Seattle Kraken Post-Expansion Draft Protection List Submission Mock Draft and Analysis

Earlier this morning, the National Hockey League released all thirty protection lists submitted by the expansion-eligible teams for the general public to see. In this article, we will examine the mock protection lists we came up with and determine the percentage of our picks in relation to the actual submitted lists. Similar to our pre-expansion draft protection list and analysis article, we will conduct a mock draft using the official lists, as well as provide projected depth charts and factor in any trades as we see fit. All teams met the expansion draft exposure requirements (even the New York Islanders who did so at the last second with the signing of Andy Greene), as each of the thirty teams exposed at least two forwards who are under contract during the 2021-22 season who have played either 40 games in the 2020-21 NHL season, or a combined 70+ games in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, as well as one defenseman under the same criteria. In addition to that, each team exposed one goaltender who is either under contract in 2021-22 or who is a restricted free agent currently. The first part of this article is providing the actual protection lists submitted by each team on Saturday, July 17th. If the player we originally predicted Seattle would take is still available post-protection list submission, and we still believe Seattle will take the player, we will have a much shorter explanation. However, if circumstances warrant us to change our selection, such as a player being exposed that we didn’t account for, our picks will differ from the previous article. After the lists are examined, we will provide a graph with the accuracy of our projected expansion draft protection lists compared to the actual. Again, huge shoutout to the people at CapFriendly.com, who have put together a mock expansion draft calculator for fans to make their projection, which has been extremely helpful in all our projects this summer. With all that being said, and a reminder that the Vegas Golden Knights are exempt from this process, let us now project how Seattle’s team may fare in the NHL’s Pacific Division next season.

Anaheim Ducks

Option: 7 skaters, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Nicholas Deslauriers

Forward 2- Max Jones

Forward 3- Isac Lundestrom

Forward 4- Rickard Rakell

Forward 5- Jakob Silfverberg

Forward 6- Sam Steel

Forward 7- Troy Terry

Defenseman 1- Cam Fowler

Defenseman 2- Hampus Lindholm

Defenseman 3- Josh Manson

Goaltender 1- John Gibson

Notable UFAs– Ryan Getzlaf, David Backes, Carter Rowney

Notable Exempt– Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale, Maxime Comtois

Notable Exposed– Adam Henrique, Danton Heinen, Sonny Milano, Kevin Shattenkirk, Haydn Fleury, Jacob Larsson, Josh Mahura

Our Pick-Haydn Fleury (1.3m)

Our Pick Explanation: Anaheim’s protection list format of seven skaters, three defensemen, and one goaltender was one of the biggest surprises of the list releases to us. Danton Heinen, and Haydn Fleury are much more attractive options to us than Sam Steel, Isac Lundestrom, Nicholas Deslauriers, and the contract of Jakob Silverberg. While our pick in Carter Rowney is still available under this format, we believe he will be a UFA target for the Kraken once free agency officially begins on July 28th, and that they will opt to select one of Heinen or Fleury. Haydn Fleury is a former 7th overall pick in the 2014 NHL draft by the Carolina Hurricanes, and was traded to the Ducks at the 2021 trade deadline in exchange for Jani Hakanpaa. At twenty-five years of age, Fleury has four individual AB seasons to his name, in which he has a -1.92 career AB score. He has registered two individual positive and two individual negative AB seasons, as he is coming off a -7.11 individual score this season. In forty-seven games last season, Fleury scored three goals, and registered one assist for four points averaging 16:17 TOI. We believe, under the right coaching, and with an adequate defense partner, we believe Fleury’s high upside can be unlocked. In addition to this, we believe Fleury will be one of the most talented Canadian defensemen Dave Hakstol has ever coached, and we would be very excited to see the progress Fleury can make under Hakstol and his staff. Again, we didn’t think it was possible at all for Fleury to be exposed given the Ducks just traded for him, and despite the fact we think Heinen would be a great pick here as well, we believe Fleury’s potential is too much for the Kraken to pass up. It is also worth noting that Ron Francis was the GM in Carolina when Fleury was selected 7th overall, so it may make sense for a reunion.

Arizona Coyotes  

Option: 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Phil Kessel

Forward 2- Clayton Keller

Forward 3- Nick Schmaltz

Forward 4- Conor Garland

Forward 5- Lawson Crouse

Forward 6- Christian Dvorak

Forward 7- Johan Larsson

Defenseman 1- Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Defenseman 2- Jakob Chychrun

Defenseman 3- Kyle Capobianco

Goaltender 1- Darcy Kuemper

Notable UFAs- Derick Brassard, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers, Antti Raanta, Michael Bunting

Notable Exempt– Barrett Hayton, Liam Kirk, Victor Soderstrom

Notable Exposed– Tyler Pitlick, Christian Fischer, Ilya Lyubushkin

Our Pick-Tyler Pitlick (1.75m)

Our Pick Explanation– Even with the exposure of Christian Fischer that was unexpected to us, we still believe that Pitlick is the pick here. There was some speculation that Seattle could select goaltender Adin Hill from Arizona, however the Coyotes dealt him to the San Jose Sharks for a 2nd round pick before yesterday’s roster freeze. As we wrote in our other article, Tyler Pitlick has been one of the more underrated players in the league AB wise, as he has a career AB score of +1.83 in a seven-year span. He has even registered a +7.17 score in 2019-20 with the Philadelphia Flyers, and a +4.08 score with the Dallas Stars. Dave Hakstol’s second best nationality position group according to our coach’s study was American born forwards, and Pitlick is from Minneapolis Minnesota. Pitlick has a year left at $1.75 million AAV before he becomes a UFA at age twenty-nine.

Boston Bruins

Option: 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Patrice Bergeron

Forward 2- Charlie Coyle

Forward 3- Jake DeBrusk

Forward 4- Trent Frederic

Forward 5- Brad Marchand

Forward 6- David Pastrnak

Forward 7- Craig Smith

Defenseman 1- Brandon Carlo

Defenseman 2- Matt Grzelcyk

Defenseman 3- Charlie McAvoy

Goaltender 1- Daniel Vladar

Notable UFAs- David Krejci, Taylor Hall, Sean Kuraly, Mike Reilly, Kevan Miller, Tuukka Rask, Jaroslav Halak

Notable Exempt– Jack Studnicka, Jeremy Swayman

Notable Exposed– Ondrej Kase, Nick Ritchie, Chris Wagner, Curtis Lazar, Anton Blidh, Zach Senyshyn, John Moore, Jakub Zboril, Connor Clifton

Our Pick– Jakub Zboril (725k)

Our Pick Explanation: Boston is the first of our perfect protection lists, and therefore our selection won’t change. As we wrote in our last article, Jakub Zboril was Boston’s first of three 1st round picks in the loaded 2015 NHL draft (13th overall) and had a solid rookie season with the Bruins this year. The twenty-four year old registered nine assists for nine points in forty-two games played this season with the team and had a solid -0.68 rookie AB score. We think he is capable of building off that successful rookie year and has a chance to be a very good bottom pair defenseman for the Kraken next season on a cheap contract as well. Defensemen born outside of the US, Canada, Sweden, Finland, and Russia, or “Other” as we referred to it as in our coach’s study, happened to be Dave Hakstol’s 2nd best defensive group with an average AB score of -0.95, slightly worse than Zboril’s -0.68 score from this season. He played a solid number of minutes for Bruce Cassidy’s Bruins this season at 17:03 average TOI, and we think he is ready to do that and potentially more with the Kraken, if Hakstol believes in him enough. This could be Seattle’s version of Brayden McNabb, talented prospect who just needed a change of scenery and the right coaching. McNabb was even two years older than Zboril is now at the time of his expansion draft. McNabb’s first year AB with Vegas was +9.98 and he’s only registered one negative season with the team at -0.47 in 2019-20. Granted he had a +1.14 career AB score at the time of his expansion draft, his score the year of the draft was -1.56, which turned around due to proper coaching. Zboril could potentially have the same impact at a cheaper cost and a younger age. However, if Trent Frederic or Jake DeBrusk are exposed by the Bruins, Seattle must take them into consideration as well. Seattle is going to get a very good player from Boston, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see them take a shot at Ondrej Kase, as he is another high-AB forward who is twenty-five years old and an RFA.

