Seattle Kraken plan for expansion draft as NHL teams leave players available for selection

ByGreg Wyshynski ESPN logo
Thursday, July 22, 2021

Montreal Canadiensgoalie Carey Price and St. Louis Blueswinger Vladimir Tarasenko were among several star players left exposed in the Seattle Kraken expansion draft, as the NHL revealed its teams' protected lists on Sunday.

The Kraken will select one player from 30 NHL teams, as the Vegas Golden Knights are exempt from the draft. The selections will be revealed beginning on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET during a 90-minute special on ESPN2.

Teams could choose to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and a goalie, or they could protect eight skaters and a goalie if they felt the need to protect a fourth defenseman -- something the Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs opted to do.

Teams didn't need to protect unrestricted free agents, so players such asWashington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, Boston Bruins winger Taylor Hall and Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton were left exposed in the draft.The Kraken can select those players, but there's little upside in doing so, since they can sign with whichever club they choose starting July 28.

Among the notable names who are under contract for the 2021-22 season and were left exposed by their teams:

  • Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique ($5.825 average annual value on his contract, signed through 2023-24) and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk ($3.9 million AAV through 2022-23).
  • Buffalo Sabres forward Jeff Skinner, who waived his no-movement clause to be exposed in the draft. His contract carries a $9 million cap hit through the 2026-27 season. It's notable that he played for Seattle general manager Ron Francis in Carolina and that Kraken assistant GM Jason Botterill signed him to that contract while in Buffalo.
  • Carolina Hurricanes winger Nino Niederreiter, who has one more season at a $5.25 million cap hit before hitting unrestricted free agency.
  • Calgary Flames forward Milan Lucic ($5.25 million AAV through 2022-23), who waived his no-movement clause, and defenseman Mark Giordano, a 37-year-old former Norris Trophy winner who has one more year left at $6.75 million against the cap.
  • Colorado Avalanche winger Joonas Donskoi ($3.9 million AAV through 2022-23) and defenseman Erik Johnson ($6 million AAV through 2022-23), who waived his no-movement clause so the team could protect Cale Makar, Sam Girard and Devon Toews.
  • Columbus Blue Jackets center Max Domi ($5.3 million AAV through 2021-22), whom the team acquired in a high-profile trade last offseason.
  • Dallas Stars goalie Ben Bishop, whose contract runs through 2022-23 and carries a $4,916,666 cap hit. The three-time Vezina finalist did not play this season because of injuries and waived his no-movement clause so the team could protect goalie Anton Khudobin.
  • Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, 35, who has two more years on his 10-year deal with a cap hit of $5.8 million.
  • Minnesota Wildgoalie Kaapo Kahkonen, 24, who has one more year at $725,000 against the cap. The Wild instead chose to protect goalie Cam Talbot, 34.
  • Montreal Canadiens goalie Price, who waived his no-movement clause so his team could protect backup goalie Jake Allen. The gamble here is that Price's contract, which runs through 2025-26 and carries a $10.5 million cap hit, will deter the Kraken from selecting the 33-year-old star.
  • New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban, who has one more year on his deal with a $9 million cap hit.
  • New York Islanderswingers Josh Bailey ($5 million AAV through 2023-24) and Jordan Eberle ($5.5 million through 2023-24). The Islanders, meanwhile, protected fourth liners Cal Clutterbuck and Matt Martin.
  • Nashville Predators centers Ryan Johansen ($8 million AAV through 2024-25) and Matt Duchene ($8 million AAV through 2025-26), as the team enters what GM David Poile calls a "competitive rebuild."
  • Ottawa SenatorswingerEvgenii Dadonov, who is signed through 2022-23 at a $5 million cap hit and was a high-profile free-agent signing last offseason. They also left former Penguins goalie Matt Murray ($6.25 million AAV through 2023-24) exposed.
  • Philadelphia Flyers forwards James van Riemsdyk ($7 million AAV through 2022-23) and Jakub Voracek ($8.25 million AAV through 2023-24), as well as defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere ($4.5 million AAV through 2022-23). All three played for Kraken coach Dave Hakstol when he was with the Flyers.
  • Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jason Zucker ($5.5 million AAV through 2022-23), whom they traded a first-round pick to acquire in February 2020.
  • Blues star forward Tarasenko, who has requested a trade from the team over his dissatisfaction with how it handled his multiple shoulder surgeries. The 29-year-old goal scorer has two years left on his contract at $7.5 million against the cap. The Blues also exposed defenseman Vince Dunn, a restricted free agent.
  • Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat ($5.3 million AAV through next season), center Tyler Johnson ($5 million AAV through 2022-23), winger Alex Killorn ($4.45 million AAV through 2022-23) and center Yanni Gourde ($5,166,666 AAV through 2024-25).
  • Washington Capitals defensemen Justin Schultz ($4 million AAV through next season) andBrenden Dillon($3.9 million AAV through 2023-24). The Caps, meanwhile, protectedTrevor van Riemsdyk ($950,000 AAV through 2022-23).

The full lists can be found here. Similar to the 2017 expansion draft for the Golden Knights, there might be side deals in play to ensure the Kraken don't select certain players who were left exposed. That's how Vegas ended up with mainstays such as forward Alex Tuch and defenseman Shea Theodore.

Meanwhile, the Kraken can now begin interviewing free agents who were left exposed in the expansion draft. It's expected that Florida Panthers goalie Chris Driedger, an unrestricted free agent, will be one of them. If the Kraken sign a free agent before the expansion draft, that free agent will count as the team's selected player.

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