The Seattle Kraken will announce their official roster on Wednesday with their expansion draft selections.
They will select 30 players, one from each NHL team excluding the Vegas Golden Knights, to build initial current roster (the rules are here).
While many of the players selected will be the foundation of the first year franchise, there will no doubt be several selections on Wednesday that never play a game for the Kraken. There are no doubt side deals being made right now with other teams for Seattle to pick a player another team likes, and then flip them for more assets.
Back in the 2017 expansion draft the Vegas Golden Knights immediately traded five of their initial picks, including Dave Schlemko, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Marc Methot, Calvin Pickard, and Alexei Emelin. It was a good way for Vegas to stockpile future assets and additional pieces to its organization.
Seattle will almost certainly do the same.
Here are some candidates that Seattle could select only to use as a trade chip immediately after the expansion draft is completed.
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues
Honestly the Kraken would be smart to take him for themselves. But it also seems reasonable to think they could take him for the purposes of flipping him to another team. Tarasenko has reportedly asked for a trade out of St. Louis, but his contract, salary cap hit, and recent injury history do make him a bit of a risk. The Kraken could pick and eat a portion of his salary in a trade to remove some of that risk for another team that wants him.
Or, the Kraken could just keep him and hope he is healthy and bounces back and plays like the All-Star player he is for the next two years.
Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames
Giordano seems like an easy pick from the Flames, even as a trade chip whether it be immediately after the draft or at the trade deadline. Is he still a Norris Trophy level player like he was three years ago? Not at all. But he is still really good and would improve a lot of team’s blue lines. He is still a positive possession-driver and can chip in enough offense to make an impact with a very manageable salary cap number. The fact he is on an expiring contract should also be attractive to other teams (including the Kraken).
P.K. Subban, New Jersey Devils
Subban has rapidly declined in recent years but he did see a slight bounce back this past season.
The obvious deterrent to a trade is going to be the $9 million salary cap hit, even for just one year, as he is not a $9 million per year player.
But, again, this is a situation where the Kraken could weaponize their salary sap space and eat some money to facilitate a trade. They can not do that a lot, because eventually that cap space will run out and you can only retain salary on so many trades, but if the Kraken were willing to eat 50 percent of Subban’s deal there will no doubt be a handful of teams that would take him on a $4.5 million salary cap hit. He would probably be worth that for this season.
Calle Jarnkrok, Nashville Predators
The Predators exposed list is full of big money forwards and players that would not really change much for the Kraken. They would also sabotage their current and future salary cap space. Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen are not worth their contracts, and given that they still have term remaining on them retaining salary would ruin their future cap numbers. Stay clear of those contracts.
Jarnkrok, though, could be somebody they could flip. He has an affordable contract and could be productive in a middle-six role that you could probably pencil in for 15 goals in any given season.
Adam Henrique, Anaheim Ducks
Could a change of scenery be what Henrique needs?
His contract is not cheap, counting more than $5.8 million against the salary cap for another three seasons, but there are still reasons to believe he might have a bounce back in him. For one, he is just one year removed from a 26-goal season with the Ducks (in only 71 games). But he also still has strong underlying possession numbers and it could serve him well to be on a better team with more offensive talent around him.
Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers list might have the most big name players of any team in the league, with Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk, and Gostisbehere all available. Any of them could be attractive to Seattle and former Flyers coach Dave Hakstol.
Gostisbehere has not blossomed into the top-pairing, No. 1 defender the Flyers hoped he would when he first arrived in the NHL seven years ago, but he still has some value and can contribute, especially if put into a sheltered role. His possession numbers are still strong and he definitely provides some offense from the blue line. He seems like one of those players that failed to meet expectations fully and is viewed as a bust, when in reality he is simply just a good player. Maybe not what you expected. Still pretty useful.