Buffalo Sabres

Option: 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Jack Eichel

Forward 2- Rasmus Asplund  

Forward 3- Sam Reinhart

Forward 4- Victor Olofsson

Forward 5- Anders Bjork 

Forward 6- Casey Mittlestadt 

Forward 7- Tage Thompson   

Defenseman 1- Rasmus Dahlin

Defenseman 2- Rasmus Ristolainen

Defenseman 3- Henri Jokiharju

Goaltender 1- Linus Ullmark (UFA)

Notable UFAs- Jake McCabe, Matt Irwin, Carter Hutton, Riley Sheahan, Drake Caggiula

Notable Exempt– Arttu Ruotsalainen, Jack Quinn, Dylan Cozens, John-Jason Peterka, Jacob Bryson, Ukko-Pekka Lukkonen

Notable Exposed– Jeff Skinner, Colin Miller, Zemgus Girgensons, Cody Eakin, Kyle Okposo, William Borgen

Our Pick- William Borgen (RFA)

Our Pick Explanation– If we knew Skinner was going to waive his NMC, we would’ve protected Rasmus Asplund as he was our selection from Buffalo in our last article. Buffalo does not have very many appealing options exposed for Seattle to work with here. Barring any side deals with the Kraken to take a bad contract such as Kyle Okposo or Jeff Skinner in exchange for picks or prospects, we believe the choice is down to William Borgen or Zemgus Girgensons. We believe Seattle selects Borgen strictly because Girgensons’ $2.2 million cap hit would be high for them in addition to the rest of the picks we’ve made in this article. As a twenty-four year old defenseman on one of the worst AB hockey teams in the history of the metric, Will Borgen played in ten games for the Sabres, in which he did not score a point, registering a -6.20 AB score. We think, on a substantially better team, that there is upside in Borgen, and that Seattle should take a chance.

Calgary Flames

Option: 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Johnny Gaudreau

Forward 2- Sean Monahan

Forward 3- Matthew Tkachuk

Forward 4- Andrew Mangiapane

Forward 5- Elias Lindholm

Forward 6- Dillon Dube

Forward 7- Mikael Backlund  

Defenseman 1- Chris Tanev

Defenseman 2- Noah Hanifin

Defenseman 3- Rasmus Andersson

Goaltender 1- Jacob Markstrom (NMC)

NMC Waived- Milan Lucic

Notable UFAs- Derek Ryan, Josh Leivo, Zac Rinaldo, Michael Stone, Nikita Nesterov

Notable Exempt– Connor Zary, Jakob Pelletier, Juuso Valimaki, Dustin Wolf

Notable Exposed– Milan Lucic, Mark Giordano, Dominik Simon, Oliver Kylington, Tyler Parsons

Our Pick– Mark Giordano (6.75m)

Our Pick Explanation– We didn’t see the Calgary Flames not protecting their captain and 2019 Norris Trophy winner Mark Giordano coming. It’s a shame Calgary could potentially lose a player of Giordano’s caliber for nothing, and Seattle should absolutely take advantage of this situation. We’ve projected that Seattle will take a solid amount of younger defensemen, and having a former captain with leadership qualities like Giordano has would be very beneficial to them. Giordano even had a quality 2020-21 season, as he scored nine goals and registered seventeen assists for twenty-six points in a full fifty-six game season for the Flames. On top of this, he was playing 22:57 per game, his +2.09 AB score was the 2nd highest of any Flames defenseman (behind only Chris Tanev’s +6.81), and he had the 7th highest AB score of anyone on the team. Yes, Mark Giordano is thirty-seven years old, however, he is on the final year of his $6.75 million AAV contract and could easily be flipped at the trade deadline to a contender with salary retention if Seattle doesn’t do as well as we think they will. This should be an easy pick for Seattle, and we expect him to be one of the players at the Kraken’s announcement event on Wednesday night.

Carolina Hurricanes

Option: 7 forwards, 3 skaters, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Jordan Staal (NMC)

Forward 2- Sebastian Aho

Forward 3- Teuvo Teravainen

Forward 4- Warren Foegele

Forward 5- Andrei Svechnikov

Forward 6- Vincent Trocheck

Forward 7- Jesper Fast

Defenseman 1- Brett Pesce

Defenseman 2- Jaccob Slavin

Defenseman 3- Brady Skjei

Goaltender 1- Alex Nedeljkovic 

Notable UFAs- Brock McGinn, Jordan Martinook, Cedric Paquette, Dougie Hamilton, Jani Hakanpaa, James Reimer, Peter Mrazek

Notable Exempt– Martin Necas, Seth Jarvis, Ryan Suzuki, Dominik Bokk

Notable Exposed– Nino Niederreiter, Warren Foegele, Jake Bean, Jake Gardiner,

Our Pick– Jake Bean (RFA)

Our Pick Explanation– Carolina’s protection list is one of the more interesting ones to us. Exposing Nino Niederreiter could come back to bite them, as we would definitely have interest if we were Kraken management. However, the real stunner was the protection of Brady Skjei over former first round pick Jake Bean. Bean is an obvious pick in our opinion, as Ron Francis was the general manager in Carolina at the time of his selection as well. A potential Jake Bean/Haydn Fleury defense pairing could happen in Seattle, as two Francis picks could be re-united. Jake Bean only has one season of AB data at this point in his career, as he registered a -1.52 score in the 2020-21 season. In this season, he scored one goal and had eleven assists for twelve points in forty-two games played at 14:32 TOI.

Chicago Blackhawks

Option: 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Jonathan Toews (NMC)

Forward 2- Patrick Kane (NMC)

Forward 3- Alex DeBrincat

Forward 4- Dylan Strome

Forward 5- Henrik Borgstrom

Forward 6- Brandon Hagel

Forward 7- David Kampf

Defenseman 1- Caleb Jones

Defenseman 2- Connor Murphy

Defenseman 3- Riley Stillman

Goaltender 1- Kevin Lankinen 

Notable UFAs- Zack Smith, Vinnie Hinostroza, Brandon Pirri,

Notable Exempt– Dominik Kubalik, Kirby Dach, Philipp Kurashev, Lukas Reichel, Adam Boqvist, Pius Suter

Notable Exposed– Calvin De Hann, Malcom Subban, Brett Connolly, Nikita Zadorov, Adam Gaudette, Ryan Carpenter

Our Pick- Malcom Subban (850k)

Our Pick Explanation- This was the protection list we compiled after the Duncan Keith trade in that article. Protecting Riley Stillman over Nikita Zadorov was definitely the right decision in our eyes, as Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman continues his terrific start to the 2021-22 offseason. None of these options intrigue us from a Kraken management standpoint, so we would select Malcom Subban here. A former 2012 1st round selection by the Boston Bruins, Subban had a 6-8-1 record with the Blackhawks this year, in which he had a 3.2 GAA and 0.900 save percentage. With better defense in front of him, he could compete for the backup goaltender job in Seattle. Worst case scenario he’s a solid AHL goaltender that could step in if any injuries were to occur.

