What will the Seattle Kraken look like once they hit the ice in 2021-2022. We know what the majority of their front office staff looks like and I’m sure the coaching staff search is under way.
Yes… I know it’s insanely early but I like many want 2020 to end. Looking forward to next NHL season it will be a crunch for a lot of teams financially, but perhaps help could come from the new franchise. Some teams can unload unwanted or stale contracts from their rosters. However value is around if you look in the right places.
The Kraken will have a chance to build their squad with the expansion draft under the same rules that the Vegas Knights did. Vegas landed some key players that helped them rack up more playoff victories than Minnesota, Florida, Winnipeg/ATL and Columbus. (Currently at time of writing, behind in Western Conference Finals to Dallas 3-1) These players all at the time of the 2017 Expansion draft were hidden talents.
Lets take a quick seat at the craps table and see who they rolled the dice on
William Karlsson: When he was acquired from the Blue Jackets was a former 53rd overall pick and had up to that point only 50 points (18G/32A.) I’m sure this pick went well under the radar as it was the VGK 27TH expansion draft selection. William Karlsson has gone on to smash those numbers in his first three since moving out to the desert (180pts, 82G/98A) including a massive 43 goal campaign in the inaugural year. A lot that I’m sure was increased top 6 minutes on a new team and also an amazing 23.37%S, until that point he never got above 6.5%S. Now while he has cooled off considerably he has posted 46 or more points and his shooting percentage has hovered around 10%.
Shea Theodore: Shea was an additional trade from the Anaheim Ducks for them selecting Clayton Stoner. Shea though was the real key cog from this deal. During the first year he was moved down to the AHL several times for transactional purposes. While still playing 61 games he was able to contribute 29 pts (6G/23A), in the last two seasons though he has really stepped up. This year having a career high 46 pts (13G/33A) while also posting 18 pts during the playoff run the Knights are currently still on.
Alex Tuch: Another player that was an added bonus through some crafty trade work. Erik Haula was the player Minnesota wanted out and gave them Alex to do so. Alex Tuch while not having a great regular season 17 pts (8G/9A) has played big minutes this postseason and chipping in 11 pts (8G/3A.) He is a strong power forward many teams covet and hopefully he continues to develop and bring value for the Knights.
Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault: Florida has a history of getting rid of perfectly good talent and people, just look at the Knights first coach Gerard Gallant. That could be why he had such an eye for these two players. Smith was traded in order for the selection of Marchessault. Both have been great for the Knights. Combined in the regular season as a package they had 101 pts (49G/52A) and they didn’t slow down in the playoffs either tallying 23 pts (7G/16A.) The Panthers could have used some of that offense over the course of the last two years.
Seattle will have to use the protected list and their pro scouts to their advantage. I’m sure they have a solid blueprint from what George McPhee and his staff accomplished early on. Ron Francis helped build Carolina into a decent NHL squad and I’m sure he can take some of those lessons to the west coast.