It’s been four years since the Vegas Golden Knights joined the NHL and they had the last Expansion Draft. It was as ugly as those Vegas jerseys, as the Golden Knights management fleeced a number of teams by making deals to avoid the loss of players they needed to protect, and ended up building an absolute juggernaut in the process.
You’d think that the other 30 teams involved would look back on what happened four years ago and prepare themselves accordingly, so they would not end up getting made to look like absolute idiots again. We are talking about the Hockey Men here though, and the chances of them tripping over the same rock remains high, to say the least.
And how about a hand for the NHL, folks? They’ve spent weeks building up the hype for tonight’s big announcement, only to have literally every single pick leaked out over the last few hours. So while we await the confirmation of all these picks, let’s go through each one, shall we?
One thing to remember when you look at some of these picks:
Word among multiple NHL “people” I have heard from is simple… theme of the expansion draft has to be “Side Deals”. A LOT of additional compensation coming #seaKraken way.— Ian Furness (@IanFurnessSea) July 21, 2021
ANAHEIM DUCKS- D- Hadyn Fleury. This will be Fleury’s 3rd NHL club if he’s on the roster this upcoming season, as he was originally drafted by Carolina.
ARIZONA COYOTES- C- Tyler Pitlick. After stops in Edmonton, Dallas, Philadelphia and Arizona, the former Medicine Hat Tiger is staying in the Pacific Division as the Coyotes move to the Central for the 2021-22 season.
BOSTON BRUINS- D- Jeremy Lauzon. With former Bruins assistant Jay Leach as part of the Kraken’s coaching staff, this pick likely comes with input from Leach.
BUFFALO SABRES- D- William Borgen. The Sabres will lose their 4th round pick from 2015 with this selection. Borgen played in just fourteen games over two seasons for Buffalo.
CALGARY FLAMES- D- Mark Giordano- Given the dog’s breakfast that was the available players list the Flames presented the league with, it’s not a shock that the Kraken will go with the best player available in Giordano. While he is in the declining years of his career, he’s only a couple years removed from his Norris trophy win. He brings leadership qualities they’ll need in year one and is a no-brainer to be their first captain.
CAROLINA HURRICANES- C- Morgan Geekie. A depth pick from the Hurricanes as Seattle adds another former WHL graduate to their list.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS- C- John Quenneville. A former first round pick of the New jersey Devils, Quenneville wasn’t able to stick with the Devils or the Hawks, having spent the majority of his time in the AHL, and that’s likely the plan here, too.
COLORADO AVALANCHE- RW- Joonas Donskoi. While some speculated the Kraken could go in for the big splash and try to sign UFA Gabriel Landeskog as their pick from the Avalanche, they will instead go with the Finnish winger. This is a decent bottom six selection for them.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS- D- Gavin Bayreuther. Another surprise as they go with a prospect/depth pick when Max Domi was available.
DALLAS STARS- D- Jamie Oleksiak- With the Canucks taking Jason Dickinson out of the equation the other day, Seattle signed UFA Oleksiak to a deal. He’s a beast at 6’7” and 255 lbs, and will be a big part of the Kraken D over the first few years of their existence.
DETROIT RED WINGS- D- Dennis Cholowski. The kid from Langley will play close(r) to home as it looks like he’ll be the pick from Detroit. Another WHL grad who also did some time in the BCHL with the Chilliwack Chiefs.
EDMONTON OILERS- D- Adam Larsson. Here come the Oilers, right? Ken Holland is making his glory days in Detroit seem even more improbable with every move he’s made this off-season, and now they don’t even have anything to show for his predecessor trading away Taylor Hall. The Kraken will happily sign Larsson and add him to their D.
FLORIDA PANTHERS- G- Chris Dreidger. The goalie of their future, it would seem. Unless there’s some deal in the works, Dreidger is the first of three goalies they will select. And come on, admit it: You really wanted to see them take Carey Price just for the chaos it would cause.
LOS ANGELES KINGS- D- Kurtis MacDermid. More D depth, as they choose MacDermid, who has played parts of four seasons in LA.
MINNESOTA WILD- D- Carson Soucy. See above.
MONTREAL CANADIENS- D- Cale Fleury. More AHL depth and another one from the WHL, which almost seems like a theme here in the home of the Thunderbirds. All they need to do is swing a deal with Vegas and they can have all of the Fleury’s under contract.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS- C- Calle Jarnkrok. Decent choice here. Experienced C who can score in a bottom six role.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS- RW- Nathan Bastian. Coming off his first (nearly) full season in the NHL, was a second round pick of the Devils in 2016.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS- RW- Jordan Eberle. While he’s not getting any younger, he’s never scored less than 16 goals in a season, and will likely be playing in a system slightly less defensively minded than Barry Trotz is running on Long Island. With the right line mates, he could be a really popular guy with the fans in year one.
OTTAWA SENATORS- G- Joey Daccord. Daccord, who played his NCAA hockey at Arizona State, found his way from the AHL to the NHL after a slew of goalie injuries in Ottawa. Got his first NHL win against the Leafs.
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS- LW- Carsen Twarynski. Back to the WHL for the Kraken with Twarynski, who played seven games for the Flyers last season.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS- LW- Brandon Tanev. Brother of longtime Canuck Chris, he’s another bottom six forward that should be able to contribute.
SAN JOSE SHARKS- C- Alexander True. While some are expressing surprise at the selection of Denmark native True, he’s already well known to the Seattle hockey scene, having played three seasons for the WHL Thunderbirds. Probably an AHL fit, but he’s likely to get a look and will be the closest to a homegrown kid in the lineup from this initial list.
ST LOUIS BLUES- D- Vince Dunn. Another good selection here. Dunn is a solid defenceman with a Cup ring and at 24 still has his best years ahead of him.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING- C- Yanni Gourde. Back to back cups in Tampa and now into a starring role in Seattle. Not bad for a guy who was never drafted and spent parts of two seasons in the ECHL.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS- LW- Jared McCann. Ah, yes. What could be better than to have one of Jim Benning’s worst trades rubbed in his face multiple times next season? Really started to find his game in Pittsburgh.
VANCOUVER CANUCKS- LW- Kole Lind. The WHL pipeline continues. Lind was being developed slowly in Utica and it looked like he was just about ready to break through. Let’s hope this one doesn’t come back to haunt the Canucks.
WASHINGTON CAPITALS- G- Vitek Vanecek. Vanecek played a surprising 37 games in his rookie season with the Caps this past year, finishing with 21 wins. Could very well end up with the starters role in Seattle.
WINNIPEG JETS- C- Mason Appleton. Could end up being a real steal. Appleton looked very much like a guy who was really figuring it out last year, and could end up being a big part of this Kraken squad.
While these picks are now being confirmed (along with any side deals), that’s a fairly interesting list of prospects and veterans to start with as they head into their inaugural season.