We’ll find out who the Seattle Kraken are adding to their inaugural roster on Wednesday as they announce their picks in the Expansion Draft.
There are a lot of interesting names for Seattle to choose from here, such as Carey Price, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Jordan Eberle, but we really have no idea what direction they’re going to go.
In the meantime, Zach Laing, Baggedmilk, and I did a mock Expansion Draft, selecting one player from each team who we would choose if we were in Ron Francis’ position. In order to make life a little easier, we didn’t consider side deals that teams might make and instead just put together teams based on the unprotected players available.
Here’s what we came up with and our validation for doing so…
Seattle stocks up with some dynamic offensive talents in Vladimir Tarasenko, Jordan Eberle, Nino Niederreiter and Yanni Gourde, and a solid, but not spectacular defence. They take some risks with three UFA’s (Bunting, Landeskog and Carrick), but in this scenario but Seattle convinces them to stay.
They have ~$13-million in cap space to work with all and could even flip a veteran defenceman like Mark Giordano. Seattle gets Carey Price in net, and three other goaltenders that they explore trades for.
There are a lot of quality defenders available so that’s where I focused. I feel as though Seattle can build themselves a strong blueline with a handful of veterans while also adding a bunch of young guys with upside. I also leaned towards adding cost-controlled defenders who could be traded this summer for draft pick capital to teams who strike out on defencemen in free agency.
Another thing I considered was adding exciting players who can become the face of the franchise. I know many think Carey Price should be this guy, but I went with one of his former teammates to fill the role instead.
I’m looking to cause some chaos and draft a team in Seattle that would never be able to beat the Oilers. I need a team that our boys can dummy, and as a double agent in this mock draft, that will be my strategy.
Zach Laing – Haydn Fleury
A still young defenceman, Fleury has shown well early in his career but hasn’t found the steadiest minutes. He’ll look to do so in Seattle.
Cam Lewis – Derek Grant
I had a difficult time not selecting Fleury here but there are going to be a lot of defenders available to choose, so I rolled with a quality bottom-six centre in Derek Grant. He’s a veteran who can handle heavy defensive zone starts and kill penalties, something good to have on a young team.
Baggedmilk – Kevin Shattenkirk
He’s getting older and he used to be good, which is exactly why the Seattle Kraken will be lucky to have him on their blue line.
Zach Laing – Michael Bunting
Seattle takes a risk on a Bunting, a pending UFA. The player was exciting scoring 10 goals and 13 points in 21 games this year and Seattle looks to convince him to stay.
Cam Lewis – Michael Bunting
Same logic for me here. Bunting is young and has produced well in the AHL. He’s worth taking a gamble on and Arizona doesn’t have much to offer.
Baggedmilk – Tyler Pitlick
Once an Oiler always an Oiler, and we’ll see some guys on the inside that can do our bidding. Is Pitlick that guy? I certainly hope so.
Zach Laing – Jakub Zboril
There’s a few defencemen Seattle could get here but I like Zboril, who is under team control and an RFA after this season.
Cam Lewis – Connor Clifton
It’s a toss-up between a pair of young defenders in Clifton and Jeremy Lauzon for me. I ultimately landed on Clifton, the righty, because the rest of my board leans heavily to left-handed defenders.
Baggedmilk – Nick Ritchie
He’s young, can bang and crash, and I think he would ultimately help build some depth for the Kraken.
Zach Laing – William Borgen
There’s not a lot of appetizing options here. Borgen, however, might be the best of some bad options. He’s a coinflip to make the NHL but provides some organizational depth.
Cam Lewis – William Borgen
Boy, there isn’t much here from Buffalo. Colin Miller, who was taken by Vegas a few years ago, was an option. I chose the younger and cheaper Borgen instead.
Baggedmilk – Zemgus Girgensons
His name is a party and I think that would go a long way for the people of Seattle.
Zach Laing – Mark Giordano
One of the easiest picks in the draft for Seattle is Giordano. He can captain the young team and will be a great role model in the community.
