AFC East training camp preview: Bills must protect Josh Allen; Cam Newton vs. Mac Jones

Sports 19 July, 2021 - 12:35pm 5 views

When does Seattle draft?

The Seattle Kraken are officially on the clock. On Sunday, the NHL released the available and protected lists for the 30 other teams ahead of the Kraken's expansion draft, which will take place July 21 (8 p.m. ET on ESPN2). USA TODAYNHL expansion draft: Protected lists ahead of Seattle Kraken's roster selection

Will the NHL expansion draft be televised?

When is the NHL Expansion Draft taking place? The draft will take place on July 21, 2021, at Gas Works Park in Seattle, and it will be televised in both the United States and Canada. Coverage will begin at 20:00 EDT on ESPN2 in the US, whilst Canadian viewers will need to tune into Sportsnet or SN NOW. MARCA.comThe 2021 NHL Expansion Draft: Date, time, TV channel and rules

Who is eligible for NHL expansion draft?

Players who meet the eligibility requirements — North American players 18-20 years old and European/international players 18-21 years old — will be selected by NHL teams in seven rounds. No-Movement Clause: A contract stipulation that means a player can't be traded or sent to the minors. Tacoma News TribuneWho’s going to play for the Seattle Kraken? Here’s how the NHL expansion draft works

When are protected lists due NHL?

The deadline for the NHL to approve and distribute the protection lists is 10 a.m. Sunday. Once that is done, Seattle's RFA/UFA interview period immediately begins for exposed players. WDIV ClickOnDetroitFollow updates: NHL teams announce Seattle expansion draft protection lists

Most important position battle: Guard. Buffalo shuffled its offensive line last spring after signing former Panthers tackle Daryl Williams as a one-year rental. The move pushed Cody Ford, now a third-year lineman, inside to right and left guard, where he started seven games before suffering a season-ending torn meniscus. Now Ford is back in the fold, likely to stay at LG. So Williams is at RT, this time on a multi-year deal, Jon Feliciano, who started nine games, is at RG and Ike Boettger, who logged seven starts, is also in the mix. Add to this group a former second-round pick -- and All-Pro lamp salesman -- Forrest Lamp and two mid-round tackle selections, and it's pretty crowded in the trenches. Protecting Josh Allen is no small task, and Buffalo did a fine job of it last year (ranking ninth in sacks allowed and 10th overall according to Pro Football Focus) despite the inconsistency in the middle of the line. But Ford and Feliciano could be at risk. Buffalo didn't focus on depth at guard this offseason for no reason.

Newcomer to know/key player returning from injury: Emmanuel Sanders, wide receiver. What was one of Buffalo's crippling weaknesses just two years ago is now a strength. The Bills boast a bounty of pass catchers for Allen, with Sanders, the most recent addition, becoming the immediate elder statesman. Where the 34-year-old fits in Buffalo's four-man receiver rotation will be worked out in August and throughout the season. A reliable chain-mover when on the field, Sanders will have to contend with fellow veteran slot man Cole Beasley and less-heralded sophomore Gabriel Davis for playing time. Buffalo has 33 receptions and 458 yards, vacated by the departed John Brown, to replace in 2021, and each receiver (even Beasley) will have his shot to stake a claim to those reps and targets. Sanders publicly fancied Buffalo a Super Bowl title contender this offseason when sizing up his options. His addition could prove his own prognostication correct.

Most important position battle: Running back. Odds are, most NFL fans can recall Miami's leading rusher in 2019 (Ryan Fitzpatrick) faster than they can name the Dolphins' top back in 2020 (Myles Gaskin). Who paces play in 2021 is anyone's guess, though Gaskin is slotted as Miami's main man in the backfield entering late July. The Dolphins poured resources into improving receiving and blocking talent around Tua Tagovailoa (SEE: Will Fuller, Jaylen Waddle, Liam Eichenberg) but added only former Rams runner Malcolm Brown to a backfield lacking in star power. If Gaskin (1,156 total yards over two years) truly has the starting back gig wrapped up before camp even begins, then the league's curiosity at the position will turn to who's backing him up (Brown? Salvon Ahmed? Patrick Laird?!). But on a Brian Flores-coached team, every position is up for grabs, especially the one that hasn't produced even a 750-yard rusher since Jay Ajayi in 2016.

