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Islanders will have plenty of options for Seattle Kraken’s expansion draft

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JULY 23: A general view of the Space Needle as the Seattle Kraken team flag is hung from above on July 23, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. The NHL revealed the franchise's new team name today. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JULY 23: A general view of the Space Needle as the Seattle Kraken team flag is hung from above on July 23, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. The NHL revealed the franchise's new team name today. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Who could the Seattle Kraken pick from the New York Islanders at their expansion draft?

On Thursday, the Seattle expansion team unveiled their name, logo, and jersey. The Seattle Kraken will join the NHL as it’s 32nd franchise for the 2021-22 NHL season. Now with the name official, New York Islanders fans turn their attention to the expansion draft.

Next summer, the Kraken will have the chase to pluck a single player from all 30 NHL teams (Vegas is excluded from the expansion draft).

This expansion draft is going to have the same rules as the Vegas draft. The Islanders will have their choice of protecting either seven forward, three defensemen, and a goalie or eight skaters and a goalie.

So in preparation, here are the players who will be exempt for the Islanders, who could be protected, and who could be available for the Kraken to take next summer.

Exempt List

Players must have at least three years of professional experience by the time of the draft to be eligible. That means a number of players won’t have to be protected by the Islanders:

  • Ilya Sorokin
  • Noah Dobson
  • Oliver Wahlstrom
  • Simon Holmstrom
  • Bode Wilde

Protected List

We’re a year out from the expansion draft so coming up with a list had its challenges. Who knows what the Islanders are going to look like in a year’s time. Just look at their goaltending situation.

Semyon Varlamov is the only goalie with a contract. Thomas Greiss, Christopher Gibson, and Jared Coreau are all UFA’s at the end of the season. So in this scenario, he gets protected and none are left un-protected. Which can’t happen come draft day. The Isles must expose at least one goalie.

Here’s my protected list based on today’s roster:

  • Mathew Barzal (F)
  • Anders Lee (F)
  • Brock Nelson (F)
  • Casey Cizikas (F)
  • Anthony Beauviller (F)
  • Jean-Gabriel Pageau (F)
  • Josh Bailey (F)
  • Ryan Pulock (D)
  • Adam Pelech (D)
  • Devon Toews (D)
  • Semyon Varlamov (G)

I went back and forth on Josh Bailey and Jordan Eberle here. And even that could change based on what happens with Kieffer Bellows in 2020-21. The first-round pick from 2016 is eligible for the expansion draft. If he puts up a good year it’s going to force the Islanders to expose both Bailey and Eberle.

But because Bellows isn’t a factor on the roster at the moment I’ve kept Bailey who’s used in a variety of setting from top line to the third line, from 5on5 to the power play to the penalty kill, and in the shootout.

There shouldn’t be much debate with the names on this list aside from the players I already discussed like Eberle/Baily/Bellows and Casey Cizikas and Varlamov.

Exposed List

So here’s who I’ve left for Seattle to pick from.

  • Jordan Eberle (F)
  • Andrew Ladd (F)
  • Cal Clutterbuck (F)
  • Leo Komarov (F)
  • Ross Johnston (F)
  • Otto Koivula (F)
  • Nick Leddy (D)
  • Johnny Boychuk (D)
  • Thomas Hickey (D)
  • Scott Mayfield (D)
  • Sebastian Aho (D)

The first take away is that it’s filled with aging veteran players on big contracts. To be fair I didn’t include many of the non-NHL roster players that would be available. It’s unlikely that Seattle will take someone like Parker Wotherspoon.

Who Gets Picked

Of course, it all depends on who else is available at the expansion draft. There’s a strong case to be made that Seattle takes one of Jordan Eberle (or Josh Bailey if you protected Eberle) from the forward group.

They could also take a younger player like Otto Koivula who could slot into the bottom six with the potential for more.

On the blue line, Scott Mayfield is a good choice for Seattle to bring in a big body that can play on either the second or third pair and has a great cap hit.

There isn’t a goalie listed in the protected list. Based on the rules, teams must expose at least one goalie. By then the goalie situation will be sorted and the Isles will have another goalie to expose. It’s possible that the Isles dangle Semyon Varlamov for Seattle to pick as their new number one goalie.

There isn’t a player on this list that the Islanders can’t live without. I doubt we see the Islanders make the same type of deal that they did during the Vegas expansion draft to keep the Knights from selecting a player they wanted to keep.

What’s clear is that the Islanders will give the Kraken a number of options when it comes time for the expansion draft in 2021.

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