Photo: Pine Journal
With the NHL Expansion Draft for the Seattle Kraken less than a month away (Wednesday, July 21) and the 2020-21 season winding down, NoVa Caps takes a fourth cut at analyzing the expansion draft. You can read our first three drafts (after 2018-19, 2019-20 seasons, and halfway through 2020-21) in the hyperlinks linked to the seasons.
We have made our picks based on factors such as the length of time a player has remaining on their contracts, their cap hit, age, and stats from this season (as well as ones past). NHL.com, Natural StatTrick, and JFresh Hockey were sources used for stats.
Each team has the option of protecting seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender, or eight skaters (forwards plus defensemen) and one goalie. The Seattle draft will use the same rules as the 2017 expansion draft for the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Kraken have to select one player from every team except the Golden Knights, who are exempt from the expansion draft. The Kraken must draft at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen, three goaltenders, and 20 players who are under contract for the 2021-22 NHL season while staying compliant with the $81.5 million salary cap and the $48.9 million salary floor for next season.
The Kraken team drafted here is under the contract limit for next season but they will also have a window to negotiate with pending unrestricted and restricted free agents before the other 31 teams, so they will be able to reach that limit in July.
All players still on entry-level contracts are exempt from being taken, but teams could trade a player on such a deal (and/or draft picks) to the Kraken to prevent them from taking a player they wish to keep or to get them to take another player. A player must have played at least two full professional seasons by the end of 2020-21 (at least nine games in a season).
Each team must expose at least two forwards and one defenseman who have played at least 27 games in 2020-21 or 54 from 2019-21, under contract for next season. Teams must also expose a goalie who is under contract for 2021-22 or who can become a restricted free agent after this season.
According to CapFriendly, “Players with potential career-ending injuries who have missed the previous 60+ consecutive games due to an injury, do not meet the criteria set forth by the league in respect to the minimum exposure requirements for players, and in certain cases these players may even be deemed as exempt from the Expansion Draft selection process.” There are 18 players who are exempt from the Expansion Draft due to injury, which you can find below:
The league has identified 18 players that are exempt from the Expansion Draft due to Injury
All 18 players are displayed below
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) June 21, 2021
In cases where players are rumored to be on the trade block, we kept those players protected.
NOTE: Players with a No Movement Clause must be protected (unless they waive).
Protected: C Sam Steel, C Troy Terry, RW Rickard Rakell, LW Max Jones, RHD Josh Manson, LHD Hampus Lindholm, LHD Cam Fowler, LHD Hadyn Fleury, G John Gibson
Kraken Select: LW Danton Heinen
The Ducks will likely protect their youngest forwards since some of their top point producers are on expensive contracts. They will also likely focus on protecting some of their top defensemen. The Kraken should take the 25-year-old Heinen, who recorded 16 goals and 47 points in 77 games with the Boston Bruins in 2017-18 and seven goals and 14 points in 43 games this past season.
Protected: C Nick Schmaltz, C Christian Dvorak, LW Conor Garland, LW Lawson Crouse, RW Clayton Keller, RW Christian Fischer, RW Phil Kessel (NMC), LHD Oliver Ekman-Larsson (NMC), RHD Ilya Lybushkin, LHD Jakob Chychrun, G Adin Hill
Kraken Select: G Darcy Kuemper
Since Kuemper has one season left before becoming eligible to hit unrestricted free agency, the Coyotes will protect Hill, 25, after he finished with a team-best .913 save percentage in 17 games this season and appeared to grab the No. 1 goalie job down the stretch.
Protected: C Charlie Coyle (NMC), RW Craig Smith, C Patrice Bergeron (NMC), LW Brad Marchand (NMC), LW Jake DeBrusk, LW Nick Ritchie, RW David Pastrnak, LHD Matt Grzelcyk, RHD Brandon Carlo, RHD Charlie McAvoy, G Daniel Vladar
Kraken Select: LHD Jeremy Lauzon
The Kraken will likely pick defenseman Lauzon, Connor Clifton, or Jakub Zboril from the Bruins and Lauzon appears to be the best of the bunch after the 24-year-old finished with a goal, eight points, a +8 rating in 41 games. He also finished with a 52.04% Corsi-for percentage and 53.29% expected goals-for percentage at five-on-five.