Colorado Avalanche

Option: 7 forwards, 3 skaters, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Nathan MacKinnon

Forward 2- Mikko Rantanen

Forward 3- Andre Burakovsky

Forward 4- Nazem Kadri

Forward 5- Logan O’Connor

Forward 6- Valeri Nichushkin

Forward 7- Tyson Jost

Defenseman 1- Cale Makar

Defenseman 2- Devon Toews

Defenseman 3- Samuel Girard

Goaltender 1- Philip Grubauer (UFA)

NMC Waived- Erik Johnson

Notable UFAs- Gabriel Landeskog,Brandon Saad, Matt Calvert, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Patrik Nemeth, Devan Dubnyk

Notable Exempt– Shane Bowers, Alex Newhook, Pavel Francouz, Bowen Byram

Notable Exposed– Erik Johnson, J.T. Compher, Joonas Donskoi, Jacob MacDonald

Our Pick- J.T. Compher (3.5m)

Our Pick Explanation– This was the protection list we compiled after the Ryan Graves trade in that article. Since we started hearing about how far off contract extension talks were between the Avalanche and captain Gabriel Landeskog, we knew they probably were not going to protect him. This means the Kraken can exclusively negotiate with Landeskog and his representatives prior to the expansion draft and can select him from the Avalanche if they reach an agreement. Due to the low number of quality centers we see being exposed in this draft, we believe the Kraken will opt to select J.T. Compher over talented young defenseman Jacob MacDonald, as he could potentially slot into their 2C-3C role. Compher’s +5.10 individual AB score this season was 11th on an AB loaded Colorado Avalanche team, that finished with a combined team AB score of +104.53. Compher played in forty-eight games this season, in which he scored ten goals with eight assists for eighteen points, while playing 14:13 per game.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Forward 1- Cam Atkinson

Forward 2- Gustav Nyquist

Forward 3- Patrik Laine

Forward 4- Boone Jenner

Forward 5- Oliver Bjorkstrand

Forward 6- Jack Roslovic

Forward 7- Eric Robinson  

Defenseman 1- Seth Jones

Defenseman 2- Zach Werenski

Defenseman 3- Vladislav Gavrikov

Goaltender 1- Joonas Korpisalo 

Notable UFAs- Zac Dalpe, Stefan Matteau, Michael Del Zotto

Notable Exempt– Emil Bemstrom, Alexandre Texier, Liam Foudy, Elvis Merzlikins

Notable Exposed– Max Domi, Kevin Stenlund, Dean Kukan, Nathan Gerbe

Our Pick– Kevin Stenlund (874k)

Our Pick Explanation-Protecting Eric Robinson over Kevin Stenlund to us was exactly the right decision by GM Jarmo Kekäläinen and his staff. Leaving Max Domi’s contract ($5.2 million AAV for only one more season) exposed could be tempting for Seattle. However, we believe Stenlund is a better, cheaper option allowing Seattle to take some bigger named players later on in the draft. Stenlund played in thirty-two games for the Columbus Blue Jackets this season, in which he scored five goals and registered five assists for ten points in just under thirteen minutes of ice time. To put this into perspective, he played in twenty-two fewer games than Max Domi, had four less goals, and played almost two fewer minutes per game, all while making about $4.5 million less. Stenlund’s -1.36 individual AB score in 2020-21 was the 8th best of any player on the Blue Jackets this season, and he has a +0.44 career AB score in two years of data.  

Dallas Stars

Option: 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Tyler Seguin (NMC)

Forward 2- Jamie Benn (NMC)

Forward 3- Alexander Radulov (NMC)

Forward 4- Joe Pavelski

Forward 5- Radek Faksa

Forward 6- Roope Hintz

Forward 7- Denis Gurianov

Defenseman 1- Miro Heiskanen

Defenseman 2- John Klingberg

Defenseman 3- Esa Lindell

Goaltender 1- Anton Khudobin

Notable UFAs- Jamie Oleksiak, Sami Vatanen, Mark Pysyk, Andrew Cogliano, Justin Dowling

Notable Exempt– Joel Kiviranta, Ty Dellandrea, Jason Robertson, Thomas Harley, Jake Oettinger

Notable Exposed– Andrej Sekera, Blake Comeau, Tanner Kero, Nicholas Cammano, Ben Bishop

Our Pick– Tanner Kero (762k)

Our Pick Explanation– Our original pick of Jason Dickinson was dealt to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a third round selection in the 2021 NHL draft prior to the roster freeze. With Ben Bishop waiving his NMC, it was logical to put Khudobin in his slot. However, Bishop waived after our article was published and we can not count our list as perfect for that reason. Tanner Kero should be the pick here in our eyes, as he is significantly the best AB player available. Kero played thirty-nine games this season in which he scored three goals and registered seven assists for ten points in just over ten minutes of ice time per game. He had a +0.64 AB score this season (10th of any Stars player) and has an impressive +3.95 career AB score for a player who doesn’t get the most ice time. This could be a hidden gem for Seattle in this expansion draft, and perhaps new potential could be unlocked in Kero with a bigger role. He is twenty-eight years old.

Detroit Red Wings

Option- 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Dylan Larkin

Forward 2- Jakub Vrana

Forward 3- Tyler Bertuzzi

Forward 4- Robby Fabbri

Forward 5- Michael Rasmussen

Forward 6- Adam Erne

Forward 7- Givani Smith

Defenseman 1- Filip Hronek

Defenseman 2- Nick Leddy  

Defenseman 3- Gustav Lindstrom

Goaltender 1- Thomas Greiss

Notable UFAs- Darren Helm, Valtteri Filppula, Luke Glendening, Bobby Ryan, Sam Gagner, Marc Staal, Jonathan Bernier

Notable Exempt– Filip Zadina, Joe Veleno, Lucas Raymond, Moritz Seider, Jonathan Berggren

Notable Exposed– Frans Nielsen, Vladislav Namestnikov, Danny DeKeyser, Christian Djoos, Troy Stecher, Denis Cholowski

Our Pick– Troy Stecher (1.7m)

Our Pick Explanation– We were unable to publish a Nick Leddy trade article, but we would have obviously protected him over one of Stecher and Cholowski. We did not expect Lindstrom to be protected over one of those two however, as this gives the Kraken some serious options. While we still like the idea of the Kraken selecting Christian Djoos as we wrote about in our last article, we believe the availability of Troy Stecher changes things. During the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons, Stecher found his way in the Canucks organization and registered back-to-back +5 or higher individual AB seasons. However, this season with the Red Wings, he registered a -8.19 individual score. Granted, the Red Wings finished near the bottom of the league and everyone’s individual scores were bad. Despite this score, Stecher has a decent =1.81 career AB score in the five years of data we have on him. We think that Stecher could become the player he was in Vancouver again given the opportunity to play on a good team, which is why Seattle should take the risk at a $1.7 million cap hit.

Edmonton Oilers

Option: 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Connor McDavid

Forward 2- Leon Draisaitl

Forward 3- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Forward 4- Jesse Puljujarvi

Forward 5- Kailer Yamamoto

Forward 6- Zack Kassian

Forward 7- Josh Archibald

Defenseman 1- Duncan Keith (NMC)

Defenseman 2- Darnell Nurse

Defenseman 3- Ethan Bear

Goaltender 1- Stuart Skinner

Notable UFAs- Mike Smith, Adam Larsson, Dmitry Kulikov, Tyson Barrie, Alex Chiasson, Tyler Ennis

Notable Exempt– Evan Bouchard, Philip Broberg, Dylan Holloway

Notable Exposed– Kris Russell, Dominik Kahun, Kyle Turris, James Neal, Oskar Klefbom, Mikko Koskinen

Our Pick– Tyler Benson (808k)

Our Pick Explanation– This was the protection list we compiled after the Duncan Keith trade in that article. Caleb Jones was our original selection in our last expansion article, however, we believe the Kraken will go off the board with their selection from Edmonton, as the top guys have cap hits too large to select. Tyler Benson is a twenty-three year old, former 2nd round pick of the Oilers who has spent the majority of his professional career at this point with the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL. Benson has been nearly a point per game player in the AHL, as he has scored thirty-four goals, with one-hundred-forty-one assists in one-hundred-fifty-six games with the Condors. We don’t have any AB data on Benson, as he has yet to play enough games in the NHL, but we believe this would be a very interesting, and cheap acquisition by the Seattle Kraken here.

