Who could the Kraken snag from Chicago?
It's only fitting that we speak about Seattle today.
Thursday they announced that they will be officially called the Kraken.
Sure. Cool enough for me. And with this announcement, Seattle joining the NHL is more of a reality for me.
So, let's dive into who the Kraken could swallow up off of Chicago's roster in the summer of 2021 when the expansion draft takes place.
First, a couple of refreshers, the roster protection rules remain the same as they were in 2017 for the Vegas Golden Knights draft. Those are that teams can protect:
7 forwards, 3 defence, and 1 goalie
8 players and 1 goalie
Last time around, the Blackhawks opted for the former option and protected the following:
* Artem Anisimov
* Marian Hossa
* Patrick Kane
* Jonathan Toews
* Ryan Hartman
* Richard Panik
* Tomas Jurco
* Duncan Keith
* Brent Seabrook
* Niklas Hjalmarsson
* Corey Crawford
"Woof," you say… Tomas Jurco was in there?
Well, keep in mind that teams have many players that aren't eligible to be exposed.
For Seattle's expansion draft, all players who have accrued two or less professional seasons at the end of the 2020-21 season, as well as all unsigned draft choices appearing, will be exempt.
I have leaned on the reliable friends form CapFriendly to help me decide on my options if I was Stan Bowman (or whomever the GM is at this time).
A few things to note (from CapFriendly) on how these players and options were determined:
The rosters and eligible players will change as we get closer to the expansion draft
The rosters and eligible players are presented using their current stats and are projected for the 2021 offseason
The 40/70 games played requirements will not be considered until the beginning of the 2019-20 season.
All players who are not under contract in 2020-21 are currently assumed to be extended until the end of that season
Also, players with NTC/NMC must be protected. In CHI's case, that includes Kane, Toews, Keith, and Seabrook.
Ok, here we go:
Option #1 – 7F, 3D, and 1G
Seattle Selects: Lucas Carlsson
I am assuming that Brandon Saad is resigned to an extension before the summer of 2021. Therefore, he will be kept.
I have Corey Crawford resigning in Chicago this offseason, thus making him the goalie selection.
The oddest protected player you're thinking is Brandon Hagel. I have opted to keep him over Kampf, Carpenter, and Highmore and I see him with more offensive upside – plus he's real cheap.
Connor Murphy was kept over the likes of Olli Maatta and Slater Koekkoek (if they are still in CHI). Calvin de Haan is also available and – if healthy – could be a good pick for SEA as a veteran defender.
However, I have Seattle ultimately snagging Lucas Carlsson – who will have another pro season under his belt.
Option #2 – 8 players, 1G
Seattle Selects: Alex Nylander
This is the only option I go with 8 players and 1 goalie. I personally don't like it as much but wanted to give it a shot.
The main reason being that my assumption in this one is that Lucas Carlsson has solidified himself as a top 4 (or 5 defenceman) for this team playing a key part on the PK.
Connor Murphy is a guy that the Hawks need to protect as he's been so steady for them on the defensive side.
My assumption is that Alex Nylander has struggled to take that next step. He'll be effective enough to be attractive to The Kraken, but thanks to the emergence of other young talent in Chicago becomes expendable.
Option #3 – 7F, 3D, 1G
Seattle selects: Connor Murphy
My assumptions in this one are that Brandon Saad is not resigned (or traded) and that Corey Crawford only signed a 1-year deal this offseason and the Hawks are opting to go in a different direction.
This direction is the youth movement, even more so than they have been to date.
I am assuming that Collin Delia emerged as a legit #1 goalie and made the decision easy for CHI to protect him.
I am also assuming that Connor Murphy has been surpassed by the youngers in the pipeline (like Carlsson, who has been protected), making him expendable as a $3.85M bottom pairing dman.
Now, do I believe all of this? Like Connor Murphy's game slipping or Collin Delia becoming a firm #1 starter in the NHL? Not necessarily, I was merely looking at different potential options.
Chances are the Hawks are going to chose to protect a player or two that's not even on this team yet. This player could have been signed as a UFA or acquired in a trade.
I don't think a ton will happen this offseason, however, it would be naïve to think Stan Bowman doesn't make a move or two.
We also can't rule out the possibility of a trade between CHI and SEA happening to persuade the Kraken from taking a player the Hawks really want to keep on their roster.
However, I think many teams learned from their mistakes (cough * Panthers, Ducks * cough) from the Vegas expansion draft and trades will be fewer this time around.
Plus, I think the Hawks are actually in a pretty good position here based on the options I laid out above.
Now the Kraken has been born, it will be an interesting storyline to follow leading up to the expansion draft.
Stay safe and see ya out there!