Protected: C Casey Mittelstadt, RW Sam Reinhart, C Jack Eichel, LW Jeff Skinner (NMC), LW Victor Olofsson, LW Anders Bjork, RW Tage Thompson, C Rasmus Asplund, LHD Rasmus Dahlin, RHD Henri Jokiharju, RHD Rasmus Ristolainen, G Dustin Tokarski
Kraken Select: RHD Colin Miller
Miller is coming off of a season where he recorded four goals, 12 points, a -20 rating (on a team with a league-worst -61 goal differential), a 48.56% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, a 44.82% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and a 45.34% five-on-five scoring-chances for percentage. The 28-year-old is known for his heavy shot and has had offensive success in the past as he scored 10 goals and 41 points in 82 games with the Golden Knights in 2017-18.
Protected: C Sean Monahan, LW Milan Lucic (NMC), LW Matthew Tkachuk, LW Andrew Mangiapane, LW Johnny Gaudreau, RW Elias Lindholm, RW Dillon Dube, LHD Noah Hanifin, RHD Rasmus Andersson, RHD Chris Tanev, G Jacob Markstrom (NMC)
Kraken Select: LHD Mark Giordano
With Calgary expected to protect their two young defensemen and with Tanev coming off of a strong campaign, the Kraken will take the 37-year-old Flames captain, who shows no signs of slowing down after posting nine goals, 26 points, a +5 rating, a 53.12% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, and a 52.63% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage in 56 games this past season.
Protected: C Vincent Trocheck, C Sebastian Aho, C Jordan Staal (NMC), LW Andrei Svechnikov, LW Warren Foegele, LW Nino Niederreiter, RW Teuvo Teravainen, LHD Jake Bean, LHD Jaccob Slavin, RHD Brett Pesce, G Alex Nedeljkovic
Kraken Select: RHD Jake Gardiner
The Kraken should take the 30-year-old after he recorded eight assists, a -1 rating, a 53.85% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, and a 53.87% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage in 26 games this past season. Gardiner had five seasons in a span of six with at least 30 points with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 2013-19.
Protected: C Jonathan Toews (NMC), C David Kampf, C Dylan Strome, C Henrik Borgstrom, LW Alex DeBrincat, LW Brandon Hagel, RW Patrick Kane (NMC), LHD Nikita Zadorov, LHD Duncan Keith (NMC), RHD Connor Murphy, G Kevin Lankinen
Kraken Select: LHD Calvin de Haan
The 30-year-old tallied one goal, 10 points, a -16 rating, a 49.75% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, and a 48.3% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage but was on a team whose 3.29 goals-against per game was tied for the seventh-worst in the NHL.
Protected: C Nathan MacKinnon, LW Andre Burakovsky, RW Joonas Donskoi, RW Mikko Rantanen, LHD Devon Toews, LHD Ryan Graves, RHD Cale Makar, LHD Sam Girard, G Pavel Francouz
Kraken Select: LW Valeri Nichushkin
The 26-year-old is a strong defensive forward who had a fine season, finishing with 10 goals and 21 points. The team could also pick center Nazem Kadri, who finished with 21 assists and 32 points in 56 games, but he is 30-year-old and has a significant disciplinary history.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Protected: LW Patrik Laine, RW Cam Atkinson, RW Jack Roslovic, RW Oliver Bjorkstrand, LHD Vladislav Gavrikov, RHD Seth Jones, LHD Zach Werenski, RHD Dean Kukan, G Joonas Korpisalo
Kraken Select: C Max Domi
The 26-year-old’s first season in Columbus did not go as planned as he finished with nine goals and 24 points in 54 games. Though, he is two years removed from a 44-assist, 72-point season with the Montreal Canadiens and tallied 17 goals and 44 points. Roslovic, 24, fit in well after getting acquired from the Winnipeg Jets as he posted 12 goals and 34 points in 48 games.