Florida Panthers

Option: 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Jonathan Huberdeau (NMC)

Forward 2- Aleksander Barkov

Forward 3- Sam Bennett

Forward 4- Patrick Hornqvist

Forward 5- Carter Verhaeghe

Forward 6- Anthony Duclair

Forward 7- Mason Marchment

Defenseman 1- Aaron Ekblad

Defenseman 2- MacKenzie Weegar

Defenseman 3- Gustav Forsling

Goaltender 1- Sergei Bobrovsky (NMC)

NMC Waived- Keith Yandle

Notable UFAs- Alexander Wennberg, Brandon Montour, Chris Driedger

Notable Exempt– Owen Tippett, Spencer Knight

Notable Exposed– Radko Gudas, Anton Stralman, Keith Yandle, Markus Nutivaara, Ryan Lomberg, Noel Acciari

Our Pick– Radko Gudas (2.5m)

Our Pick Explanation– As we wrote in our last expansion article, Florida had an outstanding year, and a large part of it is due to their terrific defense group. Radko Gudas had a solid year, scoring two goals and registering nine assists for eleven points. He finished with a +2.62 AB score, which was 3rd best of the Panthers’ defense group behind only MacKenzie Weegar’s +13.18, and Gustav Forsling’s +8.5. Gudas’ grit and toughness is something that the new expansion team will definitely be needing, and this pick is definitely one we will be paying attention to on Wednesday night.

Los Angeles Kings

Option: 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Anze Kopitar

Forward 2- Viktor Arvidsson

Forward 3- Alex Iafallo

Forward 4- Adrian Kempe

Forward 5- Dustin Brown

Forward 6- Trevor Moore

Forward 7- Lias Andersson

Defenseman 1- Drew Doughty (NMC)

Defenseman 2- Matt Roy

Defenseman 3- Sean Walker

Goaltender 1- Cal Petersen

Notable UFAs- Martin Frk

Notable Exempt– Alex Turcotte, Quinton Byfield, Gabriel Vilardi, Arthur Kaliyev, Jaret Anderson-Dolan,

Notable Exposed– Olli Maatta, Kale Clague, Trevor Moore, Brenden Lemieux, Carl Grundstrom, Blake Lizotte

Our Pick– Olli Maata (3.33m)

Our Pick Explanation– As we discussed in our last expansion article, Los Angeles is rumored to be in the Jack Eichel sweepstakes and clearing out Olli Maatta’s 3.33 million could help LA in taking on Eichel’s full salary should a deal be made. We picked Maatta for Seattle as he has always been a very positive AB defenseman. In his eight NHL seasons, he has registered positive scores five times, but hasn’t registered a positive score since 2018-19 in Pittsburgh. Similar to some of the other players we have selected, we believe that Maatta has been negatively impacted by playing on below average teams, and we don’t project Seattle to be that. Maatta could play in Seattle’s Top-4, and perhaps be one of their better all-around defensemen from year one. Plus, he only has one year remaining on his contract, and could be flipped at the trade deadline if Seattle chooses. All this being said, we could definitely see Seattle opting to go with a talented forward in this scenario such as Lizotte, Lemieux, or Grundstrom, or even a younger defenseman like Kale Clague. Definitely something to monitor.

Minnesota Wild

Forward 1- Mats Zuccarello (NMC)

Forward 2- Joel Eriksson Ek

Forward 3- Kevin Fiala

Forward 4- Ryan Hartman

Forward 5- Nico Sturm

Forward 6- Marcus Foligno

Forward 7- Jordan Greenway

Defenseman 1- Matt Dumba

Defenseman 2- Jonas Brodin

Defenseman 3- Jared Spurgeon

Goaltender 1- Cam Talbot

Notable UFAs- Marcus Johansson, Nick Bonino, Ian Cole

Notable Exempt– Kirill Kaprizov, Marco Rossi, Matthew Boldy, Calen Addison

Notable Exposed– Carson Soucy, Nick Bjugstad, Viktor Rask, Kaapo Kahkonen

Our Pick– Carson Soucy (2.75m)

Our Pick Explanation– This was the protection list we compiled after the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter buyouts in that article. The Wild are our second, and last perfect protection list, and our pick remains the same as our last expansion article. If no trades are made, we believe Carson Soucy is the obvious choice for Seattle, as they immediately get a Top-4 defenseman. We chose Soucy for that reason, as in his two NHL seasons of data we have on him, Soucy’s career AB score is an impressive +7.62. He registered a +8.27 in 2019-20, and a +6.96 in his first year under coach Dean Evason. Soucy is by far the best player Minnesota has to offer Seattle here, and Kraken management should be thrilled to get a player of his caliber at such a cheap cap hit.

Montreal Canadiens

Option: 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Brendan Gallagher (NMC)

Forward 2- Jesperi Kotkaniemi

Forward 3- Artturi Lehkonen

Forward 4- Tyler Toffoli

Forward 5- Josh Anderson

Forward 6- Joel Armia

Forward 7- Jake Evans   

Defenseman 1- Ben Chiarot

Defenseman 2- Jeff Petry

Defenseman 3-Joel Edmundson

Goaltender 1- Jake Allen  

Notable UFAs- Tomas Tatar, Eric Staal, Jordan Weal, Corey Perry, Michael Frolik, Erik Gustafsson, Jon Merrill

Notable Exempt– Ryan Poehling, Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki, Alexander Romanov, Jesse Ylonen

Notable Exposed– Carey Price, Jonathan Drouin, Shea Weber, Paul Byron, Ben Chiarot, Brett Kulak, Cale Fleury, Jonathan Drouin  

Our Pick– Carey Price (10.5m)

Our Pick Explanation– When we discovered that Carey Price was left exposed so that the Montreal Canadiens could protect Carey Price, we were complete and utterly stunned. The goaltender that dragged this team to the Stanley Cup Finals is left for the expansion Kraken to immediately swoop up and reap the benefits. In our eyes, Price showed the entire league he is still a Top-5 goaltender alive today, even at thirty-three years old. We believe, that if the Kraken select Price, a playoff berth is virtually guaranteed, as the Pacific Division is arguably the weakest in the league. Superior goaltending out of Marc-Andre Fleury, who at the time everyone thought was finished, is what helped the expansion Vegas Golden Knights reach the Stanley Cup Finals in their first year of existence. Carey Price can do the same thing for the Seattle Kraken, as he just showed he could this season. He is from the area and would instantly be the team’s most marketable player upon arrival. What’s special about Carey Price is that we notice certain defensemen have registered absurdly higher AB numbers playing for teams with him on it then without him. A perfect example of this Joel Edmundson this season. Edmundson’s career high individual AB score was a +1.68 with the St. Louis Blues in 2016-17, and his career AB score was -1.36 before joining the Montreal Canadiens this season. In his first season with the team, he registered a whopping +11.03 individual score, turning his career average to a +0.71. Imagine if Price could have even a fraction of the impact, he clearly had on Edmundson on the players Seattle selects in this draft. Despite the $10.5 cap hit until 2026-27, we believe Price is entirely worth is, as Seattle would immediately leap to the top of the Pacific Division standings with the Vegas Golden Knights if this decision were made. We could easily see Carey Price in Seattle on Wednesday night wearing a Kraken jersey at the team launch event, as we fully expect him to be.  

