On Wednesday night the Seattle Kraken will conduct their Expansion Draft ahead of their first season as a NHL team. Every team except for the Vegas Golden Knights, who just had their expansion draft in 2017, submitted the lists of available players to the Kraken on Sunday.
Players like Max Domi (Columbus Blue Jackets), Yanni Gourde (Tampa Bay Lightning), and Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis Blues), among others, are available for the taking. It is no question that the Kraken can put together a playoff-caliber team tomorrow night as they try to capitalize on teams trying to cut high-priced contracts in a world that is ruled by the salary cap.
One of the biggest players available for Seattle is Montreal’s Carey Price. Price just finished up his run for the Stanley Cup and finished with a .924 SV% and a .901 SV% for the regular season. Montreal’s idea regarding this decision was to protect Jake Allen in hopes that Seattle will pass Price due to his high price tag. Marc Bergevin, Montreal’s general manager, is subsequently playing with fire here as Seattle’s ownership has given Ron Francis, the GM of the Kraken, the go-ahead if he so pleases to select Price.
Current NHL teams have two options heading into the expansion draft. They can either, protect seven forwards, one goalie, and three defensemen, or protect eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goalie. Seattle pretty much has total control over their decisions as to who to draft, but they themselves also have to follow a few rules per NHL guidelines.
Seattle must take a minimum of 14 forwards, three goalies, and nine defensemen. Seattle must also choose at least 20 players under contract for the 21-22 regular season, and more specifically ones who have “an aggregate expansion draft value that is between 60%-100%” of the $81.5 million salary cap ceiling.
Notable Free Agents
Gabriel Landeskog, Avalanche
Landeskog, who was once the second youngest captain in NHL history, has been unable to reach an agreement with Colorado. In 54 games this past season, Landeskog went 20-32-52.
Kyle Palmieri, New York Islanders
Palmieri played 51 games and recorded 10 goals, 11 assists and 21 points in the regular season for the Islanders. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs he played 19 games, and went 7-2- 9.
Vince Dunn, Blues
Vince Dunn is a top-four defenseman and helped the St. Louis Blues capture the Stanley Cup during the 2018-2019 season. In 43 games this past season for the Blues he went 6-14-20.
Like mentioned earlier, Seattle has tons of solid players available to add to their team.
Vladimir Tarasenko, Blues
Tarasenko, who has actually requested to be out of St. Louis, was their first-round pick in 2010. For the Blues, he has played 531 games and recorded 218 goals, 214 assists, and 442 points to put his +/- at 68.
Max Domi, Columbus
Domi was the first-round pick of Arizona in the 2013 NHL Draft. He was traded to the Canadiens and then to the Blue Jackets in 2020 and was subpar at best for the team at 9-15-24 in 54 games played. Domi had his worst season in his career last year, but during his two seasons in Montreal before making the move to Columbus, Domi went 45-71-116 in 153 games for Montreal.
Yanni Gourde, Tampa Bay
Forward Yanni Gourde started his career with Tampa during the 2015-2016 season. Despite only being 5-foot-9, he emerged as a star for the Lighting and helped them win back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships the past two seasons. He has played 310 games for the Lightning and has went 80-107-187 in that time span.
Seattle has a star-studded lineup already planned to help them announce their picks, including former running back Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird, and Seattle Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis.
It is no question that Seattle has a plethora of top tier options going into their very first season, and they’re hoping to pull a Vegas Golden Knights and hit the ice running. While we don’t know who Seattle is going to pick, one thing is for sure, watching the expansion draft and seeing the ability sports have to bring an entire city together, especially after the year we all had, is truly amazing.