Reviewing And Grading The Kraken’s 2021 NHL Expansion Draft Selections One Year Later

Photo: The Seattle Teams

With the Seattle Kraken’s first season in the books, there were plenty of missed opportunities to make this team better for GM Ron Francis, starting with the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. NoVa Caps grades each of the 30 expansion picks that the Kraken made one year later.

Anaheim Ducks

Selection: LHD Hadyn Fleury

The 25-year-old earned two goals, four points, an even rating, a 48.44% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, a 49.6% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and a 47.92% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 36 games. Fleury, the seventh overall pick in 2014, was not qualified as a restricted free agent earlier this month.

Better Alternative Pick(s): LW Danton Heinen (18-15-33 in 76 games with Pittsburgh Penguins)

Grade: C-

Arizona Coyotes

Selection: C Tyler Pitlick

The Kraken traded the 30-year-old, who scored a goal and five points in 39 games with the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens, to Northwest Canada in exchange for the 123rd overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft a day later.

Better Alternative Pick(s):

* LW Michael Bunting (pending UFA, 23-40-63 in 79 games with Toronto Maple Leafs)

* RW Christian Fischer (5-5-10 in 53 games)

* D Ilya Lybushkin (2-13-15, -2 rating, 48.46% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 48.38% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, 49.31% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 77 games with Coyotes and Maple Leafs)

* D Dysin Mayo (4-8-12, -22 rating, 39.61% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 38.61% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, 39.51% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 67 games)

Grade: F

Boston Bruins

Selection: D Jeremy Lauzon

The 25-year-old earned two goals, seven points, a -6 rating, 47.19% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 46.17% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and a 47.54% five-on-five scoring-chances for in 66 regular-season games with the Kraken and Nashville Predators. The Kraken traded Lauzon, who earned a -3 rating in three postseason games for the Predators, for the 49th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft on March 20.

Better Alternative Pick(s):

* LW Taylor Hall (pending UFA, 20-41-61 in 81 games)

* RW Nick Ritchie (12-11-23 in 57 games with Maple Leafs and Coyotes)

* D Mike Reilly (pending UFA, 4-13-17, -1 rating, 56.48% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 57.87% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and a 57.02% five-on-five scoring-chances for in 70 regular-season games)

Grade: C-

Buffalo Sabres

Selection: D Will Borgen

The 25-year-old notched two goals, eight points, a +1 rating, 52.16% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 50.83% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 50.13% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 36 games.

Better Alternative Pick(s):

* LW Jeff Skinner (33-30-63 in 80 games)

* D Jake McCabe (pending UFA, 4-18-22, -27 rating, 42.89% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 42.95% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 42.17% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 75 games)

Grade: B

Calgary Flames

Selection: D Mark Giordano

The 38-year-old posted eight goals, 35 points, a -9 rating, 52.68% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 52.84% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 52.52% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 75 regular-season games with the Kraken and Maple Leafs. Giordano, who was the Kraken’s first captain and played his 1,000th career NHL game with the team last season, was traded to the Maple Leafs, along with right-wing Colin Blackwell, for the 58th overall pick in 2022, another second-round pick next summer, and a third-round pick the following year.

Better Alternative Pick(s): N/A

Grade: A

Carolina Hurricanes

Selection: C Morgan Geekie

The 24-year-old earned seven goals and 22 points in 73 games last season.

Better Alternative Pick(s):

* RW Nino Niederreiter (24-20-44 in 75 games)

* D Dougie Hamilton (pending UFA, 9-21-30, -19 rating, 51.77% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 51.82% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, 53.02% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 62 games with New Jersey Devils)

* D Jake Bean (7-18-25, -5 rating, 48.47% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 43.92% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, 45.25% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 67 games with Columbus Blue Jackets)

Grade: D-

Chicago Blackhawks

Selection: RW John Quenneville

The 26-year-old did not sign with the Kraken and earned 20 goals and 37 points in 46 NL games for the ZSC Lions.

