I will analyse and put together the best options for the Seattle Kraken expansion and why each player is chosen.
I analyse each team’s choices in players to protect in the best interest of their present and future and then step in the shoes of Seattle’s management team to choose the best available player.
This is barring any trades beforehand for teams attempting to move players they can’t protect and don’t want to lose for nothing. I will dive into the Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, and New York Rangers.
Montreal’s options are very average. The options would be between Jake Evans and Ben Chairot. Ben Chairot is more of a solid and proven player that could easily sub into the line-up anywhere. He may not be flashy, but he’ll do his job. Paul Byron has really stepped up in the playoffs so they could possibly add him for some depth.
Jake Evans is young but we haven’t seen enough from him to take a chance here. Who knows if Phillip Danault even resigns, so Montreal could go with Evans instead of him and only really leaves Chairot for Seattle. Whoever they choose at this point from the options available on Montreal, it’s going to help their depth for sure.
There are really good forward options for Seattle to take from Nashville, and the Preds would be happy to let Matt Duchene or Ryan Johansen be taken since they both seem overpaid since signing their big contracts. Who knows, Seattle could go the route of drafting Colton Sissons or Yakov Trenin and not take the cap hit, but also not get as high a level of play, but they could surprise.
The reason Nashville has many good forward options unprotected is because they will be one of the only teams to go the protection route of 4-4-1 instead of 7-3-1. Nashville has a reputation of being a great defensive team, and they would like to keep four of their good defence for now and the future.
There will be a couple of young options in New Jersey with whoever of Mikeal McLeod, Nick Merkley, or Andreas Johnsson is protected.
I predict McLeod being protected as I see him having the most potential of the three. Of the other two forwards worth taking, Johnsson would be the better option as he has proven he can put up points in the past in Toronto.
Merkley is an interesting option and they could see what they have with him if Seattle drafts him at a low risk. PK Subban is a massive overpayment and would be a waste of a pick and the money if Seattle were to select him as their pick.
This is most likely a choice between Kieffer Bellows and Michael Dal Colle since they are both young and have potential. Nick Leddy could be a solid option by how he played this season. But I don’t see New York protecting someone as old as Leddy when they have other high level options who are just getting better.
He could be a great choice for Seattle with how they want to go. Even use him as trade bait once drafting him. The Islanders will be more inclined to keep their veteran guys with term and proven ability to help the team rather than a couple of young guys they may leave unprotected because these guys have taken them to the conference finals the past two seasons.
One of Brett Howden or Julien Gauthier will be left unprotected, which is good news for Seattle because they are both considered pretty high-end young talent and can easily slot in the bottom six for now with lots of room to grow and develop.
Tony DeAngelo is there too, but I wonder if any team will take a chance on him after his off-ice behaviour, even though he is a very talented defenceman.
Colin Blackwell did finally break out and show potential but he’s a decent amount of years older than the young talent that may be available. My choice is Brett Howden to be exposed and to be selected in the expansion draft.
The next teams I will analyse are the Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, and St Louis Blues in this Seattle expansion draft preview.