Cam Lewis – Mark Giordano
No-brainer here. Giordano is an excellent leader to add to a new team. He’s one year from free agency and could be flipped for a nice return at the trade deadline if Seattle isn’t a playoff team.
Baggedmilk – Mark Giordano
I just want to watch everyone in Calgary be sad for a bit. That’s the real story behind this pick.
Zach Laing – Nino Niederreiter
A surprise exclusion from Carolina’s protected list, Niederreiter can score in the Kraken’s top-six.
Cam Lewis – Jake Bean
The former No. 13 overall pick has tons of upside but hasn’t been able to crack a deep Carolina blueline. Niederreiter is an interesting option but he’s only one year from free agency with a heavy cap hit. The salary cap is also a thing to consider and there are better forwards with big cap hits available to Seattle.
Baggedmilk – Nino Niederreiter
The guy has bounced around a few times at this point, but he would be able to provide the Kraken with some skill on the wings even though they may not know how often that skill would be on display.
Zach Laing – Adam Gaudette
While he’s a bit of a gamble, Gaudette will look to grow as a bottom-six player.
Cam Lewis – Nikita Zadorov
A physical, defensive defender, Zadorov further adds to the depth on Seattle’s blueline. He’s one of those names who the team could select and flip to another team who can’t find a good defender in free agency.
Baggedmilk – Calvin De Haan
I don’t know why I’m helping Chicago get rid of another expensive contract here, but that’s what I’m doing because I don’t think he’d live up to the number and I want Seattle to be bad.
Zach Laing – Gabriel Landeskog
This is a very interesting selection for Seattle, who immediately go into negotiations with Landeskog on a long-term deal. Upset with what happened in Colorado, Seattle will try to sell him on building a contender quickly.
Cam Lewis – J.T. Compher
Similar logic here as with Grant in Anaheim, adding Compher helps give Seattle a strong foundation in their bottom-six with another veteran who can play difficult minutes.
Baggedmilk – Erik Johnson
You can sell a former first overall pick and that’s exactly what the Kraken should do with Johnson. Smart pick, smart marketing.*
Columbus Blue Jackets
Zach Laing – Max Domi
Once a highly-touted prospect, Domi’s offensive game is his strong suit but lacks the other way. He centres a top line with the defensively responsible Landeskog flanking him.
Cam Lewis – Max Domi
You might as well take a flyer on Domi here as Columbus doesn’t have much else to offer.
Baggedmilk – Max Domi
Honestly, how could you not?
Zach Laing – Julius Honka
Honka makes a ton of sense here. He needs a fresh start in the NHL and gets it in Seattle. He showed well in the NHL before he returned to Finland in 2019-20.
Cam Lewis – Adam Mescherin
This might be a strange pick, but we already have a lot of young blueliners, so I went with Mascherin instead of Honka. Mascherin has produced at a nice clip in the AHL and could be worth the flyer.
Baggedmilk – Andrej Sekera
The shinpad producers of Seattle will rejoice with this pick.
Detroit Red Wings
Zach Laing – Troy Stecher
Seattle gets a solid two-way defenceman who can step in and eat some minutes on the backend.
Cam Lewis – Troy Stecher
Easy choice here. Solid, cheap defenceman.
Baggedmilk – Troy Stecher
If I’m being honest, I didn’t know who most of the people on the Red Wings even were.
Zach Laing – Tyler Benson
While still an unknown commodity in the NHL, Benson has scored 141 points in 156 AHL games in his first three seasons of pro hockey. Foot speed is a concern, but the offensive skill is there.
Cam Lewis – Dominik Kahun
While Benson is an interesting prospect, Kahun has produced at the NHL level. He’s a solid, versatile forward who can play just about anywhere in the lineup. I thought about taking a gamble on Oscar Klefbom here but the risk that he won’t play again is too high and I’ve already picked quite a few defenders.
Baggedmilk – Jujhar Khaira
When he’s on his game, Khaira can be a very effective bottom-six forward that can chip in with some offence and kill penalties, so he gets my guess. I still think Seattle will take Benson, but my pick would be Jujhar.