Nashville Predators

Option: 8 skaters, 1 goaltender

Skater 1- Filip Forsberg

Skater 2- Luke Kunin

Skater 3- Tanner Jeannot  

Skater 4- Philippe Myers

Skater 5- Roman Josi (NMC)

Skater 6- Dante Fabbro

Skater 7- Mattias Ekholm

Skater 8- Alexandre Carrier

Goaltender 1- Juuse Saros

Notable UFAs- Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula, Brad Richardson, Erik Gudbranson

Notable Exempt– Eeli Tolvanen, Philip Tomasino, Cody Glass

Notable Exposed– Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen, Rocco Grimaldi, Nick Cousins, Colton Sissons

Our Pick– Ryan Johansen (8m)

Our Pick Explanation– We had floated the idea of the Predators protecting five defenseman for a while now, and although we didn’t officially predict this in our last expansion article, we are not surprised by GM David Poile’s decision here. Although we expected Ryan Ellis to be with the Predators during this process, his trade freed up a significant amount of cap space for Predators management, an amount that could get bigger after this expansion draft selection. This is where we still believe our first significant trade will occur, as we think this is David Poile’s opportunity to move one of Ryan Johansen or Matt Duchene’s 8 million dollar cap hit to create much needed space. To do this, we believe Nashville will need to give up their 2021 1st round pick (18th overall) as well as a talented prospect such as Philip Tomasino, or even recently acquired Cody Glass for the Kraken to accept. We believe the Kraken would have more interest in Ryan Johansen then Matt Duchene due to the fact that Johansen is younger than Duchene with less term remaining on his deal. Johansen scored seven goals and registered fifteen assists for twenty-two points on a Predators team that barely snuck into the playoffs this season only to be eliminated by the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round. Johansen would enter the Kraken organization as one of the faces of the franchise and would almost certainly be their best Center on day one. Along with Johansen, the assets acquired with him could be significant pieces for the expansion team moving forward, making us believe it would be worth GM Ron Francis’ time to consider this option.

New Jersey Devils

Option: 7 forwards, 3 defenseman, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Nico Hischier

Forward 2- Yegor Sharangovich

Forward 3- Miles Wood

Forward 4- Jesper Bratt

Forward 5- Pavel Zacha

Forward 6- Michael McLeod  

Forward 7- Janne Kuokkanen

Defenseman 1- Ryan Graves

Defenseman 2- Damon Severson

Defenseman 3- Jonas Siegenthaler

Goaltender 1- Mackenzie Blackwood

Notable UFAs- Ryan Murray, Connor Carrick, Aaron Dell

Notable Exempt– Jack Hughes, Jesper Boqvist, Dawson Mercer, Alexander Holtz, Nolan Foote, Ty Smith, Kevin Bahl

Notable Exposed– P.K. Subban, Nick Merkley, Andreas Johnsson, Nathan Bastian, Will Butcher

Our Pick– Andreas Johnsson (3.4m)

Our Pick Explanation– This was the protection list we compiled after the Ryan Graves trade in that article. With the addition of Graves, the need to protect P.K. Subban for Devils management disappeared. While we believe Subban could be an intriguing option for Kraken management, as he would be a very good player from a marketability and advertising standpoint, the nine million dollar cap hit is just too much to take on, even for just one season. As we wrote in our last expansion article, we believe Andreas Johnsson should be the pick for Seattle, as he had the 2nd best AB score on the Devils this season with a +0.2, behind only Jesper Bratt’s +2.45. Career wise, Johnsson has registered positive AB scores in each of his three NHL seasons, including an impressive +5.87 score in his rookie season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. This could be another scenario where the Kraken can earn a draft pick or a prospect in exchange for taking on Johnsson’s remaining salary, as the Devils are rumored to have interest in all of the top available defenseman this offseason such as Seth Jones and Dougie Hamilton. Freeing up $3.25 million in cap space, especially after Johnsson’s disappointing season production wise makes sense for GM Tom Fitzgerald and his group and gifting the Kraken a third round pick to make it happen shouldn’t be something they rule out.  

New York Islanders

Option: 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Matthew Barzal

Forward 2- Anders Lee

Forward 3- Brock Nelson

Forward 4- Cal Clutterbuck

Forward 5- Jean-Gabriel Pageau

Forward 6- Matt Martin

Forward 7- Anthony Beauvillier 

Defenseman 1- Ryan Pulock

Defenseman 2- Adam Pelech

Defenseman 3- Scott Mayfield

Goaltender 1- Semyon Varlamov

Notable UFAs- Kyle Palmieri, Travis Zajac, Casey Cizikas, Josh Ho-Sang 

Notable Exempt– Oliver Wahlstrom, Noah Dobson, Ilya Sorokin

Notable Exposed– Josh Bailey, Jordan Eberle, Kieffer Bellows, Leo Komarov

Our Pick– Kieffer Bellows (RFA)

Our Pick Explanation– Despite the surprise protections of Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck, Kieffer Bellows is still our pick over Josh Bailey and Jordan Eberle. As we wrote in our last expansion article, Bellows is one of the few significant players that aren’t eligible for the NHL’s two seasons of professional experience exposure rule despite him only playing this season in the NHL. Bellows played enough games in the AHL since he was drafted to allow him to be exposed, and quite likely, Seattle’s pick. On a New York Islanders team that was one win away from the Stanley Cup Finals this season, Bellows registered a +2.37 AB score which was the 10th best on the Islanders roster. The former 1st round pick played in fourteen games this season scoring three goals for his only three points. If given the opportunity, we believe Bellows could provide some depth scoring for the Kraken next season, as he recently had thirty-one points in fifty-five games, including twenty-two goals for Bridgeport of the AHL in 2019-20. We don’t see a possibility where the Islanders do not protect the seven forwards we listed, leaving Bellows to be the odd man out. At only twenty-three years old, we believe there is still great potential for him to be an NHL regular, and that this is a no-brainer for the Kraken management group to take a gamble on him.

New York Rangers

Forward 1- Artemi Panarin (NMC)

Forward 2- Mika Zibanejad (NMC)

Forward 3- Chris Kreider (NMC)

Forward 4- Pavel Buchnevich

Forward 5- Filip Chytil

Forward 6- Ryan Strome

Forward 7- Kevin Rooney  

Defenseman 1- Jacob Trouba (NMC)

Defenseman 2- Ryan Lindgren

Defenseman 3- Libor Hajek

Goaltender 1- Alexandar Georgiev

Notable UFAs- Brendan Smith, Jack Johnson,

Notable Exempt– Alexis Lafrenière, Kaapo Kakko, Vitaly Kravtsov, Adam Fox, K’Andre Miller, Zac Jones, Nils Lundkvist, Braden Schneider, Igor Shesterkin

Notable Exposed– Julien Gauthier, Colin Blackwell, Anthony DeAngelo

Our Pick– Colin Blackwell (725k)

Our Pick Explanation– We are somewhat surprised by the Rangers decision to protect Kevin Rooney over Colin Blackwell, as we believe he had a solid first-year with the team. In forty-seven games with the Rangers, Blackwell scored twelve goals, and registered ten assists for twenty-two points, and a solid +1.83 individual AB score. This score was the 9th highest of any Rangers player, and 6th of any Rangers forward. He had an outstanding +5.24 individual score with the Nashville Predators during the 2019-20 season, and his career AB score of +3.53 is extremely impressive given he plays less than fifteen minutes per game. This could be a very good addition to Seattle’s forward group, and we definitely expect them to examine this option closely.