Better Alternative Pick(s):

* D Calvin de Haan (4-4-8, -21 rating, 47.31% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 45.48% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, 45.21% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 69 games)

* D Nikita Zadorov (4-18-22, +22 rating, 59.24% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 55.42% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, 57.26% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 74 regular-season games with Flames)

Grade: F

Colorado Avalanche

Selection: RW Joonas Donskoi

The 30-year-old notched two goals and 22 points in 75 games.

Better Alternative Pick(s):

* C J.T. Compher (18-15-33 in 70 regular-season games)

* RW Gabriel Landeskog (pending UFA; 30-29-59 in 51 games)

* RW Brandon Saad (pending UFA; 24-25-49 in 78 games with St. Louis Blues)

Grade: D+

Columbus Blue Jackets

Selection: D Gavin Bayreuther

The 28-year-old earned eight assists, an even rating, a 48.08% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 47.59% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 45.45% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 43 games after being let go by the Kraken as an unrestricted free agent and going back to Columbus.

Better Alternative Pick(s): C Max Domi (11-28-39 in 72 regular-season games with the Blue Jackets and Hurricanes)

Grade: F

Dallas Stars

Selection: D Jamie Oleksiak

The 29-year-old (who posted a goal, 17 points, a -1 rating, 50.9% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 50.78% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 51.88% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 43 games) signed a five-year contract that carries a $4.6 million cap hit as an unrestricted free agent.

Better Alternative Pick(s): N/A

Grade: B

Detroit Red Wings

Selection: D Dennis Cholowski

The 24-year-old tallied three assists, a -3 rating, 49.05% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 47.69% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 51.59% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 11 NHL games with the Kraken and Washington Capitals. He also recorded three goals, 18 points, and a +8 rating in 31 AHL games.

Better Alternative Pick(s):

* C Vladislav Namestnikov (16-14-30 in 75 regular-season games for the Red Wings and Stars)

* D Troy Stetcher (1-2-3, -7 rating, 49% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 49.2% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 46.48% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 29 regular-season games for the Red Wings and Los Angeles Kings)

Grade: D

Edmonton Oilers

Selection: D Adam Larsson

The 29-year-old (who earned eight goals, 25 points, a -23 rating, 50.23% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 45.64% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 48% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 82 games) was signed to a four-year contract that carries a $4 million cap hit as an unrestricted free agent.

Better Alternative Pick(s): N/A

Grade: A

Florida Panthers

Selection: G Chris Driedger

The 28-year-old, who signed a three-year contract that carries a $3.5 million cap hit as an unrestricted free agent, went 9-14-1 with a .899 save percentage, 2.96 goals-against average, and one shutout in 27 games. Driedger will be out until sometime between January and March this season with a torn ACL.

Better Alternative Pick(s):

* RW Frank Vatrano (18-14-32 in 71 regular-games with the Panthers and New York Rangers)

* C Noel Acciari (3-5-8 in 20 regular-season games)

* D Brandon Montour (pending UFA; 11-26-37, +15 rating, 56.34% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 54.64% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, 57.29% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 81 regular-season games)

Grade: D

Los Angeles Kings

Selection: D Kurtis MacDermid

The 28-year-old posted two goals, five points, a +1 rating, 50.91% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 48.4% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 48.77% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 58 regular-season games after getting traded to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions for a 2023 fourth-round pick.

Better Alternative Pick(s):

* LW Brendan Lemieux (8-5-13 in 50 regular-season games)

* C Andreas Athanasiou (11-6-17 in 28 regular-season games)

* D Olli Maatta (1-7-8, +17 rating, a 52.81% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 52.77% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, 52.5% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 66 regular-season games)

* G Jonathan Quick (23-13-9 with a .910 save percentage, 2.59 goals-against average, two shutouts in 46 regular-season games)

Grade: F

Minnesota Wild

Selection: D Carson Soucy

The 27-year-old notched career-highs in goals (10) and points (21) in addition to a +7 rating, career-best 50.59% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 49.54% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 50.31% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 64 games.