Protected: C Tyler Seguin (NMC), C Roope Hintz, C Jason Dickinson, LW Jamie Benn (NMC), LW Denis Gurianov, RW Alexander Radulov (NMC), RW Joe Pavelski, LHD Esa Lindell, RHD John Klingberg, RHD Miro Heiskanen, G Ben Bishop (NMC)
Kraken Select: G Anton Khudobin
Since the Stars must protect Bishop, the Kraken will jump on the 35-year-old, who had a down season but led the NHL in save percentage (.930) in 2019-20, when he took the team within two wins of the Stanley Cup.
Detroit Red Wings
Protected: C Dylan Larkin, LW Jakub Vrana, LW Adam Erne, LW Michael Rasmussen, LW Robby Fabbri, LW Tyler Bertuzzi, RW Vladislav Namestnikov, LHD Dennis Cholowski, RHD Troy Stetcher, RHD Filiip Hronek, G Thomas Greiss
Kraken Select: LW Evgeny Svechnikov
Without many appealing options to choose from, the Kraken will take the 24-year-old, who recorded three goals and eight points in just 21 games with the Red Wings and one goal and two points in four games with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins this season.
Protected: C Leon Draisaitl, C Connor McDavid, RW Jesse Puljujarvi, RW Kailer Yamamoto, RW Josh Archibald, LW Dominik Kahun, C Jujhar Khiara, LHD Darnell Nurse, LHD Oscar Klefbom, RHD Ethan Bear, G Stuart Skinner
Kraken Select: LHD Caleb Jones
With the forwards and goaltenders that the Oilers expose likely to be on the expensive side, the Kraken will aim to take a young defenseman, likely focusing on Jones (24) or William Lagesson (25). Jones appears to be the better option of the two after he finished with a 49.19% Corsi-for percentage and a 50.04% expected goals-for percentage at five-on-five while in less ice-time (13:36 per game) than Lagesson (14:09), who finished with a 40.53% Corsi-for percentage and a 42.87% expected goals-for percentage at five-on-five this past season.
Protected: C Carter Verhaeghe, C Aleksander Barkov, LW Jonathan Huberdeau (NMC), LW Sam Bennett, LW Anthony Duclair, RW Frank Vatrano, RW Patric Hornqvist, LHD Keith Yandle (NMC), RHD Aaron Ekblad, LHD MacKenzie Weegar, G Sergei Bobrovsky (NMC)
Kraken Select: LHD Gustav Forsling
The Kraken will take the 25-year-old defenseman, who had a strong campaign with five goals, 17 points, a +17 rating, a 53.16% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, and a 55.2% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage while averaging 19:57 per game, including 1:36 on the power play and 1:33 on the penalty kill. Forsling was second among Panthers in ice time (21:29) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with Ekblad out.
Los Angeles Kings
Protected: C Anze Kopitar, LW Andreas Athanasiou, LW Alex Iafallo, LW Adrian Kempe, RW Dustin Brown, C Lias Andersson, RW Trevor Moore, LHD Olli Maatta, RHD Drew Doughty (NMC), RHD Matt Roy, G Cal Petersen
Kraken Select: LW Carl Grundstrom
In his first full NHL season, the 23-year-old posted six goals and 11 points in 23 games but is still young and showed potential in 2018-19, when he recorded five goals in his first 15 NHL games. Grundstrom also recorded five goals and 13 points in 18 games with the Allsvenskan’s IF Bjorkloven.
Protected: C Joel Eriksson Ek, C Victor Rask, LW Mats Zuccarello (NMC), LW Marcus Foligno, LW Jordan Greenway, LW Zach Parise (NMC), LW Kevin Fiala, RHD Jared Spurgeon (NMC), LHD Ryan Suter (NMC), LHD Jonas Brodin (NMC), G Kaapo Kahkonen
Kraken Select: RHD Matt Dumba
With the Wild having to protect three defensemen and two young forwards in Eriksson Ek and Greenway, the 26-year-old appears to be the favorite to get taken. While averaging 23:39 per game this season (second on the Wild), including 1:15 on the penalty kill and 54 seconds on the power play, Dumba recorded six goals, 21 points, a +1 rating, a 48.58% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, and a 52.95% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage in 51 games.
