Every Kirill Kaprizov Goal From The 2020-21 NHL Season

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SPORTSNET 22 July, 2021 - 09:00am 7 views

What time is the Kraken expansion draft?

The Kraken expansion draft is set for 5 p.m. PT at Seattle's Gas Works Park, which sits at the north end of Lake Union in the middle of the city. The AthleticNHL Expansion Draft: Live mocks, picks, predictions, start time, leaks as Seattle Kraken add to their roster

Who did Seattle Kraken pick in the expansion draft?

11:45 a.m. — Seattle has perhaps found its first captain in 37-year-old Mark Giordano, plucked from new Pacific Dvision rival Flames. BREAKING - I can confirm that the Seattle Kraken have chosen Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano as their pick at the Expansion Draft, to be announced this evening. Sporting NewsSeattle Kraken draft results: Complete roster, list of picks from the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft

How the Wild’s loss of Carson Soucy affects their free-agent targets and depth chart

Read full article at SPORTSNET

UPDATE: Seattle ‘really likes’ Kaapo Kahkonen, except they actually don’t

Hockey Wilderness 22 July, 2021 - 02:02pm

The Kraken leaks are starting to happen and they might pencil in Kahkonen as one of their three netminders.

One name that was the talk of the town and hypothesized at length, was Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price and his sizeable contract, but that was just too much for the Kraken to handle and they might be averting their eyes a little more central.

According to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan, with Chris Driedger from the Florida Panthers already locked up to be their starter, the Wild’s very own Kaapo Kahkonen has caught the attention of the Seattle front office. A very moveable and flexible contract — Kahkonen is still able to be demoted without passing through waivers — the young goaltender is certainly an interesting option to go with.

If this is true, the Wild will add yet another thing to their very long to-do list this summer and will need to sign a backup.

Michael Russo is making me look like a fool.

Minutes after hitting publish on this bad boy of a quick blog, Russo explains that it’s actually not going to be Kahkonen going to Seattle.

Also, I don't get impression #mnwild made a deal with Seattle, so they weren't steered away from Kahkonen. https://t.co/9F1b6F3E6L

And then Frank Seravelli gets the confirmation — as he has been all morning long — that the three goaltenders are already selected and set up for the Kraken.

Sounds like the three goaltenders selected by #SeaKraken will be Chris Driedger (FLA), Vitek Vanecek (WSH) and Joey Daccord (OTT).@DFOHockey

I apologize for getting too quick on this news. Thank you for reading and supporting Hockey Wilderness.

Suter and Parise buyouts make this a prove-it year for the Wild

Minneapolis Star Tribune 22 July, 2021 - 02:02pm

Zach Parise and Ryan Suter had their contracts bought out by the Wild just last week, but the aftershocks will continue to register for years to come.

If the move on Parise, an oft-injured though still playable forward who fell out of favor last season, was at least a mild surprise ... the decision on Suter was a stunner — the kind of clean break that only makes sense in retrospect and not in the moment.

That's how I see it, and that is how Wild beat writer Sarah McLellan described it as well on Wednesday's Daily Delivery podcast — an episode where both of us went deep on the decision and the Wild's plan going forward.

If you don't see the podcast player, click here to listen.

In a sense, the decision acted as a short-term loan of sorts. Like a bleary-eyed late night TV watcher seeing a commercial promising fast cash, Wild GM Bill Guerin scooped up more than $10 million in salary cap relief for next season with the moves.

That will help pay for new contracts for Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala, which the Wild must hope will keep momentum moving in a positive direction after last year's overachieving team vied for a division title and took a very good Vegas team to seven games in a first-round playoff series.

Guerin, of course, has a plan that goes well beyond just next season. He knows exactly when the bills come due and must pay them one way or the other. But how the Wild accomplishes that will be interesting, to say the least.

Let's just say that a peek at the team's cap set-up into the future pretty much ensures the decisions on Parise and Suter — and those impending new deals for Fiala and Kaprizov — are just the first of many big decisions Guerin will face. And in many ways, this upcoming season will be a prove-it year for many Wild's players (and perhaps Guerin himself).

