the league prior to the start of free agency. Driedger played a career-high 23 games last season while posting a .927 SV%.
Andreas Athanasiou, F, Los Angeles Kings
The Kings essentially elected to protect forward Lias Andersson in favor of Athanasiou. A surprising development, but one the Kraken will surely support. It comes down to Athanasiou and Brendan Lemieux here, but the former makes more sense, especially given his 30-goal output with the Detroit Red Wings only three seasons ago.
Carson Soucy, D, Minnesota Wild
Out of the number of intriguing pieces from the Wild, Soucy gives Bill Guerin’s squad the most upside from the back-end while being the most cap-friendly. The defenseman posted 17 points in 50 games played during the condensed, regular season.
Carey Price, G, Montreal Canadiens
Make no mistake about it. Price is as notable as a name that has ever been exposed in the modern expansion era. Despite his $10.5 million cap-hit, Francis has an opportunity to select the face of his franchise. If Price is in fact the pick here, the question marks in the hockey world will be geared more towards the Canadiens than the Kraken.
Colton Sissons, F, Nashville Predators
The Predators are the only team in the NHL to protect three forwards in this expansion cycle. As a result, the options up-front for the Kraken are where the focus will be. As opposed to selecting Ryan Johansen and his $8 million tag through the 2024-2025 season, Sissons is locked up for one year longer and carries a $2.8 million cap hit.
Nathan Bastian, F, New Jersey Devils
Bastian, a second-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, may find himself playing in Seattle’s bottom-six group when next season begins. During the 2020-2021 season, the 23-year old forward played a career-high 41 games, acting as an “energy forward” in New Jersey.
Josh Bailey, F, New York Islanders
Bailey was number two in points for the Islanders this past season and also had 13 points in the playoffs. If the Islanders can entice Seattle to take Bailey, then that’s $5 million the Islanders have to play with.
Colin Blackwell, F, New York Rangers
Blackwell, an unrestricted free agent, had 22 points in 47 games this past season. He could be a solid depth scoring option for Seattle as he was for the Rangers and is a great deal at $750,000.
Josh Brown, D, Ottawa Senators
Brown brings physicality and size into a lineup, and he plays with an edge Seattle might find attractive. With a $1.2 million cap hit, he won’t break the bank for Seattle.
Shayne Gostisbehere, D, Philadelphia Flyers
Gostisbehere may not be the player fans expected him to be, so a change of venue and coastline might do his game some good. However, he’s an offensive-minded defenseman at the right age and a decent cap hit.
Marcus Pettersson, D, Pittsburgh Penguins
Pettersson is a good defensive defenseman and has shown the ability to suppress chances and goals against. If he can stay out of the penalty box, his potential as a member of the Kraken is high.
Ryan Donato, F, San Jose Sharks
Donato is a good two-way player, and his $1.9 million cap hit won’t break the bank. So not only would Seattle benefit, but Donato might flourish like he was always meant to.
Vladimir Tarasenko, F, St. Louis Blues
It comes down to Tarasenko and Vince Dunn here, both extremely enticing options. At the end of the day, it’s hard to pass on someone of Tarasenko’s caliber. He hasn’t been the same player as of late, but Tarasenko would be an amazing addition to the Kraken forward core.
Yanni Gourde, F, Tampa Bay Lightning
Gourde has been a key member of the Lightning’s forward core and a very good two-way forward. He is signed long-term ($5.2 million over four years), but this has to be the pick from Tampa Bay.
Jared McCann, F, Toronto Maple Leafs
The Pittsburgh Penguins traded McCann knowing they wouldn’t be able to protect him, but he still will be picked, just from the Maple Leafs now. Alexander Kerfoot is another intriguing selection here, but McCann is younger with a shorter term and will be a restricted free agent after next year, meaning Seattle would still hold his rights.
Braden Holtby, G, Vancouver Canucks
His first year in Vancouver wasn’t the best we’ve ever seen him, but as we’ve seen with Marc-Andre Fleury in Vegas, all Holtby could need is a change of scenery. If it doesn’t work, he’s only under contract for next year before he hits free agency.
Nick Jensen, D, Washington Capitals
A good penalty-killing defenseman for the Capitals, Jensen could be a great fit for the third pairing. Under contract for the next two years, he could serve as a great veteran presence on the Kraken’s defensive core.
Dylan DeMelo, D, Winnipeg Jets
DeMelo has had a bit of a resurgence in his time with the Jets, being a solid defenseman who has been plugged in on any pairing. This would be something that the Kraken would love. Not to mention he is signed for the next three years.
The expansion-friendly rules implemented by the NHL allow general manager Ron Francis to build four formidable lines upfront immediately. Despite the number of temptations the Kraken may have to select established “stars” out of the gate, expect Seattle’s brass to maintain a balance of picking veterans and cap-friendly assets. The Golden Knights’ expansion endeavors in 2017 was “take one” for the 30 other general managers. Four years later, it’s “take two”, and teams have adjusted based on their protected lists. Still, Seattle should be competitive right away in a weaker Pacific Division once the 2021-2022 officially kicks off in October.
Chris Gallagher on Twitter @ChrisGally06
Carter LaCorte on Twitter @CarterHudBlog
Logan Lockhart on Twitter @lgllockhart
Liz Pendergraft on Twitter @lizzibear824
Carson Babbini on Twitter @cbabs1120
Main Image Credit:
Embed from Getty Images