With the Seattle Kraken's expansion draft looming this Wednesday, July 22 at 8pm ET, everyone in the hockey world will be closely watching to see which direction GM Ron Francis and company will take the NHL's newest franchise.
And oh, there are plenty directions they can go.
The exposure of Montreal Canadiens' franchise goalie and team stalwart Carey Price has been the burning topic of discussion as there have been several debates as to whether taking on the 33 year old netminder and his 10.5MM cap hit for the next 5 seasons makes sense for a franchise starting from scratch.
- 30 Players
- Minimum 14 Forwards
- Minimum 9 Defensemen
- Minimum 3 Goalies
- Minimum 20 valid 2021-22 contracts
- Minimum Cap Hit 48.9MM
- Maximum Cap Hit 81.5MM
Alexander Volkov (F) — The start of a common trend. Volkov is set to make $925,000 in 2021-22 and can allow the Kraken to make some bolder moves.
Christian Fischer (F) — Starting with some real bangers eh!? There's nothing sexy here. So go cheap with upside. Fischer did pot 15 in 79 GP in 2017-18. That's something I guess.
Connor Clifton (D) — Love the player. Love the age. Love the position. Has also learned from many studs who came before him.
William Borgen (D) — I considered Jeff Skinner here. No I didn't. Lighten up, this is supposed to be fun. Borgen is another cheap, upside play. Moving along.
Mark Giordano (D) — Big dollars ($6.75MM next season). But it's for one year. It's a great investment for a new franchise to bring in a Norris trophy winner who, in the worst scenario, is a dressing room mentor. But this could easily be a great flippable deadline asset for a team looking to stockpile assets. My bet to be the franchise's first captain.
Jake Bean (D) — A player GM Ron Francis should be highly familiar with as he selected him 13th overall in 2016. The Carolina defense has been crammed for many years and this could be a chance for Bean to shine.
Nikita Zadorov (D) — The big Z. He needs a contract but could instantly become a crowd favourite with his 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame and tenacious game. He's a bully.
Joonas Donskoi (F) — I'll stomach the Landeskog argument if the Kraken actually think they could sign him. I personally don't think that's happening. So take a guy with some offense.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Max Domi (F) — I don't love the contract and perhaps not even the player. But there's intriguing upside with Domi and he's shown elite playmaking ability. It's feasible the Kraken will take a shot here on Domi if they believe yet another change of scenery (his 4th team) will tap into his potential.
Jamie Oleksiak (D) — One of two UFAs I selected. There wasn't a ton to pick from in Dallas so this could be a play by Seattle to lure in a solid top-4 D who's been playing out of his mind in Dallas the last couple of seasons.
Detroit Red Wings
Troy Stecher (D) — A depth guy from the West Coast (Richmond, BC) who's got one year left at 1.7MM. He's a nice player who won't tie the Kraken up financially.
Jujhar Khaira (F) — There were nights when Khaira seemed like the only noticeable player not named McDavid or Draisaitl for the Oilers. Granted that doesn't say a lot, but Khaira brings center ice depth and some jam.
Chris Driedger (G) — This one seems all but done as the Kraken seem to have agreed to a three-year deal with Driedger. It's a excellent start in net for the Kraken, but don't think this precludes them from taking another goalie (SPOILER ALERT!).
Los Angeles Kings
Austin Wagner (F) — Speed. That's all.
Kaapo Kähkönen (G) — Cheap contract. Huge upside. Goaltender depth is never a bad thing for any franchise. A bit of a head-scratcher that he was left exposed, but the Kraken will take the Finnish prospect.
Carey Price (G) — Let's go! I think Montreal overthought this one and might end losing their best player because they think Seattle doesn't have the stomach for the contract (10.5MM AAV over the next 5 seasons). Fun fact, Carey Price is the same age Marc-Andre Fleury was (33) when he was taken by the Vegas Golden Knights in their 2017 expansion draft. How did that work out? Different styles, yes, and it's been conveniently leaked that Price might need hip and knee surgery, but if I'm Seattle, I don't care. Get healthy, Carey. And in the meantime, we'll sell a boatload of jerseys and ignite a fanbase with a hall-of-famer.