Protected: C Phillip Danault, C Jesperi Kotkaniemi, LW Arturri Lehkonen, LW Jonathan Drouin, RW Josh Anderson, RW Brendan Gallagher (NMC), RW Tyler Toffoli, RHD Jeff Petry (NMC), LHD Ben Chiarot, RHD Shea Weber, G Carey Price (NMC)
Kraken Select: RHD Brett Kulak
The Kraken will most likely pick the 27-year-old analytical darling after he recorded two goals, eight points, a +3 rating, a 56.33% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, and a 52.92% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage while averaging 16:06 per game in 46 games this season.
Protected: LW Calle Jarnkrok, LW Filip Forsberg, RW Viktor Arvidsson, RW Luke Kunin, LHD Roman Josi (NMC), LHD Mattias Ekholm, RHD Alexandre Carrier, RHD Ryan Ellis, G Juuse Saros
Kraken Select: LW Yakov Trenin
With the Predators known for their strong defensemen, the Kraken will take the 24-year-old, who recorded five goals and 11 points in 45 NHL regular-season games and two goals in six Stanley Cup Playoff games this season. Trenin also posted four goals and seven points in 21 games with the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg this season.
New Jersey Devils
Protected: C Michael McLeod, C Janne Kuokkanen, C Pavel Zacha, C Nico Hischier, C Yegor Sharangovich, LW Miles Wood, LW Jesper Bratt, LHD Jonas Siegenthaler, LHD Colby Sissons, LHD Damon Severson, G MacKenzie Blackwood
Kraken Select: G Evan Cormier
With few appealing options on the Devils, the Kraken will use this pick to take the third goalie that they are required to acquire in the expansion draft. The 23-year-old posted a 3-5-3 record, an .888 save percentage, and a 3.40 goals-against average in 11 games with the AHL’s Binghamton Devils this season.
New York Islanders
Protected: C Jean-Gabriel Pageau, C Brock Nelson, C Mathew Barzal, LW Anders Lee, LW Anthony Beauvillier, RW Josh Bailey, RW Jordan Eberle, LHD Scott Mayfield, RHD Ryan Pulock, LHD Adam Pelech, G Semyon Varlamov
Kraken Select: C Kieffer Bellows
The Kraken could opt to take defenseman Nick Leddy but he did not have a great season and is 30 years old and has one year left at $5.5 million before becoming eligible for unrestricted free agency. So, the Kraken opt to take a young forward between Bellows, Josh Ho-Sang, and Michael Dal Colle. With three goals in 14 NHL games and 22 in 52 AHL games this season, Bellows, 23, appears the top choice of the three.
New York Rangers
Protected: C Filip Chytil, C Mika Zibanejad (NMC), C Ryan Strome, C Colin Blackwell, LW Artemi Panarin (NMC), LW Chris Kreider (NMC), RW Pavel Buchnevich, RHD Jacob Trouba (NMC), LHD Ryan Lindgren, LHD Libor Hajek, G Alexandar Georgiev
Kraken Select: RW Julien Gauthier
With no appealing options on defense or in goal, the Kraken will likely take a forward from the Rangers. After posting two goals and eight points in 30 games with the Rangers and back-to-back seasons with at least 26 goals in the AHL, the 23-year-old appears to be the most appealing choice from the Blueshirts.
Protected: C Chris Tierney, C Logan Brown, C Drake Batherson, LW Brady Tkachuk, LW Connor Brown, RW Evgenii Dadonov, RW Colin White, LHD Thomas Chabot, RHD Josh Brown, LHD Victor Mete, G Filip Gustavsson
Kraken Select: LW Vitaly Abramov
There are not many good options to pick from the Senators, especially on the blueline, so the Kraken once again go with a young forward in the 23-year-old, who followed up an 18-goal, 41-point season in the AHL by posting seven goals and 19 points in 23 games with the Belleville Senators.
