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Expansion Draft: Review

July 22, 2021, 2:38 AM ET [432 Comments]
Theo Fox
Chicago Blackhawks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT

John Quenneville.

Everyone feared he'd be the chosen one.

Not.

With all the hubbub about whether the Seattle Kraken would take Calvin de Haan, Nikita Zadorov, Brett Connolly, Adam Gaudette, or Malcolm Subban in the expansion draft, the new team's pick from Chicago ended up being an arguably career minor leaguer in Quenneville.

The other surprise from the perspective of Blackhawks fans was the fact that no side deals were made yesterday between Seattle and Chicago -- or any other team for that matter -- to theoretically force the Kraken to take a specific player from the exposure list.

Was the outcome of the expansion draft a negative thing for the Hawks? Sure, they could have rid themselves of a contract without needing to take another one in return. The downside to that thinking is Quenneville is a UFA so he was likely going unsigned anyway.

But Vincent Hinostroza, Brandon Pirri, Zack Smith, and Anton Lindholm are UFAs, too, while Josh Dickinson, Gaudette, de Haan, and Zadorov are RFAs. All were exposed to the Kraken like Quenneville. A return in a trade would be nice for a few of them than lose them for nothing.

Of the exposed, Hinostroza, Gaudette, de Haan, and Zadorov are the ones where it was risky to expose them not because they weren't expendable but more so because they each have some value on the market whether trading their rights or re-signing them first then do the deal.

So in this regard, the Hawks lost a player to the Kraken who most assuredly wasn't in the team's plans for 2021-22 and beyond. Add in the fact that there was no side deal to coerce Seattle to take Quenneville, then their selection of him is even more peculiar.

Yet, the expansion draft is still the front end of the offseason as far as personnel management by each team. The expansion draft wasn't going to -- or at least doesn't have to -- make or break the roster as there are other methods coming up to facilitate transactions.


There still could be a deal or two with Seattle once the trade freeze lapses at 12:00pm CDT today. However, even if the Hawks have nothing in the hopper with the Kraken, there are 30 other teams in the league to swap with over the next several weeks to reshape the organization.

The entry draft starts on Friday so a major deal involving roster players like de Haan, Zadorov, Dylan Strome, and Alex Nylander could go down. Maybe the Seth Jones trade happens. Or the Hawks could exchange draft capital with other teams to move up or down the draft.

After the entry draft is the free agency period which commences on July 28. The Hawks are expected to be active as they pursue an elite defenseman if one isn't obtainable by way of a trade (i.e. Jones) and/or veterans on one-year contracts to flip at the TDL.

What's Next

Not counting Quenneville, here's a glance at what's next -- at least from my perspective -- for those who were on the exposure list:

* Ryan Carpenter: Try to trade him for a 4th rounder or later pick; otherwise, he could be a reserve forward who provides veteran leadership then try trading him again at the TDL.

* Brett Connolly: Try to trade him for a greater return than what Carpenter would garner; otherwise, he continues as a veteran leader in the bottom 6 then try trading him again at the TDL.

* Josh Dickinson: Let him walk; I'm guessing many Hawks fans didn't even realize he was in the organization given he's likely a career minor leaguer; he didn't even play in Rockford.

* Adam Gaudette: Determine whether he's worth re-signing; his worth to the team could be compared against other free agent forwards Brandon Hagel, Pius Suter, and Hinostroza.

* Vincent Hinostroza: Determine whether he's worth re-signing, too, like Gaudette as key questions could be do they offer similar packages and does the team need both of them.

* Brandon Pirri: Let him walk; he's simply a goal scoring machine in the AHL and an unproductive shooter in the NHL who offers nothing else to a team besides a veteran presence.

* Zack Smith: Let him walk; it's not even known whether his health is at full strength so there wouldn't be many teams -- if any -- that would trade for him; perhaps he retires.

* Calvin de Haan: Try to trade him for a 3rd rounder or later pick; otherwise, pray that his health holds up this season then attempt to ship out his expiring contract at the TDL.

* Anton Lindholm: Let him walk; he's so low on the defensemen depth chart that even teenage 2020 draft picks Isaak Phillips, Michael Krutil, and Louis Crevier are ahead of him.

* Nikita Zadorov: Try to trade him for a favorable return whether for another roster player, viable prospect, or draft picks even if re-signing him first is necessary.

* Collin Delia: Try to trade him for a 4th rounder or later pick; the Hawks need to commit to Kevin Lankinen as the starter with either Delia or Subban backing him up; stop with the trio platoon.

* Malcolm Subban: Retain him unless a more experienced goalie is brought in to support Lankinen; between Subban and Delia, the former is a team player while the latter is questionable.

HockeyBuzz Poll

Results from the poll I took on who you all thought the Kraken would have taken yesterday from the Hawks:

* Nikita Zadorov (32)
* Adam Gaudette (13)
* Malcolm Subban (7)
* Calvin de Haan (5)
* Brett Connolly (3)
* John Quenneville (2)
* Ryan Carpenter (1)
* Collin Delia (1)
* Vincent Hinostroza (1)
* Anton Lindholm (1)

For those who wish to play and haven't submitted their vote yet, click here to submit your vote for who you think the Hawks will take with their 1st pick in the entry draft on Friday.

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IceHogs Openers



The AHL regular season schedules are due out on Friday while the NHL regular season schedules are due out later today.

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