Cap Friendly projects that the Wild has about $26 million in cap space for the upcoming season after making the moves on Suter and Parise, which puts Minnesota in at least decent shape.

Let's say Kaprizov (eventually) agrees to a five-year contract at about $8.5 million per season, while Fiala gets a four-year deal as a restricted free agent for about $5.5 million per year. That still leaves the Wild about $15 million under the cap with 10 forwards, three defensemen and two goalies under contract given what we know about Seattle likely taking defenseman Carson Soucy in the expansion draft.

That's enough money left over to fill out the roster with young players (entry-level, less than $1 million per player) and maybe a couple low-to-mid-level free agents.

If the Wild makes reasonably shrewd moves, young players keep progressing and filling larger roles and the team's rock-solid goaltending remains in place — significant "ifs," particularly with a return to an 82-game schedule that is set to be released Thursday and includes a return to the Central Division — a return to the playoffs and even beyond that is certainly possible next year.

The real problem arrives in 2022-23 and beyond. Suter and Parise's combined cap hit next year is just $4.7 million, which as noted is more than $10 million savings from the $15+ million they would have counted had they been on the team. But in 2022-23, that number jumps to $12.7 million — barely any relief. It's even worse for two years after that ($14.7 million) before almost all the cap pain is gone by 2025-26.

In 2022-23, they will have cap obligations of $65 million covering just six forwards, three defensemen and a goalie.

Unless the cap goes up significantly from the $81.5 million it is set at this year — possible if the NHL and players' association inflate it, but certainly not something to bank on based on the economics of a league trying to still recover from COVID — the Wild will be in a serious bind.

At that point, any of their big contracts — Matt Dumba, Jonas Brodin, Jared Spurgeon, Joel Eriksson Ek, Mats Zuccarello, Fiala and Kaprizov all would be projected to be making at least $5 million that season — would be trade candidates.

Spurgeon and Brodin will have no-movement clauses in their contracts that year. Zuccarello and Dumba have modified NMCs that include 10-team no-trade lists. Fiala, Kaprizov and Eriksson Ek are core pieces that would be hard to part with even if teams were interested.

But multiple expensive players might have to be moved, and the ones who stay likely will be the ones who influence Guerin with their play this season.

Guerin will need to get creative, to say the least — and hope that the Wild's pipeline of prospects isn't just good but borders on great. The good news for the Wild is it has five picks in the top three rounds of this weekend's draft, including two first round picks.

Both of those extra picks are via the Penguins and the Jason Zucker trade — the first of Guerin's big roster shakeup deals but not even close to the biggest or the last.

© 2021 StarTribune. All rights reserved.

The Wild Cannot Afford to Lose Carson Soucy In the Expansion Draft

Zone Coverage 22 July, 2021 - 02:02pm

One of the top defensemen in terms of ice time? Gone. A stable, tough, third-pairing d-man who can eat up minutes? Gone, for now. If the Seattle Kraken decide to select Carson Soucy in the Expansion Draft on Wednesday, that means Minnesota would lose a gritty, hard-nosed, third-pairing defenseman who could have had an impact as a second-pair talent this season.

The Wild could be on the lookout for half of a starting defensive roster by the end of the week. That’s not a good thing. Defense has always been a hallmark of this franchise, including as recently as this past season. Losing Ryan Suter and Ian Cole only to sit by and lose Soucy shortly thereafter would be a severe hit to an already depleted core.

The good thing for Minnesota, though, is that the prospect of losing Soucy has grown increasingly less likely as the Expansion Draft approaches. The Athletic’s Michael Russo participated in a roundtable to predict who would be taken by Seattle. He changed his initial pick of Soucy to Kaapo Kähkönen as of Tuesday. So, barring Seattle GM Ron Francis wanting the 26-year-old defenseman on a reasonable contract with two years remaining on it, Kähkönen could be headed west, and the Wild’s defense may require stability down the line chart.

If not, though, the Wild have some work to do.

