Welcome back to our Seattle Expansion Draft Series. If you haven’t read the first article that lays out the rules of the expansion draft, that would be a good starting point, as I’ll only give the very basic rules in each of these follow up articles. Previous articles focusing on Detroit in this series were the second article, the seventh article, and the twentieth article.
Today is the day. The expansion draft is finally here. We will get to see the 30 players selected by the Seattle Kraken. Some of them will go on to be key players for the franchise. Some of them will never play a game for the NHL’s newest team.
Some of our writers joined me in picking a team based on the official protection lists from each team. We picked what we thought would be the best team we could pick under the rules of the draft. We had to stay over $49.8M and stay at or under the cap of $81.5M. We had to have at least 14 forwards, 9 defensemen, and 3 goalies. We had to pick 20 players currently under contract for next season. Basically, all the rules that Seattle has to follow.
Obviously selecting a UFA for these teams is very subjective. You would still have to sign them, so we are saying we think there is a reasonable chance we could sign them if we were Seattle. People submitted these at different times ranging from Sunday through Tuesday, so they may not all have the benefit of all available information that has come out since they were submitted.
Lastly, there is a very good possibility that there could be side deals that we don’t know about. For example, there is a lot of speculation that the Islanders have a side deal based on the players they exposed. We obviously can’t take these into account, so there is a very real chance that our teams could look very different from the actual team because any one change can lead to a domino effect because of all the requirements.
We did not discuss our selections with each other before we picked our teams, other than general discussions of rumors floating around. The Capfriendly expansion draft tool makes it easy to select your own team. Please post them in the comments! We got feedback on the last mock draft article that it was hard to read the screenshots, so this time the teams will just be typed out.
So without further ado, here are WIIM’s mock drafts! They are presented in random order.
Jordan Eberle (NYI), Yanni Gourde (TB), Evgeni Dadonov (OTT), Victor Rask (MIN), Brandon Tanev (PIT), Andreas Johnsson (NJ), Antoine Roussel (VAN), Jared McCann (TOR), Conor Sheary (WSH), Kevin Stenlund (CBJ), Christian Fischer (OTT), Colin Blackwell (NYR), Yakov Trenin (NSH), Nick Ritchie (BOS), Tyler Benson (EDM), Andreas Athansiou (LAK), Gabriel Landeskog (COL)
Dylan DeMelo (WPG), Radim Simek (SJ), Justin Braun (PHI), Troy Stecher (DET), Haydn Fleury (ANA), Jamie Oleksiak (DAL), Dougie Hamilton (CAR), Jake McCabe (BUF), Oliver Kylington (CGY), Vince Dunn (STL)
Carey Price (MTL), Malcolm Subban (CHI), Chris Driedger (FLA)
I took some really big swings that could not pan out. I went with Price at goalie, because if he is injured, I can just put him on LTIR until the playoffs, and add 10m to my payroll. I have a few big name free agent signings in Gabriel Landeskog and Dougie Hamilton. In doing so, I’m adding major pieces right away from well-built franchises.
Yanni Gourde is one of the best forwards available, if not the best. Getting him at a 5.6M cap hit is going to be a very good building block. On defense, I have more NHL worthy defenders than I can use, and can flip them to other teams to build up my prospect and pick pipeline. My team can move the puck well and compete both skillfully and physically.
I think this team can compete right out of the gate, and that’s why I feel comfortable picking some of these UFA players. After Vegas’ success, I think it’s going to be a lot easier for Seattle to get free agents to choose them.
Chris Driedger (FLA), Malcolm Subban (CHI), Kaapo Kähkönen (MIN)
Mark Giordano (CGY), Colin Miller (BUF), Dylan DeMelo (WPG), Nick Jensen (WSH), Brett Kulak (MTL), Troy Stecher (DET), Haydn Fleury (ANA), Madison Bowey (VAN), Jakub Zboril (BOS), Jake Bean (CAR)
James van Riemdsyk (PHI), Jordan Eberle (NYI), Max Domi (CBJ), Yanni Gourde (TBL), Evgeni Dadonov (OTT), Joonas Donskoi (COL), Jared McCann (TOR), Kyle Turris (EDM), Nick Cousins (NSH), Sammy Blais (STL), Blake Lizotte (LAK), Colin Blackwell (NYR), Jayden Halbgewachs (SJS), Justin Dowling (DAL), Zach Aston-Reese (PIT), Brett Seney (NJD), Michael Bunting (ARI)
Line 1: van Riemdsyk – Gourde – Eberle
Line 2: Dadonov – Domi – Donskoi
Line 3: Aston-Reese – McCann – Blais
Line 4: Cousins – Blackwell – Lizotte
Extra: Turris, Halbgewachs
Pairing 1: Giordano – DeMelo
Pairing 2: Bean – Miller
Pairing 3: Kulak – Jensen
Starting Goalie: Driedger
Backup Goalie: Kähkönen
This team will be competitive immediately. The top-6 forwards are offensively dynamic while still remaining defensively capable. The third line is a strong checking line that can match up against another team’s top line or dominate against lesser competition. The defense pairs are capable offensively with Giordano, Bean, and Miller and still capable defensively thanks to DeMelo and Kulak. In net is one of the bright spots from last season who will likely be affordable as Driedger is looking for a contract around $3.5 million. Put it all together and at ~$75 million, this team can be instantly competitive in the Western Conference. The added bonus is that only 7 players as of now are under contract in 2022-2023 allowing Seattle the flexibility to make wholesale changes as necessary.
