This is an analysis of the best options for the Seattle Kraken expansion and why each player should be chosen.
I will analyse each team’s choice of players to protect the best interests of their present and future and then step into the shoes of Seattle’s management team to choose the best available players.
This is barring any trades beforehand for teams attempting to move players they can’t protect and don’t want to lose for nothing. We will take a look at the Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild.
First up, there’s a couple of lower tier options on Detroit, but out of the choices available, Richard Panik is a reliable bottom-six guy who can put up some points while also having a veteran presence. Panik may be bought out, so they wouldn’t have to waste a draft selection on him if they wanted him.
Frans Nielsen has a bigger cap hit, so it wouldn’t make as much sense to draft him over Panik. Christian Djoos would be the choice on defence for cheap if they wanted to go that way, which they very well might depending on how the rest of the board plays out. Detroit is lucky they will be able to protect their young and talented core and only let depth players be exposed.
There are a few good young choices here, and Seattle would be smart to take a chance on one of these players in Caleb Jones, Cooper Marody or Jujhar Khaira. Depending on what they choose from other teams, I can still see Jones as the best option to select from Edmonton. He has offensive upside and is just around that age where defencemen start to show what they’re capable of growing into. Marody did very well in the AHL last year and should earn his promotion to start the season, while Khaira has shown great improvement from the previous season.
It will be a tossup to see which of Tyler Benson, Josh Archibald, Dominic Kahun, Marody and Khaira are protected, but it might not matter that much given Jones is intriguing for Seattle – though one of those young forwards mentioned are definitely going to Seattle if Jones is moved beforehand.
Florida has a couple of young centres who just got there or are about to break through, so it won’t be too much of a loss to let Noel Acciari go in the expansion draft. He is a good depth guy who will make the team and play penalty kill, so he is the best choice for Seattle to take.
Too bad Florida has players with no-movement clauses and no-trade clauses, because they may have been able to get rid of a big contract. Radko Gudas is an option on defence because he plays a very physical game, but with the other defencemen available on other teams, he’s not a player worth taking over a reliable depth centre in Acciari.
There are a good amount of options to choose from on the Kings, but the defence, who are unprotected, seem a little more enticing. Olli Maatta and Sean Walker are both good defencemen who aren’t too old and can play a solid game. Maatta is a possible buyout candidate, so I would be careful if I were Seattle selecting him. If selected, they would be on the fringe of making the team on opening day since there are always higher skilled defencemen to choose from. Either would be in the line-up soon, but I’m going with Walker because he is younger and performed a bit better this season.
It is hard for LA here because they can choose only two of Matt Roy, Kale Clague, Maatta and Walker unless they want to leave better young forwards exposed. There are some interesting options at forward in Blake Lizotte and Andreas Athanasiou who Seattle may want to take a look at, especially with the seasons Athanasiou put together in Detroit a couple of years back. Maybe Andreas would be able to find his game again and put up some nice numbers.
Though Cam Talbot looks like a good option in net, Seattle can’t pass up the opportunity to get a defenceman in his prime in Matt Dumba, who can play top-line minutes at a high level. Carson Soucy is also an interesting option but isn’t worth taking over Dumba. What Seattle may have to deal with is Dumba being moved before the expansion draft, so they will have to take a look at the other options rather than the obvious choice.
The forwards that are available aren’t good enough to even consider taking over a defender or goalie here. This may work well for Minnesota since they have skilled young players they need to sign coming up on restricted free agency, so getting rid of Dumba’s contract isn’t the worst.
These teams will produce some good players for the Kraken roster next season. Next time we’ll look ahead to the Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and New York Rangers.