Soucy played the fewest minutes of any of the Wild’s top-six defenders last year. Overall, he averaged just over 15 minutes of ice time per game, while the top four each played at least 22 minutes per game. Make no mistake, he isn’t a bonafide top-four defenseman on the team, but he still played effectively for 25% of Minnesota’s game time this season.

If someone just pulled up his Corsi numbers, he might be considered overrated. Given that he’s on the bottom pair, his relative numbers are in the negative, but he’s often playing shifts with bottom-line forwards who don’t drive puck possession. However, he is a bit better when it comes to his offensive numbers than his third-pair status may indicate. He had a goal and 16 assists in 50 games last season with a shots-through percentage higher than any other regular Wild defenseman. He fired 56% of his 84 shot attempts on net last season.

Defensively, he provided a strong, physical presence to work guys off of pucks. He had 12 takeaways and was the Wild’s best defender in PDO (team shooting percentage + team save percentage while on the ice) at 108.8.

So, for a third-pair defenseman that is technically replaceable if he is taken by Seattle, why is it so important he stays with the team? His contract is key at this juncture. He’s making less than $3 million per year, and the three defensemen ahead of him on the line chart are each making $6 million per year (Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba), not to mention Jared Spurgeon is gobbling up $7.5 million.

As money shifts towards the group of forwards that are performing for pay raises, the often handsomely paid Minnesota defense will have to move towards fewer high-profile, highly-paid players on the back end. With nearly $20 million — 25% of the cap — tied up in three defensemen, the rest of the group will need to come cheap. Soucy provides known value at that lesser price, which is why it’s vital for Minnesota to hold on to him.

The new world of the NHL’s flat salary cap has shown some signs of holding back the exorbitance of free-agent contracts. But still, free agents are almost always overpaid for past performance.

To find value in other players around the league that even meet his performance will be difficult. Consider Greg Pateryn, the former Wild defenseman who was traded for Ian Cole. He made nearly as much as Soucy does, and while he isn’t in line for a raise, players around his pay grade might not fit the value or position the Wild would need to put them in if Soucy were to be poached by Seattle and the defensive corps had three gigantic holes to fill.

If the Wild avoided losing Soucy to expansion and could bring back Cole to fit alongside him on the bottom-pair of defense, Minnesota has a much easier quest to find a top-four defenseman on the free-agent market. That’s why they are hoping Seattle doesn’t surprise them and take him.

Wild GM Bill Guerin: We must be active in free agency and the trade market to fill holes

The Athletic 22 July, 2021 - 02:02pm

Wild GM Bill Guerin: We must be active in free agency and the trade market to fill holes

GM Guerin says Minnesota Wild will be active in free agency, trades

Hockey Wilderness 22 July, 2021 - 02:02pm

The Wild GM reflects on Carson Soucy being selected by the Seattle Kraken.

With some trades expected to come in the next dozen or so hours, the roster might not be a final one, but can be a jumbled piece of assets that will eventually have a core of players willing to be competitive in the terrible Pacific Division. But right now, the Kraken have a group of players and one of them is now former Minnesota Wild defenseman Carson Soucy.

By selecting Soucy, the Kraken got a very solid depth defenseman that is on the cheap — two years remaining with just a $2.75-million cap hit for a mobile two-way defender is one hell of a bargain and some cost certainty that front offices drool over in this flat-cap world.

“It obviously stings,” Wild GM Bill Guerin said on Wednesday night after Seattle’s picks were announced. “Carson’s a great kid…a player that we saw a lot of value in. His progression over the last couple years was fantastic. When I first got here, we had him pegged for Iowa. He took a job. He stole a job. He kept getting better and better. It’s unfortunate, but those are the rules.

“Obviously it hurts our depth. We’ve got some work to do and we’ve got to fill some spots.”

With Soucy now gone, the Wild will need to replace him, and a lot of other pieces. Only three defensemen are actually signed to contracts on their NHL roster, and even counting restricted free agents Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala, Minnesota only has 10 forwards. There are plenty of holes to fill.

