Clubs across the league scrambled to protect their assets with last-minute moves on Saturday. The flurry of activity didn’t surprise Kraken general manager Ron Francis.
Watch below: Some videos about the Seattle Kraken.
“Teams knew we were coming and they’ve had four years to prepare,” he said as rosters were frozen ahead of the expansion draft.
Despite the deals, Seattle has plenty of options for stocking its locker room. Here’s a look at some of the talent the Kraken could poach from Canadian teams:
The biggest name on the Flames’ unprotected list is captain Mark Giordano.
The 37-year-old defenceman has played his entire 15-season career for Calgary and won the Norris Trophy as the league’s best blueliner in 2019. His offensive production has dropped, however, with 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in 56 games last season. Giordano has one year left on his contract with a US$6.75 million cap hit.
Below is a list of players left unprotected by the Calgary Flames:
Byron Froese, Glenn Gawdin, Justin Kirkland, Josh Leivo, Milan Lucic, Joakim Nordstrom, Matthew Phillips, Zac Rinaldo, Brett Ritchie, Buddy Robinson, Derek Ryan, Dominik Simon.
Mark Giordano, Oliver Kylington, Nikita Nesterov, Alexander Petrovic, Michael Stone.
Louis Domingue, Tyler Parsons.
Watch below: Some recent video about the Calgary Flames.
The Oilers left both of their starting goalies exposed, though Mike Smith’s fate is already uncertain with the 39-year-old set to become an unrestricted free agent next week. Smith was stellar for Edmonton last season, boasting 21-6-2 record with a 2.31 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage in the regular season.
Mikko Koskinen, meanwhile, has one year left on his deal with a US$4.5 million cap hit.
The six-foot-seven Finn has had mixed success with the Oilers, including a 13-13-0 record with a 3.17 goals-against average and .899 save percentage last year.
Below is a list of players left unprotected by the Edmonton Oilers:
Tyler Benson, Alex Chiasson, Adam Cracknell, Tyler Ennis, Joseph Gambardella, Seth Griffith, Dominik Kahun, Jujhar Khaira, Cooper Marody, James Neal, Alan Quine, Patrick Russell, Devin Shore, Anton Slepyshev, Kyle Turris, Bogdan Yakimov.
Tyson Barrie, Oscar Klefbom, Slater Koekkoek, Dmitry Kulikov, William Lagesson, Adam Larsson, Kris Russell.
Mikko Koskinen, Mike Smith, Alex Stalock.
Watch below: Some recent video about the Edmonton Oilers.
Carey Price is one of the biggest names available to Seattle. The 33-year-old waived his no-trade clause in order to land on the unprotected list, but he comes with a steep price tag. The all-star netminder has five years left on his deal with an average annual value of US$10.5 million. Price proved his worth in the playoffs last season, guiding the Habs to the Stanley Cup Finals with a 13-9-0 record with a 2.28 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage. Recent reports about his health could raise questions, though, of whether the netminder will be fit to play next season.
Montreal left some other high-profile players unprotected, including unrestricted free agent forwards Phillip Danault and Corey Perry, and left-winger Paul Byron, who has two years left on his contract at US$3.4 million per year. Captain Shea Weber is on the list, but the 35-year-old defenceman’s future remains murky amid a number of reported injuries.
Below is a list of players left unprotected by the Montreal Canadiens:
Brandon Baddock, Joseph Blandisi, Paul Byron, Phillip Danault, Laurent Dauphin, Jonathan Drouin, Michael Frolik, Charles Hudon, Corey Perry, Michael Pezzetta, Eric Staal, Tomas Tatar, Lukas Vejdemo, Jordan Weal.
Cale Fleury, Erik Gustafsson, Brett Kulak, Jon Merrill, Gustav Olofsson, Xavier Ouellet, Shea Weber.
Charlie Lindgren, Michael McNiven, Carey Price.
Watch below: Some recent videos about the Montreal Canadiens.
The Sens opted to keep several of their young stars safe, and in the process, had to expose Evgenii Dadonov. The 32-year-old Russian right-winger had 20 points (13 goals, seven assists) last season, and has two years left on his deal with an average annual value of US$5 million.
Goalie Matt Murray is also on Ottawa’s unprotected list after struggling to a 10-13-1 record with a 3.38 goals-against average and a .893 save percentage last year.
