Scrimmage and Stats NHL Expansion Draft

2021 NHL Expansion Draft

With the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft upon us, it’s time to do the exercise of seeing how teams will strategize this time around with the incoming Seattle Kraken. Some GMs are looking to play it smart during this Expansion Draft, as many were left looking rather silly after the 2017 Expansion Draft in Vegas.

Seattle’s great fiscal flexibility, coupled with a flat Salary Cap for the upcoming, will make for some really ballsy and interesting selections. I hope you all enjoy!

Anaheim Ducks

Protection List:

F: Jakob Silfverberg, Rickard Rakell, Troy Terry, Max Jones, Sam Steel, Isac Lundestrom, Sonny Milano
D: Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, Cam Fowler
G: John Gibson

Notable exposed: Adam Henrique, Danton Heinen, Kevin Shattenkirk, Hadyn Fleury, Josh Mahura

Selection: Kevin Shattenkirk

This was a lot of fun for the young Anaheim Ducks. With many of their most valuable assets being exempt from the Expansion Draft, they’ll likely favour their young veterans and try exposing some of the more expensive vets.

It really came down to a two-man race between Henrique or Shattenkirk for me. However, given the value of right defensemen, and the Cup experience that Shattenkirk possesses, he could be a guy that Ron Francis sees as being able to shoulder the transition from expansion to consistent play for the Kraken.

Arizona Coyotes

Protection List:

F: Clayton Keller, Phil Kessel, Nick Schmaltz, Christian Dvorak, Lawson Crouse, Conor Garland, Christian Fischer
D: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Jakob Chychrun,
Ilya Lyubushkin
G; Kuemper

Notable exposed: Tyler Pitlick, Johan Larsson

Selection: Tyler Pitlick

Honestly not much that the Seattle Kraken can realistically take from the Coyotes that could serve their franchise long-term in a meaningful way (I say this respectfully, as Arizona’s best assets are on the young side). I struggled, but ultimately felt like Pitlick had the experience and physicality.

Boston Bruins

Protection List:

F: Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Charlie Coyle, Jake DeBrusk, Craig Smith, Trent Frederic
D: Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk, Brandon Carlo
G: Daniel Vladar

Notable exposed: Nick Ritchie, Ondrej Kase, John Moore, Jeremy Lauzon, Tuuka Rask, Kevan Miller

Selection: Nick Ritchie

With a team that is so top-heavy like the Bruins, their protection list was one of the easiest to produce outside of the goaltender position. With both Rask and Halak slated to become UFAs, it made no sense to protect either (especially with Rask saying he only wants to be in Boston), and with Swayman exempt, it became evident Vladar (another solid young goalie in Boston’s pipeline) should be the one protected.

Nick Ritchie, a former top-10 pick, could bring a lot of sandpaper and could be given more of a chance to play in an offensive setting on a regular basis. He’ll stick up for his teammates and make sure the re-aligned Pacific Division takes notice of the Seattle Kraken.

Buffalo Sabres

Protection List:

F: Jack Eichel, Zemgus Girgensons, Sam Reinhart, Victor Olofsson, Tage Thompson, Casey Mittelstadt, Rasmus Asplund
D: Rasmus Ristolainen, Rasmus Dahlin, Henri Jokiharju
G: Linus Ullmark

Notable exposed: Kyle Okposo, Cody Eakin, Jeff Skinner, Anders Bjork, Colin Miller, Jake McCabe

Selection: Anders Bjork

The Buffalo Sabres don’t have much to offer in terms of overall depth, as depth has been their biggest issue for the last 10 years. That being said, there are still some interesting pieces that the Kraken could make use of in the present and future, and this is why I decided to select Anders Bjork.

As a younger, controllable asset, he could finally be given a chance to play a regular shift in the Kraken’s top-9 and thrive in a secondary scoring role. He did moderately well in Buffalo after being traded from Boston at the Trade Deadline, and perhaps Ron Francis believes that there is more untapped potential in the 24-year-old.

Calgary Flames

Protection List:

F: Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Dillon Dubé
D: Chris Tanev, Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Andersson
G; Jakob Markstrom

Notable exposed: Mark Giordano, Milan Lucic, Oliver Kylington, Tim Parsons, Ryan Derek, Josh Leivo

Selection: Oliver Kylington

*I would like to preface first that, Milan Lucic has already said he would waive his No Mouvement Clause for the Expansion Draft earlier this year, and this is why he was not protected*

The hardest decision here was deciding to expose Captain Mark Giordano, and the reasons are his age (37), the value of his contract (6.75 million) and it’s length (1 more season until UFA). He’ll be getting ready to turn 39 at the start of his next deal, and I felt it was the right move to sacrifice him in order to protect Tanec, Hanifin and Andersson.

That being said, Seattle would likely hesitate in selecting Giordano, due to his cap hit, as his salary would eat up about 8.3% of Seattle’s Cap space. Instead, I believe they go for the less talented, and younger option on defense in Oliver Kylington.

As we saw with the Vegas Expansion Draft, defensemen are always more valuable, as they can be used as trade chips and you can never get enough of them during a full season. Kylington had difficulty finding a spot in Calgary’s lineup due to the signing of Nikita Nesterov and the return fo Jusso Valimaki. In Seattle, he could be given a chance to really grow on a 3rd pair and settle into a full-time NHL role.

Again, I can totally understand those that would have chosen Giordano here, but I simply don’t think they want to chose these high value contract proactively, unless incentivized, if you get my drift.

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