Zach Laing – Frank Vatrano
Seattle is happy to take Vatrano, who slides into the team’s bottom-six as a scoring winger with a great shot.
Cam Lewis – Chris Driedger
He might not be a big name like Marc-Andre Fleury was for Vegas, but Driedger had a huge season for Florida in 2021 and deserves a chance at being a starter somewhere.
Baggedmilk – Chris Dreidger
Pretty sure everyone kinda knows this is happening, no? Either way, a solid tender to get Seattle started.
Zach Laing – Blake Lizotte
He found a way to earn a bottom-six role in L.A. and has done so quite admirably. He controls play very well when on the ice.
Cam Lewis – Andreas Athanasiou
A skilled winger who can put the puck in the back of the net would be a nice addition for Seattle. I’ve taken a few defensive forwards so far so it’s worth adding some skill on the wings.
Baggedmilk – Olli Maatta
Would be a short term bet on a guy that can never seem to plant his feet anywhere.
Zach Laing – Kappo Kähkönen
Seattle has their first of a few goalies. I have the Kraken taking three other goalies with a few, including Kähkönen, becoming trade bait.
Cam Lewis – Kappo Kähkönen
Agreed with Zach here. Kähkönen has upside and could be flipped elsewhere for some draft capital.
Baggedmilk – Carson Soucy
We’re building up the defensive depth chart here, people!
Zach Laing – Carey Price
The biggest piece of the puzzle, Seattle takes a franchise goaltender much like Vegas did with Fleury. There’s tons of risk here but he immediately becomes the face of the franchise and a great one at that.
Cam Lewis – Brett Kulak
Price would be an exciting addition, but his contract is simply too big to take on. I went with Brett Kulak, an under-the-radar defender. We have a lot of defencemen in the mix here and a few of them will be traded for draft picks.
Baggedmilk – Carey Price
Take Price and try to sell him back to the Montreal Canadiens. Team Chaos!
Zach Laing – Calle Järnkrok
A cheap defensive forward, Järnkrok is finding his offensive game and fills a depth winger role.
Cam Lewis – Calle Järnkrok
Another easy pick here. Järnkrok is a solid forward and is inexpensive for what he brings.
Baggedmilk – Rocco Grimaldi
My strategy of drafting people based on how fun their name is to say continues here with Grimaldi. Smart play, I think.
New Jersey Devils
Zach Laing – Connor Carrick
I toyed with a few ideas here, but settled on Carrick. He looked real good as a prospect in Toronto, but has lost his game a bit with the Devils. Carrick looks to rebound with a fresh start.
Cam Lewis – P.K. Subban
I took Zach’s logic with Price, the value of adding a star who can sell jerseys, and rolled with Subban. He isn’t as good as he used to be but he’s a great personality and will immediately become a fan favourite. The plus here is he’s only signed for one more year so this isn’t quite so much of a commitment as Price would be, who has five years left.
Baggedmilk – Marian Studenick
The guy is stud. Once again, the name paves the way.
New York Islanders
Zach Laing – Jordan Eberle
I’m surprised the Islanders left Eberle exposed. Seattle swiftly picks him up.
Cam Lewis – Jordan Eberle
Same here. A quality, veteran who can score goals. No-brainer for me.
Baggedmilk – Jordan Eberle
The guy scores goals and the Kraken will need some.
New York Rangers
Zach Laing – Julien Gauthier
Another young winger, Gauthier still has a shot as a depth winger.
Cam Lewis – Julien Gauthier
The Rangers don’t have much to offer so I’m taking a flyer on Gauthier.
Baggedmilk – Barclay Goodrow
How funny would it be for the Rangers to trade for Goodrow, work on a long-term extension with him, and have the Kraken take him anyway. Chaos!
Zach Laing – Joey Daccord
I flip-flopped between him, Chris Tierney and Ryan Dzingel. Whoever Seattle takes becomes tradeable for draft picks.
Cam Lewis – Joey Daccord
Ottawa doesn’t have much to offer and we need another goalie, so 23-year-old Daccord makes sense. There’s some upside here. Taking goalies and flipping them for picks could be a smart play.
