With the NHL Expansion Draft for the Seattle Kraken four days away and the roster freeze in effect through 1 PM ET on Thursday, NoVa Caps takes a fifth cut at analyzing the expansion draft. You can read our first four drafts (after 2018-19, 2019-20 seasons, halfway through 2020-21, and right before the 2021 Stanley Cup Final) 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).
The following players have agreed to waive their N0 Movement Clause for expansion purposes:
- RHD Erik Johnson (COL)
- LW Jeff Skinner (BUF)
- G Ben Bishop (DAL)
- LW Milan Lucic (CGY)
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 Darcy Kuemper
Kraken Select: LW Dryden Hunt
With a lot of pending unrestricted free agents in Arizona, the Kraken could take the 25-year-old, who posted three goals and eight points in 26 games last season. He showed some potential with the Florida Panthers in 2018-19, as well, when he finished with three goals and 10 points in 31 games.
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 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, C Mikael Backlund, 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 Caleb Jones, 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, C Nazem Kadri, LW Valeri Nichushkin, C Tyson Jost, LHD Devon Toews, RHD Cale Makar, LHD Sam Girard, G Jonas Johansson
Kraken Select: RW J.T. Compher
The Kraken will likely take the 26-year-old, who is still in his prime and posted back-to-back seasons with at least 31 points before posting 18 in 48 games this past season, with nothing appealing on defense or in goal to choose from and many of the team’s forwards set to become unrestricted free agents.
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 Radek Faksa, LW Jamie Benn (NMC), LW Denis Gurianov, RW Alexander Radulov (NMC), RW Joe Pavelski, LHD Esa Lindell, RHD John Klingberg, RHD Miro Heiskanen, G Anton Khudobin
Kraken Select: C Joel L’Esperance
With many unrestricted free agents on the backend and goaltender Ben Bishop having had injury issues throughout his NHL career, the Kraken take the 25-year-old, who posted two goals in 12 NHL games this season and has had success in the AHL and short stints in the NHL.
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, LHD Nick Leddy, 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, C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, LW Dominik Kahun, C Jujhar Khiara, LHD Darnell Nurse, LHD Duncan Keith, RHD Ethan Bear, G Stuart Skinner
Kraken Select: RW Zack Kassian
The 30-year-old had a down season but was limited to 27 games due to injury showed some scoring potential the past two years where he finished with 15 goals in each of them. Kassian set a career-high 34 points in 2019-20 and gives the Kraken some grit and someone that could swing the game with his physicality.
Protected: C Carter Verhaeghe, C Aleksander Barkov, LW Jonathan Huberdeau (NMC), LW Sam Bennett, LW Anthony Duclair, RW Frank Vatrano, RW Patric Hornqvist, LHD Gustav Forsling, RHD Aaron Ekblad, LHD MacKenzie Weegar, G Sergei Bobrovsky (NMC)
Kraken Select: G Chris Driedger
According to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, all signs point to the Kraken signing the 27-year-old, who went 14-6-3 with a .929 save percentage, a 2.09 goals-against average, and three shutouts this past season, as their expansion pick from the Panthers. In 12 games in 2019-20, Driedger went 7-2-1 with a .938 save percentage, a 2.05 goals-against average, and a shutout. If they were willing to wait until July 28 to sign him at a lower opportunity cost, the most likely selection would have been left-handed defenseman Markus Nutivaara. The 27-year-old played in just 30 games this season but took advantage when given a jersey with 10 assists, a 54.69% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, a 54.76% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, a 55.85% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage, and a 55.1% shot-attempts for percentage.
Los Angeles Kings
Protected: C Anze Kopitar, LW Andreas Athanasiou, LW Alex Iafallo, LW Adrian Kempe, RW Dustin Brown, C Lias Andersson, RW Viktor Arvidsson, LHD Olli Maatta, RHD Drew Doughty (NMC), RHD Matt Roy, G Cal Petersen
Kraken Select: C Trevor Moore
In his first full NHL season, the 26-year-old posted 10 goals and 23 points in 56 games and is still in his prime. He was only one of seven Kings to hit double digits in goals and was tied for sixth in points. As Los Angeles has to protect their younger forwards, Moore could be in hot water after a big step in his development in 2020-21.
