Carolina Hurricanes: Gauging Seattle’s Expansion Draft

The Carolina hurricanes may lose a player or two to the Seattle Draft

With Seattle set to take to the ice for the start of the 2022-23 season, who could the Carolina Hurricanes lose at the end of the 2021-22 season to the newbie in the league?

I know it may seem like a while until Seattle enters the league, but the time it took to come up with a team name is now longer than that wait. So who could the newly minted Seattle Kraken possibly draft from the Carolina Hurricanes?

First of all, let’s look at who Carolina is likely to protect. It is important to remember that Martin Necas is exempt from the expansion draft due to the fact that he only has two professional years of playing hockey. With the Canes not needing to protect the exciting young Czech forward, let’s look at a possible list moving forward.

I think the forwards are pretty self-explanatory. Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho, and Teuvo Teravainen. These are the first 3 forwards you protect. After all, it is your first line.  From there it’s safe to assume Jordan Staal will be automatically protected for his NMC. Warren Foegele, Nino Niederreiter, and Vincent Trocheck should round out the rest of the protected forwards.

With these 7 forwards protected, you would risk losing Jordan Martinook, Ryan Dzingel, Brock McGinn, and an unnamed forward. This would be the Justin Williams replacement safely assuming he’s going to retire before the expansion draft.

Out of this list, I feel the forward most at risk of being selected is Dzingel. He would be a pending UFA however and isn’t a major loss should he go to Seattle. However, It’s much more likely that former Carolina Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis will pick a defender. Who? Well, that is a much more difficult question to answer.

When it comes to defenders, who you protect is quite straight-forward. Jaccob Slavin, Dougie Hamilton, and Brett Pesce. However, this does leave Jake Bean, Haydn Fleury, Brady Skjei, and Jake Gardiner all eligible for the Kraken to fraft. There’s a lot of quality here, even after protecting three of the 15 best defensemen in hockey.

This will be a tough choice for Francis and the Seattle Kraken.

Gardiner and Skjei are both quality NHL proven players. They can perform well at the highest level and do so continuously. Skjei is a little younger, but Gardiner has had better offensive upside. Gardiner is also cheaper in terms of cap hit and term. He could be a nice add for the Kraken in comparison to Skjei. however these aren’t the only options.

The Fleury and Bean debate is one I’ve had many times. Bean’s upside offensively is astronomically better than Fleury’s. That said, Fleury is a much more defensive player taking more after guys like Jaccob Slavin. Bean’s offensive prowess has already earned him an AHL defender of the year award. Fleury’s starting to blossom into a top 4 guy who can play large amounts of ice time.

Between Skjei, Gardiner, Bean, and Fleury, I personally think the most attractive option for a new team coming into the league is Bean. It doesn hurt that he’s also the youngest option. His ELC would have just expired so he will be an RFA for several years after. This also could help Seattle if they want to eat bad deals, or if they want to retain cap to trade for future assets.

What about between the pipes? Well, Kochetkov is exempt. James Reimer, Petr Mrazek, and Alex Nedeljkovic would all be eligible, and I think the protection here is pretty simple for Nedeljkovic. His upside is too good to lose. Between Reimer and Mrazek, I don’t think it matters. I don’t think either is a long term starter and Seattle will be looking at another team for its goalies.

So, who’s the most likely to move out of Carolina? For me, I don’t know if there’s a better option for a new team coming into the league than Bean. His age, ability, and cost control make him a very desirable asset. Unless Carolina makes a trade for “expansion draft considerations” it’s likely to be Jake Bean becoming a member of the Seattle Kraken.

Question for Cardiac Cane readers: Who do you think will go to Seattle via the expansion draft?

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