Below is a list of players left unprotected by the Ottawa Senators:
Vitaly Abramov, Michael Amadio, Artem Anisimov, J.C. Beaudin, Clark Bishop, Evgenii Dadonov, Jonathan Davidsson, Ryan Dzingel, Micheal Haley, Jack Kopacka, Zachary Magwood, Matthew Peca, Logan Shaw, Derek Stepan, Chris Tierney.
Josh Brown, Cody Goloubef, Mikael Wikstrand.
Joey Daccord, Anton Forsberg, Marcus Hogberg, Matt Murray.
Watch below: Some recent video about the Ottawa Senators.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Toronto was one of the clubs to take advantage of roster crunches in other markets on Saturday, picking up forward Jared McCann from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for forward prospect Filip Hallander and a seventh-round draft pick in 2023. The 25-year-old had 32 points (14 goals, 18 assists) last season, but the Leafs left McCann available to Seattle.
Also on Toronto’s unprotected list are Alex Kerfoot — a 26-year-old centre who registered 23 points (eight goals and 15 assists) last season — and veteran forward Jason Spezza, who put up a solid 30 points (10 goals, 20 assists) in the regular season last year and has an enticing one-year deal left at a league-minimum $750,000.
Below is a list of players left unprotected by the Toronto Maple Leafs:
Kenny Agostino, Joey Anderson, Adam Brooks, Pierre Engvall, Nick Foligno, Alex Galchenyuk, Zach Hyman, Alexander Kerfoot, Kalle Kossila, Denis Malgin, Jared McCann, Riley Nash, Stefan Noesen, Nic Petan, Scott Sabourin, Wayne Simmonds, Jason Spezza, Antti Suomela, Joe Thornton.
Zach Bogosian, Travis Dermott, Ben Hutton, Martin Marincin, Calle Rosen.
Frederik Andersen, Michael Hutchinson, David Rittich.
Watch below: Some recent video about the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Vancouver also did some business leading up to Saturday’s roster freeze, acquiring forward Jason Dickinson from the Dallas Stars in exchange for a third-round pick in this week’s entry draft. Unlike the Leafs, the Canucks opted to protect their new asset.
Goalie Braden Holtby was among the players left exposed by the club. The 31-year-old had a tough season with the Canucks, finishing with a 7-11-3 record, a 3.67 goals-against average and a .889 save percentage. But Holtby has reached hockey’s highest heights before, winning the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender in 2016 and capturing the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals in 2018. The netminder’s contract could prove prohibitive, though — the single year left on his deal comes with a US$4.3 million cap hit but Holtby is still due $5.7 million in salary.
Below is a list of players left unprotected by the Vancouver Canucks:
Sven Baertschi, Justin Bailey, Jay Beagle, Travis Boyd, Loui Eriksson, Jonah Gadjovich, Tyler Graovac, Jayce Hawryluk, Matthew Highmore, Lukas Jasek, Kole Lind, Zack MacEwen, Petrus Palmu, Antoine Roussel, Brandon Sutter, Jimmy Vesey, Jake Virtanen.
Madison Bowey, Guillaume Brisebois, Jalen Chatfield, Alexander Edler, Travis Hamonic, Brogan Rafferty, Ashton Sautner, Josh Teves.
Watch below: Some recent video about the Vancouver Canucks.
In addition to unrestricted free agents Paul Stastny, Derek Forbort and Mathieu Perrault, the Jets left 25-year-old forward Mason Appleton exposed. The six-foot-two, 193-pound centre tallied 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) in 56 regular-season appearances last year and added three more (one goal, two assists) in eight playoff outings. Appleton has one year left on his deal at an affordable US$900,000 cap hit.
Winnipeg defenceman Dylan DeMelo is also available. The 28-year-old isn’t the most offensive blueliner with nine assists in 52 regular-season games last year, but he also had 20 penalty minutes and averaged 16:58 in ice time.
Below is a list of players left unprotected by the Winnipeg Jets:
Mason Appleton, Marko Dano, Jansen Harkins, Trevor Lewis, Skyler McKenzie, Mathieu Perreault, Paul Stastny, CJ Suess, Nate Thompson, Dominic Toninato.
Nathan Beaulieu, Jordie Benn, Dylan DeMelo, Derek Forbort, Luke Green, Sami Niku, Nelson Nogier, Tucker Poolman.
Mikhail Berdin, Laurent Brossoit, Eric Comrie, Cole Kehler.
Watch below: Some recent video about the Winnipeg Jets.