F: Sebastian Aho, Jordan Staal, Teuvo Teravainen, Vicent Trochek, Andrei Svechnikov, Nino Niederreiter, Jesper Fast
D: Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce, Jake Bean
G: Alex Nedeljkovic
Notable exposed: Warren Foegele, Morgan Geekie, Brady Skjei, Jake Gardiner
Selection: Brady Skjei
With the Hurricanes, already losing Hamilton to free agency, it seems almost likely that they’d lose another defenseman at this point. They could not afford to go the “8 skater-1 goalie” formula (due to their great forward depth), so a decision had to be made for that 3rd protection spot on defense: Jake Bean or Brady Skjei.
Some may look at this selection as a little confusing, but I believe the Seattle Kraken would want to use a player of Skjei’s ability, despite the Cap Hit, in order to be as competitive as possible right off the bat. He brings good offensive instincts, but is unfortunately prone to brain cramps in the offensive zone.
Unlike Giordano, he’s 27 years old and in his prime, which makes it a little easier of a pill to swallow, but he would also be able to slot in right away in the powerplay plans.
It gives him an opportunity for a fresh start, as his time in Carolina simply hasn’t worked out (similarly to other defensemen that have gone through Carolina like Joel Edmundson).
F: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome, Adam Gaudette, Brandon Hagel, Henrik Borgstrom
D: Caleb Jones, Connor Murphy, Corey Stillman
G: Kevin Lankinen
Notable exposed: Brett Connolly, Ryan Carpenter, David Kampf, Calvin De Haan, Nikita Zadorov, Malcom Subban
Selection: Nikita Zadorov
Although he’s an RFA, the word out on Zadorov is he’s looking for a solid raise for his next contract. Chicago likely wants to move on from him rather than commit to the 26-year-old whilst in the middle of a retool, and I could see him being the kind of defenseman that Seattle (in a no-tax state) could entice with a lower offer than in Chicago (granted Illinois state tax isn’t high either).
Zadorov, who can play left and right defense, could provide instant value and stability on the blueline for Seattle, or could be used as a trade chip immediately for a team looking for a hard-hitting defensive d-man on the left side.
Either way, it’s good value to have as a new franchise.
F: Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon, André Burakovsky, Nazem Kadri, Tyson Jost, JT Compher, Valeri Nichuskin
D: Samuel Girard, Cale Makar, Devon Toews
G: Philip Grubauer
Notable exposed: Gabriel Landeskog (UFA), Joonas Donskoi, Erik Johnson**
Selection: Joonas Donskoi
** Erik Johnson waived his No Movement Clause**
This was tricky, as I strongly believe captain Gabriel Landeskog and goaltender Philip Grubauer are simply waiting for the Expansion Draft to pass in order to make their new deals official.
That being said, Colorado boasts an enviable amount of depth across their roster, and Seattle would have had the tough choice between Donskoi and Graves, but then Graves was just traded to New Jersey. In any case Donskoi had more to offer their team overall, given his experience and how important a role he seems to play on whichever team he’s on, no matter how deep they may be.
Graves could also have been a very viable option at that point, but I just felt like the forward ranks could use a veteran that could slide into the top-6 and be a contributing member right from the start. This selection hurts Colorado, but will given youngsters Newhook and Kaut an opportunity for more responsibility.
Columbus Blue Jackets
F: Cam Atkinson, Gustav Nyquist, Eric Robinson, Patrik Laine, Boone Jenner, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Jack Roslovic
D: Seth Jones, Zach Werenski, Vladislav Gavrikov
G: Joonas Korpisalo
Notable exposed: Max Domi, Gabriel Carlsson (if that)
Selection: Max Domi
There isn’t exactly much to work with in the form of depth here, as many of Columbus’ more valuable pieces at the moment are youngsters exempt from the Expansion Draft (Foudy, Texier, Bemstrom, Merzlikins, etc).
That being said, Max Domi is a great gamble for Ron Francis. I think he could thrive in a new environment as it simply hasn’t worked out for him in Columbus. He likely slots in as their #1C and will get ample PP time.
He brings good size and still has room to grow his offensive game. He quickly became a fan favourite in Columbus and I feel he could do just that for the Seattle Kraken and grow into a more complete player down the line.
F: Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Joe Pavelski, Alexander Radulov, Radek Faksa, Roope Hintz, Denis Gurianov
D: Miro Heiskanen, John Klingberg, Esa Lindell
G: Anton Khudobin
Notable exposed: Andrej Sekera, Ben Bishop, Blake Comeau
Selection: Blake Comeau
With Ben Bishop waiving his No Movement Clause, the biggest worry of the Dallas Stars has been put to rest. Anton Khudobin would surely have been lost to Seattle.
In the absense of Khudobin, Seattle is able to take the big Blake Comeau. The veteran forward could provide some excellent depth for Seattle, as he plays a strong game with good defensive awareness.