Ottawa Senators

Option: 7 forwards, 3 defensemen,1 goaltender

Forward 1- Austin Watson

Forward 2- Colin White

Forward 3- Connor Brown

Forward 4- Brady Tkachuk

Forward 5- Drake Batherson

Forward 6- Logan Brown

Forward 7- Nicholas Paul

Defenseman 1- Thomas Chabot

Defenseman 2- Nikita Zaitsev

Defenseman 3- Victor Mete

Goaltender 1- Filip Gustavsson

Notable UFAs- Derek Stepan, Artem Anisimov, Ryan Dzingel, 

Notable Exempt– Tim Stutzle, Josh Norris, Shane Pinto, Alex Formenton, Erik Brannstrom, Jacob Bernard-Docker, Artem Zub, Ridly Greig

Notable Exposed– Evgenii Dadonov, Matt Murray, Chris Tierney, Josh Brown, Vitaly Abramov, Joey Daccord

Our Pick– Joey Daccord (750k)

Our Pick Explanation– As we wrote in our last expansion article, Ottawa is another team leaving Seattle very few quality options to take advantage of in this draft. Dadonov could easily be the selection if Seattle is willing to take on his cap hit. However, we couldn’t squeeze him into our new projected team. This is where Seattle’s third of four goaltenders come in. The Senators have a top-10 pick in the 2021 NHL draft, and with two very talented goaltending prospects available there, makes this loss a bit less significant. Perhaps they try and tempt Seattle to take Matt Murray contract off their hands for a pick or prospect, but we find this very unlikely due to the high availability of goaltenders in this expansion draft. However, Daccord would be a solid third or fourth string option for the Kraken, as he is still twenty-four years old, with a few games of NHL experience under his belt.

Philadelphia Flyers

Option: 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Claude Giroux (NMC)

Forward 2- Kevin Hayes (NMC)

Forward 3- Oskar Lindblom

Forward 4- Travis Konecny

Forward 5- Sean Couturier

Forward 6- Scott Laughton

Forward 7- Nicholas Aube-Kubel

Defenseman 1- Ivan Provorov

Defenseman 2- Ryan Ellis  

Defenseman 3- Travis Sanheim

Goaltender 1- Carter Hart

Notable UFAs- Brian Elliot, Samuel Morin

Notable Exempt– Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost, Cam York,

Notable Exposed– Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk, Shayne Gostisbehere, Justin Braun, Robert Hagg,

Our Pick– Jakub Voracek (8.25m)

Our Pick Explanation– We did not get a protection list submitted after the Ryan Ellis trade from yesterday. However, we would’ve obviously protected Ellis, and replaced Aube-Kubel for Nolan Patrick. The JVR exposure was something we didn’t expect, however, we believe Voracek is still the pick here. As we wrote in our last article, this is the second of three major trades we project to see come expansion draft night, as the Flyers have stated they plan on leaving Jakub Voracek exposed in an attempt to clear salary and give him a change of scenery. Like the New Jersey Devils, the Flyers are also one of the teams interested in bolstering their defense group this offseason, Seth Jones in particular, and are going to need all the money they can get if they plan on extending Jones immediately upon the trade. Philadelphia has the 13th overall pick in the 2021 NHL draft, and we would see that most likely going to the Kraken in this deal, along with either Morgan Frost, Cam York, Joel Farabee, or other draft picks in order to take all of Voracek’s remaining salary. Voracek has usually been a positive AB player throughout his career, as he has a +0.27 career AB score in thirteen years of data. However, his last four seasons have been on a weird pattern of highly positive, then very negative, back to positive, then back to negative (+4.77, -8.18, +7.56, -4.01). He had a solid point production season this year, as he scored nine goals, and registered thirty-four assists in fifty-three games for the Flyers, as well as the -4.01 individual season AB score we already mentioned. Voracek would instantly become Seattle’s most dynamic winger and could be a potential linemate of Ryan Johansen’s on the Kraken’s first line. It would certainly be fun to watch, and Voracek’s contract expires at the conclusion of the 2023-24 season, making him thirty-four years old. This would be Seattle’s third 1st round pick in the 2021 NHL draft, and they would appear to be doing something similar to the Golden Knights’ expansion strategy, as the Knights also had three first rounders to start their franchise off with through expansion draft deals. The difference between them would be that Seattle is acquiring impact players that can help them right away, as opposed to Vegas just collecting cap dumps for players that never suited up for them, such as David Clarkson and Mikhail Grabovski. It will surely be something interesting to monitor, and we should get more news of these events closer to the actual expansion draft date of July 21st,2021.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Option: 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Sidney Crosby (NMC)

Forward 2- Evgeni Malkin (NMC)

Forward 3- Jake Guentzel

Forward 4- Bryan Rust

Forward 5- Jeff Carter  

Forward 6- Teddy Blueger  

Forward 7- Kasperi Kapanen

Defenseman 1- Kris Letang

Defenseman 2- Michael Matheson

Defenseman 3- Brian Dumoulin  

Goaltender 1- Tristan Jarry

Notable UFAs- Colton Sceviour, Cody Ceci, Juuso Riikola

Notable Exempt– John Marino, Pierre-Olivier Joseph

Notable Exposed– Jason Zucker, Marcus Pettersson, Brandon Tanev

Our Pick- Brandon Tanev (3.5m)

Our Pick Explanation– Our original pick of Jared McCann was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Fillip Hallander and a 7th round pick. Despite this, Pittsburgh left some intriguing options for the Kraken to choose from in Zucker, Pettersson, and Tanev. While we can make a case for any of the three to be selected by the Kraken in Wednesday’s expansion draft, we believe that Tanev should be the selection. Brandon Tanev is one of the most underrated, high-quality AB players in the history of our metric, and we are shocked the Penguins decided to protect Jeff Carter over him. Despite the fact he makes $3.5 million until the conclusion of the 2025-26 season, we believe he would be a terrific addition to the Kraken’s bottom-six forward group. Tanev has only registered one individually negative AB season in 2016-17 with the Winnipeg Jets at -0.16. Since then, he has registered more scores above +6 than scores below +6 (+11.30, +8.17, +1.11, +6.96 in each year following 16-17). Tanev had the 5th highest score of any Penguins player this season, and the 2nd highest of any Penguins forward, trailing only Kasperi Kapanen’s +8.47. Production wise, Tanev scored seven goals and registered nine assists for sixteen points in thirty-two games this season, while averaging about 14:30 minutes per game. Again, while we could easily see the Kraken opting to select one of Zucker or Pettersson, we believe that Tanev is by far the best choice available, and that the Kraken would be getting a very talented player with this selection.

San Jose Sharks

Option: 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Logan Couture

Forward 2- Timo Meier

Forward 3- Tomas Hertl

Forward 4- Kevin Labanc

Forward 5- Evander Kane

Forward 6- Jonathan Dahlen

Forward 7- Rudolfs Balcers

Defenseman 1- Erik Karlsson (NMC)

Defenseman 2- Marc-Edouard Vlasic (NMC)

Defenseman 3- Brent Burns

Goaltender 1- Adin Hill

Notable UFAs- Marcus Sorensen, Patrick Marleau, Kurtis Gabriel, Greg Pateryn

Notable Exempt– Ryan Merkley, Alexander Barabanov, Noah Gregor, Joel Kellman

Notable Exposed– Ryan Donato, Matt Nieto, Radim Simek, Martin Jones

Our Pick– Ryan Donato (RFA)

Our Pick Explanation– We were unable to post an article about the Adin Hill trade, but we would obviously protect him over Martin Jones. Protecting Evander Kane and Jonathan Dahlen were unexpected to us, and the pick from San Jose from Seattle just became much easier. In fifty games with the San Jose Sharks this season, Donato scored six goals and registered fourteen assists for twenty points, earning a -2.59 AB score in the process. That score was actually the fifth highest score on the Sharks this season, as they finished with an abysmal -128.56 combined score. Donato had a great season with the Minnesota Wild in 2019-20, as he registered a +4.94 AB score. His career AB score is -0.68, and we believe he could have a similar impact with the Kraken that he had with Minnesota in 19-20 with a bigger role and some ice time. The Sharks didn’t give the Kraken very many options, but we could see them selecting Matt Nieto as we wrote in our last expansion article.