Protected: C Joel Eriksson Ek, C Victor Rask, LW Mats Zuccarello (NMC), LW Marcus Foligno, LW Jordan Greenway, RW Ryan Hartman, LW Kevin Fiala, RHD Jared Spurgeon (NMC), RHD Matt Dumba, LHD Jonas Brodin (NMC), G Kaapo Kahkonen
Kraken Select: LHD Carson Soucy
The 26-year-old has not gotten much opportunity in his first two NHL seasons but has played well when given a chance after recording seven goals, 14 points, and a +16 rating in 55 games in 2019-20 and one goal, 17 points, a +22 rating, a 42.54% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, a 49.13% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and a 45.96% five-on-five scoring-chances for percentage. His defensive numbers took a hit this season but Soucy is still young and his statistics at both ends of the rink overall are pretty solid.
Protected: C Jesperi Kotkaniemi, LW Arturri Lehkonen, LW Jonathan Drouin, RW Josh Anderson, RW Brendan Gallagher (NMC), RW Tyler Toffoli, C Jake Evans, RHD Jeff Petry (NMC), LHD Ben Chiarot, LHD Joel Edmundson, G Carey Price (NMC)
Kraken Select: LHD 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, C Colton Sissons, RW Luke Kunin, LHD Roman Josi (NMC), LHD Mattias Ekholm, RHD Alexandre Carrier, RHD Dante Fabbro, 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 Ryan Graves, 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 Ryan Ellis, RHD Travis Sanheim, 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.
Reported Protected List: C Evgeni Malkin (NMC), C Sidney Crosby (NMC), C Teddy Blueger, LW Brandon Tanev, LW Jake Guentzel, RW Bryan Rust, RW Kasperi Kapanen, LHD Brian Dumoulin, RHD Mark Friedman, RHD Kris Letang (NMC), G Casey DeSmith
Kraken Select: LHD Marcus Pettersson
The Kraken will take one of the Penguins’ best two-way defenseman who is just 25 years old and recorded two goals, nine points, a +8 rating, a 48.92% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, a 51.16% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and a 48.89% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 47 games this season. Pettersson averaged 16:29 per game in 2020-21 (seventh among Penguins defensemen), including 45 seconds on the penalty kill, and tallied a career-high 22 points in 69 games in 2019-20. They could take goaltender Tristan Jarry, but Pettersson is a much more reliable and younger player.
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 Adin Hill
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.
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: C Jared McCann
With four defensemen needing to be protected on the Maple Leafs, the Kraken will take the 25-year-old, who posted 14 goals and 32 points in 43 games this past season. He notched 35 points in 66 games in 2019-20 and has excelled defensively.
Reported Protection List: C Elias Pettersson, LW Tyler Motte, C Bo Horvat, LW J.T. Miller, LW Tanner Pearson, RW Brock Boeser, C Jason Dickinson, LHD Guillaume Brisebois, LHD Olli Juolevi, LHD Nate Schmidt, G Thatcher Demko
Kraken Select: G Braden Holtby
Word came out on Friday that the Kraken are interested in the 31-year-old goaltender, who played just 21 games last season and finished with a career-worst 7-11-3 record, .889 save percentage, and a 3.67 goals-against average in his first season in Vancouver. However, Holtby is a proven Stanley Cup Playoff performer and will make for a reliable back-up goaltender. He led the Washington Capitals to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in 2018.
Protected: C Nicklas Backstrom (NMC), C Evgeny Kuznetsov, LW Conor Sheary, RW Tom Wilson, RW T.J. Oshie, C Lars Eller, 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.
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 26.8 years old.
With the team drafted, here is the projected lineup:
Kahun — Matthew Berniers — Voracek
Heinen — Domi — Labanc
Gauthier — McCann — Compher
Aston-Reese — Lowry — Moore
Extra: Abramov, Svechnikov, Barre-Boulet, Bellows, Hunt
Giordano — De Haan
Pettersson — Miller
Dunn — Jensen
Extra: Lauzon, Soucy, Gardiner, Kulak
The roster includes 16 forwards, 11 defensemen, and three goaltenders, and the cap hit is around $77.6 million at the moment but that will likely change as the Kraken will likely trade numerous players after they make their picks on Wednesday. 19 of these players are under contract, but that will go up to the minimum of 20 when Driedger signs a contract.
This would not be a bad start for the Kraken as this team has a solid top-six forward group, deep blueline, and a formidable goalie tandem. For an expansion team, their center depth looks pretty good but Bernier 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. Berniers is projected to be the second overall pick, so that should patch the hole a little bit. The bottom-six is decent but may need another proven scorer for the Kraken to compete right away.
NoVa Caps will do one more mock expansion draft this offseason, which will come after each team’s protection lists are revealed. It will be posted on Tuesday, the day before the Kraken’s picks are released (8 PM ET, ESPN2).
By Harrison Brown