The protected lists for all 30 (curse you Vegas) NHL clubs have been released to the league and to the public, and there are more than a few surprises. It appears the Kraken could build a legitimately good team from the jump, so long as they’re willing to take on a few medium-to-large contracts. Of course, some of the surprising names left available could be protected in a side deal that we won’t hear about until Wednesday, but for now, we’re working with what we’ve got.
Here’s one possible expansion roster for the Seattle Kraken based on the actual protected lists released by the 30 NHL teams. All cap info and graphics come from Cap Friendly’s own Seattle expansion tool, be sure to check it out over these next couple days until the team is official.
2021-2022 contracts: 25
Cap hit: $77.1M
-This cap charge is much higher than what the Kraken want to go into the year with, but the idea here is to immediately trade away a few of these players for more draft picks and prospects. Vegas loaded up on defenders in the expansion draft and flipped a few of them within a day. Mark Giordano is a prime candidate for this, along with potentially a Jordan Eberle or Max Domi.
-Vladimir Tarasenko is too good to pass up. It’s difficult to find a 40-goal scorer anywhere, let alone in an expansion draft. His $7.5M cap hit is high but worth it, assuming he’s healthy and ready to go this season
-Relatedly, James van Riemsdyk gets left off this list because he’s got nearly the same cap charge as Tarasenko with about half the goal-scoring upside. We’ll take a chance with Hakstol’s former player Shayne Gostisbehere instead.
-There are so many good options available from Tampa. Ondrej Palat, Alex Kilorn, and Tyler Johnson would all be fine choices, but Gourde plays center more regularly and the center position is hard to come by. He’s also just really damn good.
— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) July 18, 2021
-Jared McCann was just picked up by Toronto in a trade with Pittsburgh. He’s adored by the analytics crowd and has some of the best rate stats in the league. There could be a side deal here, assuming the Leafs don’t want to lose a guy they just swapped a prospect and a pick for.
-Haydn Fleury was a former Ron Francis pick in Carolina. A reunion of sorts seems very possible
-Chris Driedger has already been reported as a likely selection from the Panthers. Vita Vanecek came out of nowhere last year and proved to be an NHL-caliber goaltender, so they’ll compete for the starting job in year one.
-Washington also left defenseman Justin Schultz available. He could easily be a target, in which case we’ll need to find another goaltender somewhere, perhaps Braden Holtby from Vancouver
As of now, it appears the Kraken will have a chance to ice a really competitive team from the jump this October. Or at the very least, they should clean up in those expansion side deals that Vegas has been praised for these past four years. We’ll find out for sure on Wednesday at 5pm.