Calle Järnkrok (F) — Part of me wanted Ryan Johansen here. But the production just hasn't justified the contract. Järnkrok tied for the team lead in goals last year, albeit with 13.
New Jersey Devils
Andreas Johnsson (F) — Speed kills. He's also familiar with head coach Dave Hakstol who knows Johnsson's skillset well. He's should get top 6 (top 3?) minutes and PP time. This could be big for Johnsson.
New York Islanders
Kieffer Bellows (F) — Oh how I wanted Jordan Eberle. And I supposed the Kraken brass will give him some consideration, but the smart play seems to be the high-upside Bellows.
New York Rangers
Colin Blackwell (F) — Cheap depth (the common theme) and showed some chem with Strome and Panarin. Not a ton of options in the Big Apple so Blackwell's the play.
Joey Daccord (G) — Anyone who watched Chris Tierney last season should know that the skating just isn't there anymore. So I just don't buy the concept that he's a flippable asset at the deadline. Daccord offers the organization goaltending depth with some legit upside.
Robert Hägg (D) — There will be some JVR buzz here, but I'm opting for a cheaper D option in the former 2nd rounder Hägg who brings some serious physicality to the blueline.
Zach Aston-Reese (F) — Another affordable, depth winger who could be part of a shutdown line. Won't set the fanbase into a frenzy, but a solid player.
San Jose Sharks
Dylan Gambrell (F) — He's born in Washington! It has to happen. Can play up the middle and has some thump.
St. Louis Blues
Vladimir Tarasenko (F) — This is a homerun for Seattle who will be in desperate need of star-power and offense. Tarasenko's that guy.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Yanni Gourde (F) — The contract is so-so and I highly considered Alex Killorn here, but bringing a two-way center with a couple of rings is a huge plus for the Kraken. They won't have the luxury of slotting him like the Lightning did, so it will be interesting to see how Gourde pans out in a situation where he's going to have to play higher in the lineup.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Pierre Engvall (F) — Lot's of Alex Kerfoot chatter here. But to me, Engvall is the play. An elite skater, cheap contract ($1.25MM in 2021-22), and proved he could play a 3rd line shutdown role for the Leafs last year.
Antoine Roussel (F) — Might be questionable to some, but I'll take some 4th line thump. Potentially a movable asset the deadline for a team looking for some sandpaper.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Golden Knights are exempt from the expansion draft thanks to a deal they struck with the league when they came into the NHL prior to the 2017-18 season.
George McPhee is a boss.
Brenden Dillon (D) — The contract is a bit chunky but you can't pass up a top 4 defenseman.
Dylan DeMelo (D) — See Dillon, Brenden. Different players but similar mindset from management. Building out a defense core is much more challenging than an offensive group. DeMelo will bring a lot to this group.
Projected Organizational Depth Chart
Johnsson (NJ) - Domi (CBJ) - Tarasenko (STL)
Järnkrok (NAS) - Gourde (TB) - Donskoi (COL)
Engvall (TOR) - Khaira (EDM) - Aston-Reese (PIT)
Roussel (VAN) - Gambrell (SJ) - Wagner (LA)
Fischer (ARI) - Blackwell (NYR) - Volkov (ANA)
Giordano (CGY) - DeMelo (WIN)
Dillon (WAS) - Zadorov (CHI)
Oleksiak (DAL) - Clifton (BOS)
Hägg (PHI) - Stetcher (DET)
Bean (CAR) - Borgen (BUF)
Projected Cap Hit: $66,324,999
The cap hit at seasons end based on the previous single day rosters and assuming the current roster remains the same until the end of the season.
Projected Cap Space: $15,175,001
The projected cap space value is the difference between the cap ceiling and the projected cap hit. If the projected cap hit is greater than the cap ceiling due to long-term injury relief, the projected cap space is $0.
Special thanks to CapFriendly for their Expansion Draft Simulator.
Make Some Noise!
What say you!?
Did we absolutely nail this expansion draft? Or is this just complete nonsense!?
Are you shaking an angry fist in the air yelling where's James van Riemsdyk!?
Let us know what you think in the comments.
Until next time...