Vladimir Tarasenko (STL), James van Riemsdyk (PHI), Max Domi (CBJ), Yanni Gourde (TBL), Josh Bailey (NYI), Evgeni Dadonov (OTT), Joonas Donskoi (COL), Jared McCann (TOR), Jake Virtanen (VAN), Rocco Grimaldi (NSH), Brendan Lemieux (LAK), Christian Fischer (ARI), Curtis Lazar (BOS), Colin Blackwell (NYR), Drake Caggiula (BUF), Cédric Paquette (CAR)
Marcus Pettersson (PIT), Will Butcher (NJD), Radim Simek (SJS), Haydn Fleury (ANA), Julius Honka (DAL), Derek Forbort (WPG), Brandon Montour (FLA), Adam Larsson (EDM), Jon Merrill (MTL), Anton Lindholm (CHI), Oliver Kylington (CGY)
Kaapo Kähkönen (MIN), Vitek Vanecek (WSH), Jonathan Bernier (DET)
Unfortunately I didn’t have the patience to build a 2-degrees-of-Dylan Larkin team featuring former Red Wings, Michigan natives, and his mom’s cousin’s friend’s son’s roommate.
I picked a few names I would put in the “high-profile” category, compared to the rest of who is available, then added some players I remember being annoying when we played against them and filled in the rest with who was young and/or inexpensive and a low risk gamble to take. Basically, I tried to lean away from taking on any big contracts or many players over 30 years old.
Admittedly, I picked Bernier not because I think it will happen but because it would be chaos to enjoy. We obviously can’t rule out Yzerman doing some insane deal that he hits the button on as soon as the freeze lifts, thus ruining any pick we say for Detroit anyway, so might as well go for something more out there than Stecher or Svechnikov.
Carey Price (MTL), Malcolm Subban (CHI), Petr Mrazek (CAR)
Shayne Gostisbehere (PHI), Colin Miller (BUF), Will Butcher (NJD), Radko Gudas (FLA), Dean Kukan (CBJ), Kris Russell (EDM), Jakub Zboril (BOS), Brendan Smith (NYR), Oliver Kylington (CGY)
Sonny Milano (ANA), Vladimir Tarasenko (STL), Jordan Eberle (NYI), Yanni Gourde (TBL), Viktor Rask (MIN), Brandon Tanev (PIT), Chris Tierney (OTT), Alex Kerfoot (TOR), JT Compher (COL), Calle Jarnkrok (NSH), Sonny Milano (ANA), Conor Sheary (WSH), Austin Wagner (LAK), Dylan Gambrell (SJS), Mason Appleton (WPG), Evgeny Svechnikov (DET), Sven Baertschi (VAN), Brayden Burke (ARI), Nicholas Caamano (DAL)
I tried to stay as true to my original picks as I could, but I couldn’t pass on Jordan Eberle out of NYI (Originally Kieffer Bellows), Yanni Gourde over Mathieu Joseph, or Vladimir Tarasenko (over Vince Dunn). I found myself lighter on defense and goalies than expected, so I went ahead and signed Mrazek out of Carolina. I still took an available Montreal goalie, willing to take the gamble on Price actually being healthy (because it’s not my money). Overall, I had to readjust a few things like switching out Johansen for Janrkrok out of Nashville just to make the team close to cap compliant.
I probably ended up doing a number of teams favors by taking overpaid players but I wanted to avoid signing too many free agents as part of this selection process and I want the team to have name recognition going into its inaugural season.
Gabriel Landeskog (COL) / Max Dom I (CBJ) / Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)
Jordan Eberle (NYI) / Philip Danault (MTL) / Evgeni Dadonov (OTT)
Jared McCann (TOR) / Adam Gaudette (CHI) / Ondrej Kase (BOS)
Barclay Goodrow (NYR) / Calle Jarnkrok (NSH) / Tler Pitlick (ARI)
Sam Lafferty (PIT) / German Rubtsov (PHI) / Zemgus Girgensons (BUF)
Ryan Donato (SJS) / Dominik Kahun (EDM)
Will Butcher (NJD) / Dylan DeMelo (WPG)
Olli Maatta (LAK) / Hayden Fleury (ANA)
Jake Bean (CAR) / Cal Foote (TBL)
Dennis Cholowski (DET) / Julius Honka (DAL)
Oliver Kylington (CGY) / Madison Bowey (VAN)
Kaapo Kahkonen (MIN) / Vitek Vanecek (WSH) / Chris Driedger (FLA)
I went about building my version of the Seattle Kraken with two objectives in mind. First, with the stagnant cap likely for the next couple seasons or so I wanted to maintain as much cap flexibility as possible. This meant limiting the number of players under contract beyond the 2022-23 season as much as possible. Second, I believe that having a solid blue line can cover up for a lot of deficiencies elsewhere and building one is arguably the hardest part of building a hockey team.
Therefore, I concentrated on building the defensive core first then went back and filled in the forwards afterwards. I did try to pick as many younger players as I could, but it was not as big a focus as quality since I figured in this world I could probably flip a couple players for draft picks/prospects if needed and with a semi young core, if it gelled like I hoped/planned it would give me time to stock the minors. I put the players in lines just to make it easier to read, they are not necessarily the lines/pairings I would use.
So that’s (almost) it! All that is left is to see what actually happens tonight when Seattle reveals their picks. Again, please put your own teams in the comments. It’ll be interesting to see who comes the closest, especially considering the potential for side deals.