Categories: loserswinners

Winners and losers of the Seattle Kraken expansion draft

The Vegas Golden Knights took a Fleury in the 2017 expansion draft and reached the Stanley Cup Final in their first season.

The Seattle Kraken announced two Fleurys on Wednesday night during the expansion draft for the NHL’s 32nd team.

Of course, brothers Haydn (Anaheim Ducks) and Cale Fleury (Montreal Canadiens) aren’t star goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, but the Kraken did assemble an interesting team when general manager Ron Francis selected 15 forwards, 12 defensemen and three goaltenders.

There’s still an entry draft, free agency and trades to go before the full roster takes shape, but here are the winners and losers from the Kraken’s expansion draft:

Winners

Francis: He said before the expansion draft that salary cap space was his biggest asset and he has assembled a team that according to Capfriendly.com, has nearly $29 million available to spend. He persuaded free agents Chris Driedger, Adam Larsson and Jamie Oleksiak to join the team. He has solid organizational depth on defense and he picked versatile players who can move up and down the forward lineup.

Mark Giordano: The former Calgary Flames captain and Norris Trophy winner will assume a leadership role on the Kraken. And if Seattle doesn’t take off in its first season, he could end up going to a contender as a pending unrestricted free agent.

Yanni Gourde: Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper started Gourde’s third line in playoff games for a reason. He’s a high-energy player who can chip in key goals. He could become the face of this franchise.

Fans of physical play: Larsson, Oleksiak, Brandon Tanev and Nathan Bastian finished in the top 30 in the NHL in hits last season. Kurtis MacDermid is willing to drop the gloves.

St. Louis Blues: Francis could have taken Vladimir Tarasenko and flipped him for assets. But he didn’t, and the Blues will be able to get some sort of return for the high-scoring player who’s coming off a couple injury-filled seasons.

ESPN: The NHL’s new broadcast partner had a great debut, once the wireless mic issue was fixed. Even though the roster had been leaked during the course of the day, Chris Fowler and Dominic Moore kept things lively and the taped standups by Kevin Weekes were fun. It was nice to feature all the famous places in Seattle and have famous Seattle athletes help announce the picks. Having an octopus reveal the Detroit Red Wings pick was a classic.

Losers

Lack of star power: A lot of big names with big salaries were available, including Carey Price, Ryan Johansen, Tarasenko, James van Riemsdyk and others. But Francis avoided those players. His biggest-name players are Giordano, Gourde and Jordan Eberle. But star power isn’t as important for expansion teams. The Kraken will sell out, regardless, and the team will develop its own stars.

Goaltending inexperience:  Marc-Andre Fleury had played nearly 700 games when the Golden Knights chose him. The Kraken’s three goalies – Chris Driedger, Vitek Vanecek and Joey Daccord – have 84 games. The first two had standout 2021 seasons, but if either regresses, that could spell trouble.

Hometown players:  Everett, Washington, native T.J. Oshie made clear he wanted to stay with the Washington Capitals and was protected. Francis passed on Washington natives Tyler Johnson and Dylan Gambrell. But Driedger and Morgan

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