Newcomer to know/key player returning from injury: Jaelan Phillips, pass rusher. In its second year under Flores, Miami's defense ranked among the top 10 units in sacks and sack percentage and 12th in quarterback pressure rate. It was a marked improvement from Flores' first campaign, when the Fins flopped in the pass-rush department. Key to continuing their sack-sess will be the addition of Phillips, Miami's first-round homegrown talent. The No. 18 overall pick should start right away for the Dolphins, across from their reigning sack leader, Emmanuel Ogbah. The outside 'backer will be responsible for picking up where Kyle Van Noy, Miami's expensive (and unexpected) one-year rental, left off. The then-ex-Pat recorded a six-sack and career-high 10-TFL season in 2020 before being unceremoniously released. Phillips should look to match that total off the bat before establishing himself, unlike Van Noy, as a Dolphins icon with Jason Taylor's longevity.

Most important position battle: Quarterback. Of the five first-round quarterbacks taken in this year's draft, Mac Jones is the third-least likely (and third-most likely) to start Week 1, edging out Chicago's Justin Fields just barely. That doesn't mean the Alabama rookie's performance and development in camp isn't worth monitoring daily and with great fervor. Cam Newton, a winning veteran who assimilated and ingratiated himself well in his first year in Foxborough, returns, after a flirt with free agency, as the likely starter; Bill Belichick gave that assurance the night Jones was drafted. With a full year of playing in Josh McDaniels' system under his babushka and returning from a COVID-ailed 2020 season, Newton said recently he sees this year as a "put up or shut up" campaign for himself. New England did all it could this offseason to bolster the QB's prospects by adding weapons (see below), and Newton should benefit from that right away in camp. But the veteran's salary -- around $5.1 million, sans playing time and achievement incentives -- is not so significant that his starter status is ensured. Our Mike Giardi reported this summer that Jones, a Nick Saban product, is earning raves from teammates, including Newton, talking up his preparedness and his ease with McDaniels' vision. Whether New England's decision-makers can see a September with the rookie under center is up to Cam and Mac, the Patriots' palindromic pair of potential passers.

Newcomer to know/key player returning from injury: All of the pass catchers. Excuse me for cheating the category here, but it's not often that there are so many notable new faces in New England, especially in a single facet of Bill Belichick's opaque operation. After years of struggling to develop and locate reliable pass catchers outside Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman, Belichick threw caution/cash to the wind/wideouts this summer. Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Marvin Hall, Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith bring with them 216 receptions, 2,926 receiving yards and 35 total touchdowns from last year alone to a WR/TE group that logged just five TD catches in 2020. N'Keal Harry, who contributed two of those scores along with 33 catches and 309 yards, doesn't figure to be a part of the reconfigured receiver room; the agent of the third-year former first-round WR requested a trade from New England at the beginning of the month. With Harry out of the picture, the Patriots will likely float an entirely fresh flock of pass catchers for Newton and Jones to try out. Who will stand out and impress coach and QB alike to warrant starting snaps in New England's new normal?

Most important position battle: Running back. The cursed Frank Gore-Le'Veon Bell tandem of yesteryear -- the latest failed attempt in New York to muster up an identity on the ground since the halcyon days of Chris Ivory -- is no more. New York has not boasted a 1,000-yard rusher since 2015, cycling through washed veterans and late-round picks looking for the right combo. The Jets might've found it this year with their newest additions: Tevin Coleman, rookie Michael Carter and, perhaps most importantly, offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. The latter brings with him the Shanahan ground game that took Coleman's 2016 Falcons and 2019 49ers to the Super Bowl. The system also doesn't rely on one star runner (ask Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr.). Jets fans expect a marked improvement, thanks to these arrivals -- the hype train for Carter left the station after minicamp -- but through which ball-carrier will the change come? Coleman has senior status, and Carter is the touted frosh, but La'Mical Perine and Ty Johnson were here first. Each could play a role on the 2021 Jets, but who gets top billing coming out of camp is a decision New Yorkers and fantasy owners will be monitoring.