“We’re going to have to be active in free agency. We could be active in the trade market. There are a lot of things we could do,” Guerin said. “We understand where we are right now, and we have some flexibility.”

The Wild have a brief window of cap space. The buyouts of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise gives them an extra $10 million to play with this summer, but then that amount of saving shrinks up quickly, inflating to just a couple million in the following three seasons. Any move they make in the next couple months has to have the caveat of the cap crunch barreling towards them in just a year from now.

Currently, even if it’s for a brief moment, Minnesota has approximately $29 million in cap space to fill out their roster. That includes the future contracts of Kaprizov and Fiala, signing at least two more forwards (or promoting rookies that will be on entry-level deals) and signing at least three more defensemen to deals. Even if right-handed rookie Calen Addison makes the squad, they will need depth and that can include RFA Brennan Menell making his way back to Minnesota after a year of playing extremely well in the KHL.

“But we want to continue to do things that work for us,” Guerin said. “We aren’t just going to jump at anything. I think forward depth-wise we’re in a really good spot. We’ve got some younger players that can push for roster spots this year. Not guaranteed. They’ve got to push. And that’s kind of where we are. We’ll see what comes across my desk. Like I always say, if it makes sense, we’ll do it. We’re not going to be overaggressive or too patient. We’ll do what we feel is right.”

Guerin has proved already in his short time with the Wild that he is patient when it comes to moves, but he isn’t afraid to jostle anything up. In his first year, he’s traded away young players like Ryan Donato and Luke Kunin, and brought in more established help like Nick Bjugstad, while keeping a keen eye on players that fit, like acquiring Ian Cole early last season.

“To me, to focus on a good fit team-wise is really important. Not just the way you shoot or how you play, you have to fit into our structure and how we’re going to play, too,” Guerin said. “So there’s a lot of things that come into play.”

Guerin might not be alluding to it directly, but the Wild still reportedly remain in talks with the Buffalo Sabres about acquiring top center Jack Eichel. But according to Michael Russo, the price still remains extremely high and the Wild will need all that prospect capital to soften the blow of the upcoming cap doom. Especially considering that no team has received Eichel’s medical records yet, despite the main conflict between the center and his team being over a potential alternative surgery to heal a neck injury.

As @NYP_Brooksie reports here, I sense the same is true with the #mnwild. I don't know how a team can ever consider giving up these kind of assets for a $10 million player with a neck injury and not have their docs look into medical reports. Until that happens, ... https://t.co/byLSYFPk1I

Whatever happens to their NHL roster, they also have to concern themselves with the 2021 NHL Draft coming up quickly this weekend. The Wild have two first-round picks (Pittsburgh’s was acquired in the Jason Zucker trade) and when asked about moving any of them or potentially trading up or down, Guerin made it sound like he’s just going to have a laissez-faire approach.

“We’re not going to chase anything, that’s for sure,” Guerin said when asking about potentially moving up or down. “We’re very comfortable where we are. To have two first-round picks this year is a good position to be in.”

There will be some Guys and Dudes available for the Wild with both picks, which should keep it interesting, but they also have their own young NHLers to worry about re-signing. On the Kaprizov and Fiala negotiations, the Wild GM keeps a positive attitude, and makes it known that there’s no rush in things like these.

“The lines of communication are open, and we’re working towards it,” Guerin said. “I’m not worried about. I know that this is just a process, so I feel good about it.”

Wild heads into NHL Draft armed with nine selections

BlueJackets.com 22 July, 2021 - 10:26am

In the midst of perhaps the busiest stretch of the offseason, the Wild will be one of the League's busiest clubs this weekend during the 2021 NHL Draft. 

Minnesota is currently slated to select nine players - the most the Wild has had in a single draft in 15 years - including two picks in the first round and five selections in the first 90 picks. 

As of Thursday, the Wild possesses the 22nd and 26th overall selections, picks that will actually be a little bit better than that. The Arizona Coyotes had their first-round pick taken away last fall, meaning Minnesota will actually have the 21st and 25th picks. 