St. Louis Blues

Option: 7 forwards, 3 skaters, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Ryan O’Reilly

Forward 2- Brayden Schenn

Forward 3- David Perron

Forward 4- Oskar Sundqvist

Forward 5- Ivan Barbashev

Forward 6- Robert Thomas

Forward 7- Jordan Kyrou

Defenseman 1- Torey Krug

Defenseman 2- Justin Faulk

Defenseman 3- Colton Parayko

Goaltender 1- Jordan Binnington

Notable UFAs- Jaden Schwartz, Tyler Bozak, Mike Hoffman

Notable Exempt– Dakota Joshua, Klim Kostin, Jake Neighbours

Notable Exposed– Vladimir Tarasenko, Zach Sanford, Marco Scandella, Vince Dunn, Sammy Blais

Our Pick– Vladimir Tarasenko (7.5m)

Our Pick Explanation– This is the third and most significant trade of our projection article. Vladimir Tarasenko recently requested a trade out of St. Louis, and we believe Seattle is a perfect place for him to attempt his comeback from injuries to return to the elite player we all know and love. He has been one of the best players in the league in all facets, including AB throughout his time in the NHL, as he has a +6.79 career AB score over a nine year period, including two seasons where he registered +15 or higher individual scores. This season however, he registered his first negative season of his career as a result of his injuries, yet still managed to record 14 points in 24 games with the Blues. This is another example of a team desperately needing money to sign their high profile restricted free agents such as Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas, so clearing Tarasenko’s $7.5 million in one trade is definitely something we expect GM Doug Armstrong to look into. There have been rumors that Tarasenko wanted to play for an Eastern Conference contender such as the New York Islanders, Boston Bruins, or Carolina Hurricanes, however, a trade to Seattle would be out of his control, and if Doug Armstrong were willing to part with St. Louis’ 16th overall pick in the 2021 NHL draft, they would probably get their cap relief. This trade would give Seattle their instant face of the franchise, as well as their first line winger to play with either Johansen or McCann in our projection, in addition to their 4th first round pick. This trade is the one we hope to see happen the most, as we feel it would be a great storyline to monitor until the end of Tarasenko’s contract. In some ways, he could be Seattle’s version of James Neal, as a healthy Tarasenko is a shoo-in for 25-30 goals and 60-70 points without question.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Option: 8 skaters, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Nikita Kucherov (NMC)

Forward 2- Steven Stamkos (NMC)

Forward 3- Brayden Point

Forward 4- Ondrej Palat

Forward 5- Anthony Cirelli

Forward 6- Yanni Gourde

Forward 7- Mathieu Joseph

Defenseman 1- Victor Hedman

Defenseman 2- Mikhail Sergachev

Defenseman 3- Ryan McDonagh

Goaltender 1- Andrei Vasilevskiy

Extra Protected: Erik Cernak

Notable UFAs- Blake Coleman, Barclay Goodrow, David Savard, Luke Schenn

Notable Exempt– NONE

Notable Exposed– Ondrej Palat, Yanni Gourde, Mathieu Joseph, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Patrick Maroon, Mitchell Stephens, Ross Colton, Erik Cernak, Jan Rutta, Cal Foote

Our Pick– Cal Foote (RFA)

Our Pick Explanation- We thought Tampa Bay would go for the 7-3-1 option, and we were wrong about Palat, Gourde, and Joseph being protected. In our overall calculation of accuracy, we counted Tampa Bay as 5/9 possible protections, as we docked ourselves four points for wrongly protecting Gourde, Palat, and Joseph, and not protecting Cernak. With that being said, the Kraken have a variety of options for their selection here, and we believe they will bypass the elite forward talent in favor of promising young defenseman Cal Foote. The 14th overall pick in the 2017 NHL draft had a solid rookie season for the back-to-back champion Lightning with a goal and two assists for three points in thirty-five games. This earned him a +2.05 AB score, which is his Career AB as well given that he has only played one season. Multiple NHL executives share our belief that Foote could have been a Top-4 defenseman on many NHL teams, and could have easily stepped in for Erik Cernak had he been the Kraken’s selection. Foote has tremendous upside, and we believe this pick will be easier to make then one of the hefty contracts available. There could be a side deal involved here as well, as Tampa Bay needs to clear eighteen million dollars in cap space prior to the start of next season, as they are not currently cap compliant. This is one of the most interesting selections in the draft, and we will be paying significant attention to this pick until Wednesday night.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Option: 8 skaters, 1 goaltender

Skater 1- Auston Matthews

Skater 2- Mitch Marner

Skater 3- William Nylander

Skater 4- John Tavares (NMC)

Skater 5- Morgan Reilly

Skater 6- Jake Muzzin

Skater 7- T.J. Brodie

Skater 8- Justin Holl

Goaltender 1- Jack Campbell

Notable UFAs- Zach Hyman, Riley Nash, Nick Foligno, Alex Galchenyuk, Joe Thornton, Zach Bogosian, Ben Hutton, Frederik Andersen, David Rittich

Notable Exempt– Ilya Mikheyev, Nick Robertson, Rodion Amirov, Rasmus Sandin, Timothy Liljegren

Notable Exposed– Jared McCann, Alex Kerfoot, Pierre Engvall, Travis Dermott, Wayne Simmonds, Adam Brooks, Jason Spezza

Our Pick– Jared McCann (2.94m)

Our Pick Explanation– Despite the fact Toronto traded Fillip Hallander and a 7th round pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Jared McCann before the trade freeze yesterday, the Leafs still opted for the eight skater, one goalie option, leaving McCann exposed. Unless there is a side deal involved, we believe Seattle selects McCann, as we said in our other article. It was rumored that Ron Francis wanted a 1st and a 3rd round pick from teams in order to stay away from certain players in the expansion draft. If McCann was on Seattle’s radar anyway, perhaps Kyle Dubas paid the price of Hallander and a 7th in order to ensure the Kraken select him as opposed to a player off his 2020-21 roster. With all this being said, Jared McCann has the opportunity to be Seattle’s version of William Karlsson in our opinion. Like Karlsson, McCann also had an insanely high individual season AB score heading into the expansion draft, as he registered an outstanding +11.74 score in 2020-21, to Karlsson’s +6.64 in 2016-17. Jared McCann also had the highest AB score on the Pittsburgh Penguins team this season with the +11.74, and even contributed 14 goals and 18 assists for 32 points in 43 games. McCann would’ve been a nice add for the Maple Leafs’ 2021-22 team, and he still very well could play for them. It’ll be something to watch for sure.

Vancouver Canucks

Option: 7 skater, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender  

Forward 1- Elias Pettersson

Forward 2- Brock Boeser

Forward 3- J.T. Miller

Forward 4- Tanner Pearson

Forward 5- Tyler Motte

Forward 6- Bo Horvat

Forward 7- Jason Dickinson

Defenseman 1- Tyler Myers

Defenseman 2- Olli Juolevi

Defenseman 3- Nate Schmidt

Goaltender 1- Thatcher Demko

Notable UFAs- Brandon Sutter, Sven Baertschi, Jimmy Vesey, Alex Edler, Travis Hamonic

Notable Exempt– Quinn Hughes, Nils Hoglander, Vasily Podkolzin, Jett Woo, Michael DiPietro

Notable Exposed– Louie Eriksson, Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel, Zack MacEwen, Matthew Highmore, Madison Bowey, Braden Holtby, Kole Lind, Jake Virtanen

Our Pick– Kole Lind (RFA)

Our Pick Explanation– We were unable to post an article about the Jason Dickinson trade, but we would obviously have protected him. Exposing Jake Virtanen was something we didn’t see coming however, despite the fact he probably won’t be claimed by Seattle due to his pending legal issues. With that being said, Vancouver’s 2nd round selection in the 2017 NHL draft, Kole Lind, is another player we believe has extremely high upside at a low cost. In one-hundred-twenty-six games with the Utica Comets of the AHL, Lind scored twenty-two goals, and registered forty-six assists for seventy points. We don’t have any AB data available for Lind, as he has yet to play enough games in the NHL. In our opinion, he is the most intriguing option available of Vancouver’s exposed list of primarily bad contracts. There could be a side deal for Seattle to take one of these bad deals, but we will have to see on Wednesday night whether anything comes to fruition on that front.