Protected: C Kevin Hayes (NMC), C Sean Couturier, LW Claude Giroux (NMC), LW Scott Laughton, LW James Van Riemsdyk, LW Oskar Lindblom, RW Travis Konecny, LHD Shayne Gostisbehere, RHD Philippe Myers, LHD Ivan Provorov, G Carter Hart
Kraken Select: RW Jakub Voracek
With the Flyers having multiple young forwards to protect, they may have no choice but to expose the 31-year-old, who recorded 34 assists and 43 points in 53 games this season. Voracek has never finished a season with lower than 24 assists or 38 points in a single season in his 13-season NHL career.
Protected: C Evgeni Malkin (NMC), C Sidney Crosby (NMC), C Teddy Blueger, LW Jared McCann, LW Jake Guentzel, RW Bryan Rust, RW Kasperi Kapanen, LHD Brian Dumoulin, LHD Marcus Pettersson, RHD Kris Letang (NMC), G Tristan Jarry
Kraken Select: LW Zach Aston-Reese
The Kraken will take one of the best shut-down forwards in the game by picking the 26-year-old, who set a career-high with nine goals in 45 games this season. They could also pick left-wing Jason Zucker or right-wing Brandon Tanev but Aston-Reese is younger and cheaper.
San Jose Sharks
Protected: C Tomas Hertl, C Logan Couture, LW Ryan Donato, LW Evander Kane, LW Timo Meier, RW Jonathan Dahlen, RW Rudolfs Balcers, LHD Marc-Edouard Vlasic (NMC), RHD Brent Burns, RHD Erik Karlsson (NMC), G Josef Korenar
Kraken Select: RW Kevin Labanc
With numerous talented prospects needing to be protected, the Sharks may have no choice but to expose the 25-year-old, who earned 12 goals and 28 points in 55 games this season but tallied a -33 rating (tied for the fifth-worst in the NHL) in 2019-20. Labanc posted 17 goals and 56 points in 2018-19 but has declined since. However, in the prime of his career and not many great alternatives, he is a good pick for the Kraken.
St. Louis Blues
Protected: C Brayden Schenn, C Ryan O’Reilly, LW Zach Sanford, RW Robert Thomas, RW Jordan Kyrou, RW David Perron, RW Vladimir Tarasenko, LHD Justin Faulk, RHD Colton Parayko, LHD Torey Krug, G Jordan Binnington
Kraken Select: LHD Vince Dunn
There are trade rumors surrounding the 24-year-old so the Blues could get something for Dunn, who finished the season with six goals, 20 points, a -8 rating, a 45.04% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and a 47.69% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 43 games this season. With three defensemen ahead of him and an abundance of forwards needing to be protected, Dunn’s days in St. Louis appear to be numbered. 25-year-old left wing Sammy Blais, who recorded eight goals and 15 points in 36 games this season, could be the favorite to get taken if Dunn gets traded.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Protected: C Brayden Point, C Steven Stamkos (NMC), C Anthony Cirelli, RW Nikita Kucherov (NMC), RW Ondrej Palat, LW Yanni Gourde, LW Alex Killorn, LHD Victor Hedman (NMC), LHD Mikhail Sergachev, RHD Erik Cernak, G Andrei Vasilevskiy
Kraken Select: C Alex Barre-Boulet
There are a few mouth-watering options from the Lightning but the Kraken opt to take the 24-year-old, who racked up three goals in 15 NHL games and eight goals and 12 points in 10 AHL games this season, as he is entering his prime and has recorded solid numbers in the minors. Barre-Boulet recorded 34 goals and 68 points in 74 games during his first AHL season in 2018-19 and 27 goals and 56 points in 60 games last season.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Protected: C John Tavares (NMC), C Auston Matthews, RW Mitch Marner, RW William Nylander, RHD T.J. Brodie, LHD Morgan Reilly, RHD Justin Holl, LHD Jake Muzzin, G Jack Campbell
Kraken Select: LHD Travis Dermott
After Holl broke out this season, the 24-year-old, who put up two goals, six points, a -1 rating, a 51.08% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, and a 55.71% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage in 51 games this season, appears to be in hot water. Dermott averaged 17:19 per game, including 1:09 while shorthanded.