Minnesota could, of course, use those picks to bolster a prospect pool that has vastly improved over the past few years. But they could also be used in trades to help the current roster. 

Wild GM Bill Guerin admitted as much on Wednesday evening following the Expansion Draft, where defenseman Carson Soucy was scooped up by the Seattle Kraken. 

It was a move that leaves the Wild with three of its seven defensemen from a year ago under contract past July 28, the start of unrestricted free agency. 

Guerin virtually guaranteed Minnesota would be busy in free agency, but didn't rule out a trade as well. 

In terms of its draft ammunition, the 22nd pick is Minnesota's own, while the 26th selection originally belonged to Pittsburgh and came to the Wild in the Jason Zucker trade. 

The Wild has one pick in the second round (54th overall) before selecting two more times in the third, (86th and 90th). Again, the extra pick is the original property of Pittsburgh, a selection that went to San Jose in the Patrick Marleau trade in February of 2020, then was flipped to Minnesota in October in a deal involving Ryan Donato.

Minnesota holds its own picks in Rounds 4-7, picking 118th, 150th, 182nd and 214th overall. 

Picking in the low-to-mid 20s is certainly not an exact science, but there have been several players picked at that spot who have gone on to have prominent careers in the NHL.

The best of that bunch over the last two decades has been goaltender Tuukka Rask, picked 21st by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2005. 

Rask, of course, has gone on to have a Hall-of-Fame career with the Boston Bruins after being traded for Andrew Raycroft in 2006 - no doubt a deal the Leafs would like to have back. Rask won a Stanley Cup in Boston as a backup early in his career but backstopped the Bruins to two more Stanley Cup Finals appearances.

Other notables picked 21st the past few years include Filip Chytil (Rangers) in 2017, Robby Fabbri (Blues) in 2014 and Riley Sheahan (Red Wings) in 2010.

Another Stanley Cup champion goaltender, Cam Ward, was the 25th overall pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2002. But there are some notable names that have been selected here in more recent years. 

The biggest is undoubtedly David Pastrnak, picked by the Bruins with this selection in 2014. One of the NHL's top scorers, Pastrnak has scored at least 30 goals in four of the past five seasons.

The next year, Jack Roslovic was picked 25th by the Winnipeg Jets. Two years later, Lakeville native Ryan Poehling was taken with the pick by the Montreal Canadiens. The Washington Capitals selected Connor McMichael 25th in 2019, and he's now considered one of that club's top prospects. 

In terms of local products that could have their names called early this weekend, Grant native Chaz Lucius could be picked in the first half of the first round. 

A future Golden Gopher, Lucius is a centerman who might have the best goal-scoring potential of any player in this draft.

"While Lucius has a shoot-first mentality, he is an improving playmaker and uses the threat of his shot to open up passing lanes," the scouts at FCHockey describe Lucius. "His puck-handling and patience with the puck helps him survey the zone and wait for passing lanes to develop, making him a threat to create chances off the cycle."

Grand Rapids' Jack Peart is also a player that could hear his name called late in the first round or early on day two of the draft. 

A defenseman, Peart is a strong skater with an offensive flair who scored 11 goals and 35 points in 18 games with Grand Rapids High School last season. Peart will head to St. Cloud State in the fall. 

"Peart is a smooth and athletic skater, showing great lateral movements and stride power in his backwards mobility," FCHockey says. "His acceleration is slightly hindered by his still-developing foot-speed, but he has good awareness and is shifty and elusive under forechecking pressure."

Among other Minnesotans who could be drafted include wingers Tristan Broz (Bloomington), Jackson Blake (Eden Prairie), Charlie Lurie (Minnetonka) and Jack Harvey (Stacy), center Kyle Kukkonen (Maple Grove), and defensemen Henry Nelson (Maple Grove), Luke Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie) and Joe Palodichuk (Cottage Grove). 

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Wild's defense gets even thinner after Kraken takes Soucy in expansion draft

Minneapolis Star Tribune 21 July, 2021 - 11:41am

The Wild's blue line keeps getting thinner.