Washington Capitals

Option: 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Daniel Sprong

Forward 2- Nicklas Backstrom (NMC)

Forward 3- Evgeny Kuznetsov

Forward 4- T.J. Oshie

Forward 5- Anthony Mantha

Forward 6- Tom Wilson

Forward 7- Lars Eller

Defenseman 1- John Carlson

Defenseman 2- Dmitry Orlov

Defenseman 3- Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender 1- Ilya Samsonov

Notable UFAs- Alexander Ovechkin,Michael Raffl, Zdeno Chara, Craig Anderson

Notable Exempt– Connor McMichael, Alexander Alexeyev

Notable Exposed– Carl Hagelin, Garnet Hathaway, Nic Dowd, Conor Sheary, Justin Schultz, Brenden Dillon, Nick Jensen, Michal Kempny, Vitek Vanecek

Our Pick– Vitek Vanecek (715k)

Our Pick Explanation– Despite the exposure of Justin Schultz, we believe the Kraken still select Vanecek here. However, with Carey Price being exposed, we don’t believe Vanecek will be the starter we thought he’d be in our last article. Seattle gets their backup goaltender with this pick, and in our opinion, one of the best goaltenders available in expansion. In 37 games as the Capitals starter this season, Vanecek posted a 21-10-4 record with 2 shutouts and a .908 save percentage, leading the Capitals to a playoff berth where they were eliminated by the Boston Bruins in the first round. He is a restricted free agent, and at twenty-five years old, has a chance to be a quality starter for the Kraken from day one. This choice also allows Seattle to reach the minimum number of goaltenders selected (3) in the expansion draft. We could see Washington protecting Vanecek and exposing Ilya Samsonov, and in that case, Samsonov would be the pick. Like Ottawa, we believe the selection from Washington will definitely be a goalie barring a pre-expansion draft trade, but we will continue to monitor the Kraken’s interest in a defenseman like Brenden Dillon perhaps.

Winnipeg Jets

Option: 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, 1 goaltender

Forward 1- Blake Wheeler (NMC)

Forward 2- Mark Scheifele

Forward 3- Pierre-Luc Dubois

Forward 4- Kyle Connor

Forward 5- Nikolaj Ehlers

Forward 6- Adam Lowry

Forward 7- Andrew Copp  

Defenseman 1- Josh Morrissey

Defenseman 2- Neal Pionk

Defenseman 3- Logan Stanley

Goaltender 1- Connor Hellebuyck

Notable UFAs- Paul Stastny, Mathieu Perreault, Nate Thompson, Trevor Lewis, Jordie Benn, Derek Forbort

Notable Exempt– Cole Perfetti, Kristian Vesalainen, Ville Heinola

Notable Exposed– Mason Appleton, Jansen Harkins, Dominic Toninato, Dylan DeMelo, Nathan Beaulieu 

Our Pick– Dylan DeMelo (3m)

Our Pick Explanation– Despite the fact the Jets exposed Mason Appleton, we still believe the Kraken will select Dylan DeMelo. As we wrote in our last article, DeMelo was acquired by the Jets at last year’s trade deadline in exchange for a 3rd round pick from the Ottawa Senators. This season with the Jets, DeMelo registered his first positive AB season since his rookie year in 2015-16 with a +1.34, a clear sign of improvement in our eyes. DeMelo would be someone the Jets would most likely protect under normal circumstances, however, with the emergence of recent first round pick Logan Stanley, it is logical to assume the Jets would choose to keep the younger, more upside Stanley over DeMelo. That being said, Seattle gets another solid, impact defenseman to build its inaugural team, to conclude the expansion draft.

Recap: The graphic below displayed our lists accuracy to the real submitted protection lists for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft. We gave ourselves a point for each list format (8 skater, 1 goalie or 7 forward, 3 defensemen, 1 goalie option) that we had correct, as well as the actual number of protected players we were right about as well. We had two perfect lists in Boston and Minnesota and missed only one player on ten teams for an 83% overall accuracy. As we mentioned earlier in the article, we thought Tampa Bay would go for the 7-3-1 option, and we were wrong about Palat, Gourde, and Joseph being protected. In our overall calculation of accuracy, we counted Tampa Bay as 5/9 possible protections, as we docked ourselves four points for wrongly protecting Gourde, Palat, and Joseph, and not protecting Cernak.

Below is the depth chart for our projected Seattle Kraken team post-protection list submission.

Centers

1C- Ryan Johansen NSH (-2.59 2020-21 AB) (-1.5 Career AB)

2C- Jared McCann TOR (+11.74 2020-21 AB) (+4.11 Career AB)

3C- J.T. Compher COL (+5.48 2020-21 AB) (-0.86 Career AB)

4C- Ryan Donato SJS (-2.59 2020-21 AB) (-0.67 Career AB)

Left Wingers

1LW- Jakub Voracek PHI (-4.01 2020-21 AB) (+0.27 Career AB)

2LW- Andreas Johnsson NJD (+0.20 2020-21 AB) (+2.39 Career AB)

3LW- Kieffer Bellows NYI (+2.37 2020-21 AB) (+2.37 Career AB)

4LW- Tanner Kero DAL (+0.64 2020-21 AB) (+3.95 Career AB)

Extra- Tyler Benson (0 2020-21 AB) (0 Career AB)

Right Wingers

1RW- Vladimir Tarasenko STL (-1.64 2020-21 AB) (+6.79 Career AB)

2RW- Brandon Tanev PIT (+6.96 2020-21 AB) (+5.47 Career AB)

3RW- Tyler Pitlick ARI (-1.21 2020-21 AB) (+1.83 Career AB)

4RW- Kevin Stenlund CBJ (-1.36 2020-21 AB) (+0.44 Career AB)

Extra- Kole Lind VAN (0 2020-21 AB) (0 Career AB)

Defense Pairing 1

LD- Mark Giordano (+2.09 2020-21 AB) (+1.73 Career AB)

RD- Dylan DeMelo (+1.34 2020-21 AB) (-1.12 Career AB)

Defense Pairing 2

LD- Carson Soucy MIN (+6.96 2020-21 AB) (+7.62 Career AB)

RD- Radko Gudas (+2.62 2020-21 AB) (-1.54 Career AB)

Defense Pairing 3

LD- Olli Maatta LAK (-4.01 2020-21 AB) (+2.41 Career AB)

RD- Cal Foote TBL (+2.05 2020-21 AB) (+2.04 Career AB)

Defense Pairing 4

LD-  Jake Bean CAR (-1.52 2020-21 AB) (-1.52 Career AB)

RD- Haydn Fleury ANA  (-7.11 2020-21 AB) (-1.91 Career AB)

Extra

Will Borgen BUF (-6.20 2020-21 AB) (-6.20 Career AB)

Jakub Zboril BOS (-0.68 2020-21 AB) (-0.68 Career AB)

Troy Stecher DET (-8.19 2020-21 AB) (-1.81 Career AB)

Goaltender 1- Carey Price MTL

Goaltender 2- Vitek Vanecek WSH

Goaltender 3- Malcom Subban CHI

Goaltender 4- Joey Daccord OTT

Team AB 2020-21= +3.16 (3rd in Pacific Division)

Projected Team AB 2021-22 (Career AB)= +27.12 (2nd in Pacific Division)

We still project the Kraken to have 2-3 additional first round picks in Friday’s 2021 NHL draft through trades, in addition to all of their own selections. Keep in mind these are the selections we would make if we were Kraken management, not what we believe they are actually going to do. We hope you have enjoyed this article, as well as our other expansion draft related material, as we are planning to write another massive piece on Seattle’s real selections after the draft on Wednesday, and specific features on certain players if they are chosen. Thank you for reading. Much more to come.  

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