Protected: C Elias Pettersson, LW Tyler Motte, C Bo Horvat, LW J.T. Miller, LW Tanner Pearson, RW Brock Boeser, LW Matthew Highmore, RHD Tyler Myers, LHD Olli Juolevi, LHD Nate Schmidt, G Thatcher Demko
Kraken Select: RW Kole Lind
No one on the Canucks’ exposed list screams “must take,” so the Kraken end up taking the 22-year-old, who recorded five goals and eight points in eight AHL games this season and 30 assists and 44 points in 61 last. Left wing Petrus Palmu (23) and right wing Lukas Jasek (22) are other options but do not appear as appealing as Lind.
Protected: C Nicklas Backstrom (NMC), C Evgeny Kuznetsov, LW Conor Sheary, RW Tom Wilson, RW T.J. Oshie, RW Daniel Sprong, RW Anthony Mantha, LHD Dmitry Orlov, LHD Brenden Dillon, RHD John Carlson, G Ilya Samsonov
Kraken Select: RHD Nick Jensen
The 30-year-old appears to be the favorite to get taken from the Capitals after a strong 2020-21 season where he finished with two goals, 14 points, a +5 rating, a 50.24% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, and a 53.58% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage while averaging 17:18 per game, including 2:38 on the penalty kill in 53 games. Defenseman Justin Schultz could be taken after posting three goals, 27 points, and a +12 rating in 46 games but he has never been known as a strong defensive player in his NHL career and carries a $4 million cap hit. After strong seasons by Sprong and Sheary, two of the team’s youngest forwards on an aging roster, it makes sense to protect them and expose Lars Eller, especially since he would not likely be the Kraken’s top target as he is 32 and coming off of an injury-plagued season.
Protected: C Andrew Copp, C Pierre-Luc Dubois, C Mark Scheifele, LW Kyle Connor, RW Nikolaj Ehlers, RW Blake Wheeler (NMC), RW Mason Appleton, RHD Neal Pionk, LHD Josh Morrissey, RHD Dylan DeMelo, G Connor Hellebuyck
Kraken Select: C Adam Lowry
With a few young forwards needing to be protected in addition to the team’s top offensive players, the Kraken will take the 28-year-old after he posted 10 goals and 24 points in 52 games this past season since the options are not attractive on the blueline or in goal. Lowry also finished the season with an impressive 53.8% winning percentage at the dot, which should give the Kraken a shutdown center who is a faceoff specialist.
This roster currently has an average age of 25.8 years old.
With the team drafted, here is the projected lineup:
Kahun — Mason McTavish — Voracek
Heinen — Domi — Labanc
Gauthier — Lowry — Nichushkin
Aston-Reese — Bellows — Trenin
Extra: Abramov, Lind, Svechnikov, Barre-Boulet, Grundstrom
Giordano — Dumba
De Haan — Gardiner
Dunn — Miller
Extra: Forsling, Kulak, Jensen, Lauzon, Dermott, Jones
The roster includes 15 forwards, 12 defensemen, and three goaltenders, and the cap hit is around $76.5 million at the moment (less than the cap ceiling of $82.5 million) but that will likely change as the Kraken will get a few pending free agents under contract. 17 players are under contract at the moment but the Kraken can hit the lower limit by signing a few restricted free agents that they take. They can get under the salary cap by dealing a number of the players they select for picks or prospects.
This would not be a bad start for the Kraken as this team has a solid top-six forward group, deep blueline, and two No. 1 goalies. For an expansion team, their center depth looks pretty good but Andersson and McTavish will have to live up to their potential for the Kraken to be in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoff mix. They will have to build at center through the NHL Draft, trades, or free agency. Luckily for the Kraken, they have the No. 2 overall pick, and the top pick is expected to be defenseman Owen Powers. McTavish is ranked second overall among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, so that should patch the hole a little bit. The bottom-six is decent but may need improvement for the Kraken to compete right away.
NoVa Caps will do two more mock expansion drafts this offseason. The first will come after the roster freeze and the other following the reveal of each teams’ protection lists.
By Harrison Brown