Defenseman Carson Soucy was taken by Seattle in Wednesday's expansion draft, an exit that leaves the Wild with only three NHL defensemen under contract for next season.

"It obviously stings," General Manager Bill Guerin said. "Carson's a great kid, a player that we saw a lot of value in. His progression over the last couple years was fantastic."

Soucy's selection wasn't surprising considering he was one of the most intriguing players made available by the Wild.

An efficient top-six defender with size and grit, Soucy is also signed to a cost-friendly contract. He has two seasons left on a three-year, $8.25 million deal that carries a $2.75 million annual cap hit.

Last season, the 6-5, 211-pound Soucy filled out the Wild's third defensive pairing with veteran Ian Cole and established career highs in assists (16) and points (17). Soucy, 26, was drafted in the fifth round by the Wild in 2013 before playing four seasons at Minnesota Duluth.

"When I first got here, we kind of had him pegged for Iowa," said Guerin, who took over in 2019. "He took a job. He stole a job. He kept getting better and better. It's unfortunate, but those are the rules. We knew we were going to lose a good player, and it was Carson.

"We wish him nothing but the best. He gave us some good years. He's going to do fantastic. Obviously, it hurts our depth. But we've got some work some do, and we've got to fill some spots."

Only Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba and captain Jared Spurgeon are regulars signed for next season. Ryan Suter is gone after the Wild bought out him and Zach Parise last week. And Cole could leave as a free agent, although he's expressed an interest in returning and Guerin said the two sides are talking.

But for now the Wild has three vacancies on its back end.

Youngster Calen Addison could get a look, especially after a smooth NHL debut last season, but the Wild still needs more help. And the team can acquire it in free agency when the NHL signing period kicks off Wednesday.

Among the defensemen set to hit the market are Grand Rapids native and former Gopher Alex Goligoski, Keith Yandle and David Savard from this year's Stanley Cup champion team in Tampa Bay.

After losing Soucy's contract, the Wild has approximately $29 million in cap space but expect the team to be mindful of its spending. Not only are forwards Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala still unsigned, but the Wild's flexibility to take on long-term contracts shrinks in the coming years when the cap charge for the Suter and Parise buyouts increases. Short-term commitments make the most sense.

"We like what we have in the system obviously," Guerin said. "We're going to continue to try to create depth. We're going to have to be active in free agency. We could be active in the trade market. There are a lot of things we could do."

What the Wild won't need to address is the team's backup goaltending.

Seattle passed on goalie Kaapo Kahkonen, who was another interesting candidate after an impressive season in which he won a franchise-record 16 games as a rookie and went on a 9-0 run.

Every team could protect only one goalie, and the Wild shielded starter Cam Talbot instead of Kahkonen. Guerin anticipated Seattle's pick would come down to Kahkonen or Soucy, and he said the Wild didn't consider making a side deal with the Kraken to sway its pick.

"We would lose more assets than we already have," Guerin said.

Other players left unprotected by the Wild were forwards Victor Rask and Nick Bjugstad.

"It was a tough decision, but I think we made the right one and we came out of it kind of lucky to have our goalie tandem intact," said Guerin, who highlighted Talbot's consistency and leadership. "They were very good last year, and we're looking for more of that in the coming years."

Although word leaked out earlier in the day, the Kraken's picks were officially unveiled during a televised reveal live from Seattle.

Goalie Chris Driedger, forward Jordan Eberle and defenseman Mark Giordano were some of the players on hand for the announcement, and the Kraken's roster is likely to evolve.

By bypassing some of the higher-priced players like Montreal's Carey Price, St. Louis' Vladimir Tarasenko and Nashville's Matt Duchene, Seattle has quite a bit of wiggle room ahead of free agency. Only three of the contracts the team added have a cap hit north of $5 million.

Trades are another option, for the Kraken and the rest of the NHL, and movement could start soon.

A freeze on player signings and trades gets lifted Thursday.

"It's going to be active," Guerin said. "But we want to continue to do things that work for us. We aren't just going to jump at anything."

© 2021 StarTribune. All rights reserved.

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