Baggedmilk – Evgeni Dadonov
The guy had a bad year in Ottawa but I think he can bounce back, and that’s why the Seattle Kraken should take him.
Zach Laing – Justin Braun
Seattle would love to take James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek, but can’t afford them in my mock. Braun can play top-four minutes and can be moved at the deadline.
Cam Lewis – Robert Hagg
I considered JVR here, but that $7 million cap hit is too much given some of the other forwards I’m adding. Instead, I went with another young defender in Robert Hagg. He could be a useful trade asset to a team in need of a cheap defender.
Baggedmilk – Gritty
Didn’t see that one coming did you, Flyers?
Zach Laing – Marcus Pettersson
Seattle grabs a solid top-four defenceman who is still young at just 24 years old. He has four years left so he’ll be around for a few years.
Cam Lewis – Marcus Pettersson
Another fairly easy choice here. Pettersson is a nice addition to the top-four on the blueline.
Baggedmilk – Marcus Pettersson
I wanted to keep building out my defensive depth and I think Pettersson would be a nice grab here from Pittsburgh.
San Jose Sharks
Zach Laing – Matt Nieto
Not a lot of great options, but Nieto provides some bottom-six depth.
Cam Lewis – Dylan Gambrell
This is an ugly list from San Jose. I went with Dylan Gambrell, a young, cheap forward who can play a depth role and kill penalties.
Baggedmilk – Jacob Middleton
Who the hell are most of these people?
St. Louis Blues
Zach Laing – Vladimir Tarasenko
I can’t believe St. Louis couldn’t trade Tarasenko. There has to be more to this story, but Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli has said Tarasenko has a clean bill of health. He adds a huge offensive element to Seattle.
Cam Lewis – Vladimir Tarasenko
It’s between Tarasenko and Vince Dunn but you have to take the risk on the star forward. Seattle needs to add exciting players right away to sell jerseys and Tarasenko will do just that.
Baggedmilk – Vlad Tarasenko
I mean, how could you not? The fact that St. Louis is just leaving him there for free makes it a worthwhile gamble imo.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Zach Laing – Yanni Gourde
Seattle is ecstatic to land Gourde, a very underrated C and Tampa is happy with clearing over five million in cap space.
Cam Lewis – Yanni Gourde
No-brainer here. Gourde is a very good two-way player and will give Seattle a very good centre to build around.
Baggedmilk – Pat Maroon
Three. Straight. Cups.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Zach Laing – Jared McCann
Seattle takes McCann, who Toronto just acquired days ago. He’s a strong 3C for Seattle.
Cam Lewis – Alex Kerfoot
I think Kerfoot is the stronger two-way centre here, so that’s the direction that I went instead of McCann. It was hard to leave Travis Dermott, but, again, I already have a bunch of better defenders.
Baggedmilk – Jared McCann
It would be so funny since they just traded for him. PLEASE, UNIVERSE! Please.
Zach Laing – Kole Lind
Another young depth winger in Lind who gets a chance to break into the NHL.
Cam Lewis – Kole Lind
Lind appears ready for a chance to break into the NHL. He can do so that Seattle.
Baggedmilk – Kole Lind
Lind is probably ready for an NHL look at I’m thinking it happens in Seattle.
Zach Laing – Vitek Vanecek
Seattle gets another young goalie who they can keep, or move for some good assets.
Cam Lewis – Nick Jensen
There are a handful of interesting options here, but I went with Jensen because he’s a quality defender on a nice contract and he shoots right-handed, which we need with so many lefties in the mix.
Baggedmilk – Justin Schultz
I once heard an NHL GM say he has Norris potential so…
Zach Laing – Sami Niku
Seattle could go with a veteran in Paul Stastny, or a young forward in Mason Appleton, but Niku is still a good prospect looking to break into the league.
Cam Lewis – Dylan DeMelo
I’m shocked to see a quality shutdown guy on such a good deal available. DeMelo is an easy choice for me.
Baggedmilk – Mason Appleton
Reasonably cheap winger that can chip in with some offence.