Newcomer to know/key player returning from injury: Carl Lawson, pass rusher. New York's big-ticket item (no, not you, Mekhi Becton) this offseason came in the form of a nationally unheralded pass rusher from Cincinnati. The Jets guaranteed Lawson $30 million, signing him for three years to be their long-sought-after sack-master. Not since the Sons of Anarchy (Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Damon Harrison in 2015) has New York struck fear into any opposing offensive line, and not since John Abraham in 2005 have the Jets had a standalone game-wrecker on the edge. (Pay no attention to the Calvin Pace truthers.) Lawson promises to be that man. But he's not alone on a revitalized defensive line. He's joining rising star Quinnen Williams and arrives in New York alongside former first-rounder Sheldon Rankins and Vinny Curry. Led by Lawson, the Jets' pass-rush equivalent isn't quite equal in ferocity to Robert Saleh's 2019 49ers (featuring the firm of Armstead, Bosa, Buckner and Ford), but they're building quite a replica.

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Seattle Kraken Mock Draft: Will Carey Price land in the Pacific Northwest?

Yahoo Sports 19 July, 2021 - 01:32pm

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

Fortunately, not one group made out worse than the collection of competing general managers, who committed a series of mistakes that allowed the Golden Knights to emerge as a league power in less than a half decade.

This event is designed to make professionals and prognosticators look incredibly ill-prepared to complete the duties of the job.

With that in mind, here's what the Seattle Kraken could but definitely won't look like after Wednesday's Expansion Draft.

Carey Price, G, Montreal Canadiens 

I suppose the big question is: how much of what we're hearing is posturing? It seems more than a little coincidental that Montreal immediately floated the idea that its face-of-the-franchise netminder's health is a major issue — and that he may miss an extended period of time next season — after it was reported that the Kraken were legitimately contemplating the idea of selecting Price once the Canadiens rolled the dice by protecting veteran backup Jake Allen. Apparently Seattle will do a thorough investigation into Price's health, and if what it finds belies the Canadiens' claims, I see every reason for the Kraken to chase the asset. Yes, Price fails to meet the value on his $10.5 million contract through regular season performance alone. 

Also, consider this: Seattle GM Ron Francis's greatest failure in his time with the Carolina Hurricanes was landing a dominant goalie. It seems with Price he's had one delivered on a silver platter.

This one seems close to unanimous. As much as there is available to Seattle from the two-time defending champion Lightning, Gourde seems like the prized asset. At 29, Gourde might be a little more advanced in age than folks might expect, but his ability to anchor highly-influential utility lines in the last two postseason runs appears too enticing to pass up. Gourde carries more value than other options that include Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat and Washington-native Tyler Johnson; now will the Kraken slot him in their lineup or flip him for a team desperate for what Gourde can provide?

Mark Giordano, D, Calgary Flames 

I'm skeptical that Giordano still has the ability to be a dominant defenseman in the league, but a captain, recent Norris Trophy winner, and a healthy earner checks the boxes in terms of headlining selections. With little to choose from with Calgary, the best move here might be to choose and trade Giordano, though he does have no-movement protection. If not, he can eat up major minutes right away for a team that will be hard-pressed to find top-pairing defenders through the expansion process — at least immediately.

Max Domi, F, Columbus Blue Jackets 

You aren't building an expansion franchise around Domi. You do, however, need some players that can moonlight in positions higher into the lineup until you can acquire and develop the foundations in which the team will be built upon. Columbus has very little to offer, so a Domi reclamation project doesn't seem to be a terrible idea.

Chris Driedger, G, Florida Panthers 

James van Riemsdyk, F, Philadelphia Flyers 

After going back and forth between van Riemsdyk and Vladimir Tarasenko as options for a higher-earning selection which likely doesn't stick around too long but can assist in several ways, I ultimately sided with JVR. Turning down both may be the right call, but the rest of Philadelphia's options weren't intriguing, at least to the same extent as St. Louis's. JVR figures to be a real asset on the power play and could be a trade chip down the road.

Josh Bailey, F, New York Islanders 

There were intriguing futures assets exposed by Lou Lamoriello, but Bailey is too good of a player to pass up. He has solid, but unspectacular offensive totals, but is smart and structured enough to improve the functionality of any top-six unit. His exposure should present the Kraken with options.

