Scrimmage and Stats NHL Expansion Draft

2021 NHL Expansion Draft

Detroit Red Wings

Protection List:

F: Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Jakub Vrana, Vladislav Namestnikov, Michael Rasmussen, Adam Erne
D: Troy Stecher, Nick Leddy, Filip Hronek
G: Thomas Greiss

Notable exposed: Frans Neilsen, Evgeny Svechnikov, Danny DeKeyser, Christian Djoos, Dennis Chowlowski

Selection: Dennis Chowlowski

Detroit is a team that basically has about 25 valid NHL contracts for next season and a ton of Cap Space to boot. There was a thought of possibly taking DeKeyser at this pick, but his $5 million Cap Hit, given his drop off in play, posed many problems.

First off, Detroit is Seattle’s direct competition this summer as it pertains to being a “Salary Cap Broker” as they should have about 30 million in Cap Space after key RFAs are signed. Taking on DeKeyser’s contract would give them even more flexibility, whilst giving Seattle even less.

Sure, Seattle could hope that DeKeyser plays well enough that he could be traded (with 50% retention), but the return would be minimal. Unfortunately, after the Nick Leddy trade, Dennis Chowlowski became the most attractive piece for expansion. The former 1st round pick has been dynamite in the AHL, but needs a change of scenery to be able to establish himself as a top-4 D in the NHL.

Edmonton Oilers

Protection List:

F: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jesse Puljujarvi, Zack Kassian, Kailer Yamamoto, Josh Archibald
D: Darnell Nurse, Duncan Keith, Ethan Bear
G: Mikko Koskinen

Notable exposed: Dominick Kahun, James Neal, Kyle Turris, Tyler Benson

Selection: Tyler Benson

The Oilers have an offensive depth issue which is caused, in part, due to investing the wrong kinds of dollars in the wrong kids of wingers. They aren’t helping themselves here in leaving a solid young prospect in Tyler Benson exposed in favour of Archibald, but Seattle Won’t complain.

Benson makes the most sense at this point, as he provides excellent underlying numbers in the minors and is very young. He could be molded into a solid middle-6 player with possible upside with good size.

Florida Panthers

Protection List:

F: Aleksander Barkov,  Jonathan Huberdeau, Patric Hornqvist, Sam Bennet, Frank Vatrano, Carter Verhaeghe, Anthony Duclair
D: Aaron Ekblad, Gustav Forsling, Mackenzie Weegar
G: Sergei Bobrovsky

Notable exposed: Lucas Wallmark, Anton Stralman, Markus Nuutivaara, Chris Driedger

Selection: Chris Driedger

This is a tough one, due to the fact that so many of Florida’s RFAs\UFAs are still left unsigned (likely intentionally). However, with the recent news that Seattle would like to take goalie Chris Driedger and sign him, it seems like they made the choice for us.

He could likely come in and play a 1A/1B
role with Seattle, while signing with term in order to give them some much needed flexibility. With Spencer Knight ready for NHL action and Sergei Bobrovskiy not moving any time soon, this is a win-win for Florida as they don’t lose any contracted roster players.

Los Angeles Kings

Protection List:

F: Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Viktor Arvidsson, Adrian Kempe, Alex Iafallo, Andreas Athanasiou, Brendan Lemieux
D: Drew Doughty, Kale Clague, Sean Walker
G: Cal Peterson

Notable exposed: Lias Andersson, Carl Grundstrom, Jonathan Quick, Olli Maatta

Selection: Lias Andersson

LA is bursting with young talent in their pipeline, making their protection list a rather easy exercise, except for the final forward spot. I struggled between choosing Lemieux or Andersson, but ultimately believe that Andersson could easily be replaced by Vilardi or Turcotte as soon as this season.

In Andersson, the Kraken get a former 7th overall pick who’s still just 22 years of age. In this kind of setting, there would be no pressure to develop a prospect of Andersson’s talent and perhaps they may be able to develop him into the top-6 center he was projected to be? Nobody knows for sure, but it’s certainly worth the risk for this expansion team with the rest of the options available.

Minnesota Wild

Protection List:

F: Victor Rask, Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Fiala, Jordan Greenway, Marcus Foligno, Joel Eriksson-Ek, Ryan Hartman
D: Matt Dumba, David Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin
G: Kaapo Kahkonen

Notable exposed: Carson Soucy, Nico Sturm , Cam Talbot, Nick Bjugstad

Selection: Carson Soucy

I had written this section prior to the news of the ground-breaking Parise/Suter buyouts occurred, but I had a hunch that perhaps one of those players would be out of the equation before I published this.

To my surprise, it turns out that BOTH were bought out, which saves Victor Rask and Matt Dumba from being expansion fodder. However, it does expose feel good story Carson Soucy to the eye of Ron Francis, and I believe that is who they take at this point looking at what is left. There was consideration for Nick Bjugstad as well, but he’s a UFA after one season and I believe that Seattle would want the more controllable asset to start their expansion into the NHL.

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