Analyzing Seattle Kraken roster after expansion draft

Seattle Kraken Roster
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After weeks and months of speculation the Seattle Kraken started to build their initial roster on Wednesday with the NHL expansion draft that saw them select 30 players (one from every other NHL team, with the exception of the Vegas Golden Knights).

The opening night roster will probably look very different from what we see right now. Free agency is still ahead and there will no doubt be trades in the coming days, both side deals that teams made with Seattle for expansion draft considerations and trades involving some players that were actually selected.

Still, a lot of the foundation for the inaugural season is in place so let us take a look at the initial roster and see what it says about Seattle’s approach

The Kraken did not take the name players or the risky contracts

When you looked at the expansion draft lists it was clear that there were several big name players available as teams looked to shed some of their contracts. Vladimir Tarasenko in St. Louis. Carey Price in Montreal. P.K. Subban in New Jersey. Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen in Nashville. Jordan Eberle and Joshua Bailey from the New York Islanders. James van Riemsdyk, Jakub Voracek, and Shayne Gostisbehere with the Philadelphia Flyers.

A lot of intriguing names that could have been early stars for the league’s newest team.

For the most part the Kraken avoided almost all of those players with the lone exception being Eberle from the Islanders.

The Kraken seem to be following the initial path the Vegas Golden Knights took by selecting a bunch of players on expiring contracts or that did not have a lot of term remaining.

Seattle took 10 players on expiring contracts, seven players that are currently restricted free agents this offseason, and five players that were unrestricted free agents. The already have deals in place with three of the latter, including goalie Chris Driedger (Florida) and defenders Jamie Oleksiak (Dallas) and Adam Larsson (Edmonton).

Salary cap space is their greatest strength

Salary cap space both this season and in the future.

As of Friday night Seattle remains more than $27 million under the cap for the 2020-21 season and only have a handful of players under contract with term.

Eberle, Oleksiak, Larsson, Driedger, Brandon Tanev and Yanni Gourde are the only players on the team signed for more than two years and none of them carry a salary cap hit larger than $5.5 million. Eberlie ($5.5) and Gourde ($5.1) are the only two out of that group with a salary cap hit larger than $5 million.

Mark Giordano‘s $6.75 million salary cap number is the largest on the initial roster, but he is an unrestricted free agent after this season.

That of course means they could be active in the free agent or trade market.

Keeping salary cap space and contract term to a minimum seemed to be the biggest focus, and could explain some of the head scratching picks. Instead of taking James van Riemsdyk, Jakub Voracek, or Shayne Gostisbehere from Philadelphia, they took little used forward Carsen Twarynski. They took pending unrestricted free agents John Quenneville from Chicago and Gavin Bayreuther from Columbus, passing on veterans like Nikita Zadorov, Max Domi, or Ryan Carpenter.

Defense seems to be the focus of the initial roster

The Kraken made a pretty significant investment on their initial blue line with long-term contracts for pending free agents Oleksiak and Larsson.

Along with them they took Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano (perhaps as a trade candidate?), Minnesota’s Carson Soucy, and St. Louis’ Vince Dunn (over Tarasenko) to build their defense.

Assuming they keep Giordano for this season (could he be a potential trade chip?) he would be the clear No. 1 on this roster, but they should have enough pieces here to put together a solid unit around him, Dunn, Oleksiak, Larsson and Soucy. There is not a star in that group, but there are not many weak links, either.

Dunn is going to be especially interesting because he has been waiting for (and deserving) a larger role for two years now. He should have that opportunity in Seattle.

Forward depth needs some work

With Gourde, Jared McCann, Eberle, Calle Jarnkrok, and Joonas Donskoi the Kraken should be able to piece together at least two formidable lines. There is a significant drop off in offensive talent after that group, however.

Perhaps that gets addressed in free agency? Or with some of the yet-to-be-announced trades that could be announced on Thursday, though general manager Ron Francis said there may not be as many as are expecting.

Gourde and McCann are probably the two most intriguing forwards in that group because it should be interesting to see what they can do as the focal points of an offense. Gourde has been great the past two years centering Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow in Tampa Bay and has shown he can be a 50-point producer in the NHL.

McCann can be streaky in his goal production (every player is streaky to some degree) but should be a 20-25 goal scorer that can play a good two-way game. With his shot and talent it would not be a surprise to see him hit the 30-goal mark with a little luck and some significant minutes on the power play.

Seattle has not yet accumulated future draft assets yet

Perhaps this is a sign of the rest of the NHL’s general managers learning their lessons from the Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft process.

The Kraken did not make any expansion draft trades prior to Wednesday that would allow them to accumulate future picks. Vegas used other team’s desperation to make several trades to acquire more assets in return for not taking certain players. Francis said on Wednesday night that teams were not willing to make that same mistake this time around.

There could, however, be some trades involving the current players on the roster as a means of acquiring future picks and assets. They need them, because as of now the Kraken only have their league allotment of seven draft picks per season. Vegas helped build its roster by accumulating a ton of draft picks and using them as trade assets.

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    Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

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    BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

    The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

    “That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

    Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

    “It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

    In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

    “It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

    In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

    “We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

    Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

    Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

    Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

    Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

    Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

    TAKE NOTE

    The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

    Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

    UP NEXT

    Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

    Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

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    NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

    Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

    The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

    Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

    “We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

    Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

    The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

    The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

    Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

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    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

    Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

    The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

    Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.

    Toronto’s Morgan Rielly placed on long-term injured reserve

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    TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury.

    Rielly was hurt in a collision with with New York forward Kyle Palmieri early in the third period of Toronto’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders at home.

    Rielly has no goals and 16 assists in 20 games this season and is averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

    Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said following practice that the 28-year-old Rielly doesn’t need surgery, adding there’s no firm timeline for his return beyond the minimum 24 days and 10 games required for going on long-term injured reserve.

    Toronto’s defense is also missing Jake Muzzin with a neck injury and T.J. Brodie with an injured oblique.