Jared McCann, F, Toronto Maple Leafs The situation around McCann is fascinating. Toronto spent very little to acquire the very useful forward from the Penguins, but chose to leave him unprotected. On one hand, if all the Leafs lose in the expansion process is the price of McCann— a mid-level prospect and a seventh-round pick — it seems very palatable. And yet, they have opened themselves up to losing a player who could very well be a difference maker for them next season, while instead protecting a journeyman and asset whose performance falls off the table when not attached at Jake Muzzin's hip in Justin Holl. Seattle takes McCann, because it would be foolish not to, in turn infuriating Leafs fans, despite the team paying a very minimal expansion price all things considered.

J.T. Compher, F, Colorado Avalanche 

Compher seems like the sort of player who could survive the inevitable changes throughout Seattle's salad days, and be a solid, middle-six contributor for the expansion franchise for a very long time. It would be something if they could pair Compher with Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog in free agency.

Troy Stecher, D, Detroit Red Wings 

Stecher stands out from the mediocre offering from the rebuilding Red Wings as a player who will deliver on value, whether it's eating significant minutes in the inaugural season or being moved to a team looking for a capable and cost-effective right-shot defender.

Seattle could, without question, draft better high-end players; Ryan Johansen, Matt Duchene and Vladimir Tarasenko are each available. However, GM Ron Francis is adamant that financial flexibility is paramount. Assets which will eat away at that expansion luxury, while also being unlikely to live up to their price tags, seem off the table. This will be a balanced lineup until it can be a top heavy one.

Gourde and Bailey are the only long-term commitments up front, with three and four seasons left on their respective deals. It's possible that Domi, JVR, Tierney, Jarnkrok and Comeau could bring back assets quickly as unrestricted free agents after one or two seasons.

McCann, Gambrell (a Washington native), Fischer, Aston-Reese are established players on restricted free agent deals, and therefore legitimate pieces in place for future seasons. Blackwell is soon-to-be unrestricted, but fits in this category as well.

Bastian, Lind, and Grundstrom are a few of the reasonably intriguing prospects made available through the process, and therefore decent gambles with little to choose from with New Jersey, Vancouver, and L.A., respectively. 

Seattle has a chance to build up on a very valuable currency, which is NHL-ready defenders. It's possible that from the 11 selected, there are several who emerge as impact players for the long-term. Jake Bean and Haydn Fleury come to mind as recent Francis draft picks from their time in Carolina. Most of these players, however, are just as valuable as trade chips. Giordano, Dillon, DeMelo, Soucy, Clifton, Miller, Zadorov, and even Stecher appear to be options for Seattle or players that can be moved out to attract future foundational pieces. Francis should be able to build a solid defense corps and land other assets through the selection on the back end alone. 

Few goaltending duos are better on paper than one that includes Price and Driedger. Goaltending is the great equalizer, and Seattle's should keep the team competitive in Year 1.

Barclay Goodrow is about reap the rewards of his Stanley Cup triumphs with the Lightning.

"I am no longer scared to hide who I am," Prokop said in an announcement post.

Ron Francis is on the clock. The Seattle Kraken's general manager gets to pick 30 players in the expansion draft to build out the roster for the NHL's 32nd franchise. Francis has some big decisions to make on how many big-money stars and their sizeable contracts to take on, what risks to take on younger, less-proven players and which side deals are worth it to stockpile assets as the Vegas Golden Knights did at their expansion draft in 2017.

Carey Price would be an instant cornerstone for the NHL's newest franchise if the Seattle Kraken select the Montreal Canadiens goaltender in the expansion draft Wednesday night. Price's questionable injury status clouds the selection process. General manager Ron Francis, of course, may very well take Price, who is coming off a brilliant run to the Stanley Cup Final.

Yanni Gourde, Jared McCann, and other potential gems for Seattle.

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Owen Power and Matthew Beniers are the likely top two picks in Friday's draft.

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One of the league’s notable remaining free agents could be closer to finding a new team. Per NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, edge rusher Melvin Ingram is visiting with the Steelers on Monday. Ingram had spent the entirety of his nine-year career with the Chargers, but was not re-signed following the 2020 season. He played seven [more]

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The Golden Knights do not need to expose any players to the Kraken.

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