Better Alternative Pick(s):

* N/A

Grade: A

Montreal Canadiens

Selection: D Cale Fleury

The 23-year-old put up a -3 rating, 50.66% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 49.98% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 50% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in nine NHL games for Seattle. He also tallied seven goals, 33 points, and a +13 rating in 58 AHL outings.

Better Alternative Pick(s):

* D Brett Kulak (5-16-21, a -4 rating, 50.84% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 51.6% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 49.35% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 74 regular-season games with Canadiens and Oilers)

* RW Tomas Tatar (pending UFA; 15-15-30 in 76 games)

* C Jonathan Drouin (6-14-20 in 34 games)

Grade: B

Nashville Predators

Selection: LW Calle Jarnkrok

The 30-year-old scored 12 goals and 30 points in 65 regular-season games with the Kraken and Flames, where he was dealt for the 61st overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, a 2023 third-round pick, and a 2024 seventh on March 17.

Better Alternative Pick(s):

* C Mikael Granlund (pending UFA; 11-53-64 in 80 regular-season games)

* C Ryan Johansen (26-37-63 in 79 regular-season games)

* C Matt Duchene (43-43-86 in 78 regular-season games)

* C Erik Haula (pending UFA; 18-26-44 in 78 regular-season games with Bruins)

* C Yakov Trenin (17-7-24 in 80 regular-season games)

Grade: D+

New Jersey Devils

Selection: RW Nathan Bastian

The 24-year-old scored 12 goals and 18 points in 72 games with the Kraken and Devils, who claimed him off of waivers on November 25.

Better Alternative Pick(s):

* LW Andreas Johnsson (13-22-35 in 71 games)

Grade: D-

New York Islanders

Selection: RW Jordan Eberle

The 32-year-old scored 21 goals and 44 points in 79 games.

Better Alternative Pick(s):

* RW Josh Bailey (14-30-44 in 74 games)

Grade: B+

New York Rangers

Selection: RW Colin Blackwell

The 29-year-old tallied 10 goals and 20 points in 58 regular-season games with the Kraken and Maple Leafs.

Better Alternative Pick(s):

* C Barclay Goodrow (pending UFA; 13-20-33 in 79 regular-season games)

* D Tony DeAngelo (pending UFA; 10-41-51, +30 rating, 54.83% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 55.42% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, 54.87% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 64 regular-season games with Hurricanes)

Grade: B+

Ottawa Senators

Selection: G Joey Daccord

The 25-year-old went 0-4-0 with an .850 save percentage and a 4.30 goals-against average in five NHL games last season. He also posted a .925 save percentage and 2.28 goals-against average in 34 AHL games.

Better Alternative Pick(s):

* RW Evgenii Dadonov (20-23-43 in 78 games with Vegas Golden Knights)

* C Chris Tierney (6-12-18 in 70 games)

* G Anton Forsberg (22-17-4 record, .917 save percentage, 2.82 goals-against average, shutout in 46 games)

Grade: D-

Philadelphia Flyers

Selection: LW Carsen Twarynski

The 24-year-old tallied five goals and 18 points in 71 AHL games.

Better Alternative Pick(s):

* RW James Van Riemsdyk (24-14-38 in 82 games)

* RW Jakub Voracek (6-56-62 in 79 games with Blue Jackets)

* D Shayne Gostisbehere (14-37-51, -23 rating, 43.6% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 43.21% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, 43.31% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 82 games with Coyotes)

Grade: F

Pittsburgh Penguins

Selection: LW Brandon Tanev

The 30-year-old scored nine goals and 15 points in 30 games before tearing his ACL on December 18, which forced him to miss the rest of the season.

Better Alternative Pick(s):

* C Evan Rodrigues (19-24-43 in 82 regular-season games)

Grade: C-

San Jose Sharks

Selection: C Alex True

The 25-year-old tallied a -2 rating in eight NHL games and scored 18 goals and 42 points in 60 AHL games.

