During the 90-minute televised event, Seattle will pick one player from each franchise, excluding the Golden Knights, to form its 2021-22 roster. By rule, the Kraken will draft at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies. At least 20 of those players have to be under contract for next season. And any player selected cannot have his contract bought out until next summer.
Players with two years or less of professional experience are exempt from the expansion draft, and players with no-movement clauses must be protected — unless they agree to waive them.
Seattle is led by General Manager Ron Francis and Coach Dave Hakstol, who was hired in June and was most recently an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Lists of protected players were submitted to the league Saturday night and made public Sunday morning. Teams could have protected a combination of either seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or any eight skaters and one goaltender.
After teams submitted their picks, a window opened for the Kraken from Sunday to Wednesday to interview and potentially sign pending free agents who were not protected by their clubs. Seattle can sign a player in that window and it would count as its selection from that organization. No other teams can participate in any deals or trades during this time.
Similar to the 2017 expansion draft, several intriguing players were left unprotected this year.
One of the biggest names available is Montreal goaltender Carey Price. The 33-year-old just helped the Canadiens to their first Stanley Cup finals appearance since 1993. He waived his no-move clause to be exposed and carries a salary cap hit of $10.5 million for the next five years. A report from the Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun on Sunday indicated Price was scheduled to see a doctor regarding a knee issue that could require surgery.
Other notable goaltenders under contract and left exposed are Los Angeles’s Jonathan Quick, Vancouver’s Braden Holtby and Ottawa’s Matt Murray. Kaapo Kahkonen from Minnesota and Washington’s Vitek Vanecek are also available.
There are numerous netminders who are unrestricted free agents and were left exposed to the Kraken. Among those are Florida’s Chris Driedger, Boston’s Jaroslav Halak and Toronto’s Frederik Andersen. These players can exclusively negotiate with the Kraken ahead of Wednesday’s draft, but if they do not want to make a deal with Seattle, they can wait and hit the open market during free agency starting July 28.
In Colorado, the Avalanche also made an interesting choice, opting to expose captain Gabriel Landeskog and protect young forward Logan O’Connor. Landeskog is a pending unrestricted free agent, like Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, and has the right to negotiate with the Kraken — if he chooses. Landeskog just finished a seven-year, $39 million deal. At 28, the talented forward is still in the prime of his career, and he tallied 20 goals and 32 assists in 54 regular season games.
Ovechkin, who was left exposed by the Capitals, is in a similar spot as Landeskog. However, Ovechkin and Washington have expressed wishes that he finishes his career with the franchise. Ovechkin’s future with the Capitals is more of a foregone conclusion, while there is uncertainty with Landeskog and the Avalanche.
Landeskog has publicly expressed his disappointment that a new deal had not been reached. He can hit the open market when free agency opens July 28.
In St. Louis, the Blues exposed winger Vladimir Tarasenko. The 29-year-old still has two seasons left on his eight-year, $60 million deal. He reportedly asked for a trade earlier in the offseason. Tarasenko has spent all of his nine-year career with the Blues. However, he played in only 34 games combined in the past two seasons because of injury. Tarasenko’s salary cap hit is high, but he could be an immediate asset if both parties feel this is the right landing spot for the Russian.
Among the other notable names left unprotected are Jared McCann and Alex Kerfoot in Toronto, New Jersey’s P.K. Subban, Montreal’s Shea Weber, Calgary’s Mark Giordano, Anaheim’s Kevin Shattenkirk, Carolina’s Nino Niederreiter, Nashville’s Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen, and the New York Islanders’ Josh Bailey and Jordan Eberle.