Seattle Kraken Score Big at Expansion Draft with Gourde & Oleksiak
The 2021 National Hockey League Expansion Draft came and went last week as the Seattle Kraken assembled the first draft of their roster. In total, 31 players relocated and the vast majority of them (at least for the time being) can call Seattle, Washington home.
The Buffalo Sabres held the number one pick in the NHL Draft for the first time since choosing defenseman Rasmus Dahlin in 2018. Adding a second first-round selection, general manager Kevyn Adams sent Rasmus Ristolainen to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Expecting an expansion franchise to have an abundance of draft picks in the team’s first-ever entry draft is not uncommon. But in the case of the Seattle Kraken, only seven players were selected across the seven rounds.
The New York Rangers went into the 2021 draft with nine picks. Before the draft even began, general manager Chris Drury was making waves among fans by trading Pavel Buchnevich to the St. Louis Blues for Sammy Blais and a 2nd round pick in the 2022 draft. Going into the draft, the Rangers’ biggest need was to grab a center, maybe two. The Rangers were also looking to pick up some players with size and strength, based on reading between the lines of Drury’s stated plans for the future of the Rangers.
The Colorado Avalanche are entering the first of two huge years. Their championship window is wide open and have a core that looks to be championship caliber. With a foundation this good also comes important contract decisions.
The Montreal Canadiens were one of the top stories of the 2021 NHL playoffs. Led by winger Tyler Toffoli and former first-round pick Nick Suzuki, the team snuck into the postseason. Pacing the team with 28 goals, Toffoli helped lead Montreal to a fourth-place finish in the North Division.
It may have had its ups and downs, but overall it was a good season for the Winnipeg Jets. They ended the season finishing third in the North Division, putting them up against the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the playoffs.
It was another rough year in Tinseltown as the Los Angeles Kings continue their climb back up the hill during a tricky rebuild. Finishing sixth in the West Division, the Kings struggled mightily on the offensive end all throughout the year.
The 2020-2021 season for the Vancouver Canucks was a strange one, thanks to Covid-19. The team had a number of games moved due to players and staff testing positive. Most of the team and coaching staff were back in by the time April came, and they appeared to be on their way to having a chance to make the playoffs.