Better Alternative Pick(s):

* D Jacob Middleton (4-10-14, +10 rating, 46.24% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 50.62% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 48.45% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 66 regular-season games with Sharks and Wild)

* LW Ryan Donato (16-15-31 in 74 games with Kraken)

Grade: D+

St. Louis Blues

Selection: D Vince Dunn

The 25-year-old earned seven goals, 35 points, a -21 rating, 50.87% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 46.57% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 49.12% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 73 games.

Better Alternative Pick(s)

* G Villie Husso (25-7-6, .919 save percentage,  2.56 goals-against average, two shutouts)

* LW Vladimir Tarasenko (34-48-82 in 75 regular-season games)

Grade: D+

Tampa Bay Lightning

Selection: C Yanni Gourde

The 30-year-old tallied 21 goals and 48 points in 74 games.

Better Alternative Pick(s)

* C Ross Colton (22-17-39 in 79 regular-season games)

* LW Alex Killorn (25-34-59 in 82 regular-season games)

* LW Ondrej Palat (18-31-49 in 77 regular-season games)

Grade: C+

Toronto Maple Leafs

Selection: C Jarred McCann

The 26-year-old led the team in goals (27) and points (50) in 74 games.

Better Alternative Pick(s)

* C Alexander Kerfoot (13-38-51 in 82 games)

* G Frederik Andersen (pending UFA; 35-14-3, .922 save percentage, 2.17 goals-against average, four shutouts in 52 games with Hurricanes)

Grade: A

Vancouver Canucks

Selection: RW Kole Lind

The 23-year-old earned two goals and eight points in 23 NHL games in addition to 17 goals and 35 points in 46 AHL games.

Better Alternative Pick(s)

* C Travis Boyd (pending UFA; 17-18-35 in 74 games with Coyotes)

* D Alexander Edler (pending UFA; 3-16-19, a +19 rating, 56.91% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 58.34% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 54.89% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 41 regular-season games with Kings)

* D Travis Hamonic (pending UFA; 4-6-10, a +6 rating, 47% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 45.91% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 46.52% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 43 games with Canucks and Senators)

Grade: A-

Washington Capitals

Selection: G Vitek Vanecek

The 26-year-old went 20-12-6 with a .908 save percentage, 2.67 goals-against average (tied for 17th in NHL), and four shutouts with the Capitals after the Kraken sent him back to Washington for the Winnipeg Jets’ 2023 second-round pick a week following the expansion draft.

Better Alternative Pick(s)

* D Nick Jensen (5-16-21, +32 rating, 50.16% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 51.76% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 49.82% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 76 regular-season games)

* LW Conor Sheary (19-24-43 in 71 games)

Grade: C

Winnipeg Jets

Selection: C Mason Appleton

The 26-year-old tallied eight goals and 21 points in 68 games with the Kraken and Jets last season and was dealt back to Winnipeg for a 2023 fourth-round pick on March 20.

Better Alternative Pick(s)

* D Dylan DeMelo (1-12-13, +10 rating, 51.26% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 54.04% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 52.8% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 76 games)

Grade: C+

While there were a few good picks by the Kraken in the expansion draft, there were lots of missed opportunities which played a factor in their 27-49-6 record in their inaugural season, when they finished 37 points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot. With some additions this offseason and some of the existing pieces getting more comfortable in Seattle, expect some growth starting this season. The good news is that there’s not much room to go down in the Pacific Northwest.

OVERALL GRADE: C-

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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3 Responses to Reviewing And Grading The Kraken’s 2021 NHL Expansion Draft Selections One Year Later

  1. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, I’d give them a C overall at best. So many miscues. Some are gonna happen, but they missed a lot.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This doesn’t take into account what they were trying to do. They were trying to field a young, inexpensive team, with a small amount of veteran leaders. So many of your alternative picks are UFAs this year. What good would it be to take a player you are going to lose in a year. Better to give playing time to players with upside. Also, you can’t easily grade those types of players after one season.

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