2021 NHL Expansion Draft: Who could be selected to the Seattle Kraken?


NBC Sports 16 July, 2021 - 10:43am 11 views

When are NHL protected lists due?

On July 17, every participating NHL team must submit to the NHL by 5 p.m. ET, it's final list of protecting players. All remaining players who meet Expansion Draft Eligibility rules are potential fair game for the Kraken to select. NHL.com2021 Expansion Draft: Rules and Strategies

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What can Kraken learn from Golden Knights’ expansion draft success?

Las Vegas Review-Journal 16 July, 2021 - 11:11am

The Seattle Kraken will select their team Wednesday in the NHL expansion draft from a pool of unprotected players. They can get the blueprint from the Golden Knights.

The Seattle Kraken will enter the expansion draft trying to follow in the footsteps of a Golden Knights team that won a division title, Western Conference championship and four NHL awards in its inaugural season.

The limited protection lists led many teams to make trades in 2017. Those played a major role in the Knights’ early success, and general manager Kelly McCrimmon doesn’t expect teams to shy away from dealing with Seattle general manager Ron Francise because of that.

“I think that teams will evaluate it on a case-by-case basis,” McCrimmon said. “If they can be in a better position when it’s all said and done by cutting a deal with Seattle, that’s what they’ll do. The flip side is, if Seattle is in a better situation by simply taking a player, that’s what they’re going to do.”

The Kraken, like the Knights, are in a position to field a strong team. With that in mind, here are three things Seattle can learn from the Knights:

The Knights made a lot of good selections in the expansion draft.

But what turned a good night into a great one is the trades they made to acquire a war chest of draft picks and prospects.

The Knights made 10 deals with teams worried about which player they were going to lose. Many of those clubs ended up regretting those trades.

The Knights wound up with seven players and 13 draft picks along with their 30 selections. Three of those players — right wings Reilly Smith and Alex Tuch and defenseman Shea Theodore — have been part of the team’s core all four years.

Two of those draft picks became center Nick Suzuki and defenseman Erik Brannstrom, prospects who eventually were used in trades to acquire left wing Max Pacioretty and right wing Mark Stone.

The Knights took advantage of teams fretting about their rosters to squeeze every asset possible out of the expansion draft. Seattle, as the only club with a clean salary cap sheet right now, could do something similar with teams desperate to offload money in a flat-cap environment.

“The value of cap space when we came in versus the value of cap space today I don’t even think is comparable,” McCrimmon said. “Seattle has a big hammer to swing there.”

One of the Knights’ philosophies seemed to be when in doubt, take a defenseman.

They left with 13 despite needing to take only nine. They selected 14 forwards, the minimum number.

Ultimately, the team’s approach was simply smart asset management. The 7-3-1 protection system that 23 of the 30 teams chose allowed them, in theory, to protect their top six forwards but expose one of their best four defensemen. The Knights went where the value was and wound up with a strong blue line plus good extra players.

Five of the six defensemen they used in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final were picked in the expansion draft. The only one who wasn’t was Theodore.

The Knights also flipped four of the additional defensemen they chose in trades and received five draft picks and two players.

Seattle would be wise to do something similar and build a strong back end. It paid off for the Knights immediately.

“It’s special,” Tuch said. “I guess we’ve been the most successful expansion team in North American sports, people are saying.”

It’s hard to put into words the impact the Knights’ selection from the Pittsburgh Penguins had on the franchise.

Marc-Andre Fleury became the team’s face. Its heart. Its soul. His incredible play in the inaugural season gave the Knights belief they could win every night even if they were a bunch of misfits.

“Obviously, it was tough leaving Pittsburgh,” Fleury said. “Didn’t know what to expect too much about Vegas, and I was worried about not winning too much coming to an expansion team. It’s been such full of surprises, just from how much the fans are behind us and make the games so fun to play in and the success our team’s had since day one.”

There might not be an obvious Hall of Famer waiting to be plucked by Seattle, but the Kraken should still take the hint that finding the right goalie will make starting off on the right foot much easier.

If Seattle wants experience, possible exposed goalies could include Braden Holtby, who won a Stanley Cup with Washington and now plays for Vancouver, and Montreal’s Jake Allen. There should be younger netminders available, too, such as former Knight Malcolm Subban, Washington’s Vitek Vanecek and pending unrestricted free agent Chris Driedger, who played for Florida last season.

There are a lot of interesting choices for the Kraken to explore. Which direction they go will determine the early fate of the franchise.

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

— Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, C, Philadelphia Flyers

— Jean-Francois Berube, G, New York Islanders

— Connor Brickley, C, Carolina Hurricanes

— William Carrier, LW, Buffalo Sabres

— Cody Eakin, C, Dallas Stars

— Alexei Emelin, D, Montreal Canadiens

— Deryk Engelland, D, Calgary Flames

— Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Pittsburgh Penguins

— Jason Garrison, D, Tampa Bay Lightning

— Erik Haula, C, Minnesota Wild

— William Karlsson, C, Columbus Blue Jackets

— Brendan Leipsic, LW, Toronto Maple Leafs

— Oscar Lindberg, C, New York Rangers

— Jonathan Marchessault, LW, Florida Panthers

— Brayden McNabb, D, Los Angeles Kings

— Jon Merrill, D, New Jersey Devils

— Marc Methot, D, Ottawa Senators

— Colin Miller, D, Boston Bruins

— James Neal, LW, Nashville Predators

— Tomas Nosek, C, Detroit Red Wings

— David Perron, RW, St. Louis Blues

— Calvin Pickard, G, Colorado Avalanche

— Teemu Pulkkinen, LW, Arizona Coyotes

— Griffin Reinhart, D, Edmonton Oilers

— Luca Sbisa, D, Vancouver Canucks

— David Schlemko, D, San Jose Sharks

— Nate Schmidt, D, Washington Capitals

— Clayton Stoner, D, Anaheim Ducks

— Chris Thorburn, RW, Winnipeg Jets

— Trevor van Riemsdyk, D, Chicago Blackhawks

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