The newest NHL franchise, the Seattle Kraken, will select players in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft today at 7 p.m.
Seattle must select one player from each eligible team for a total of 30 players, with at least 14 forwards, nine defenseman, and three goalies.
The Vegas Golden Knights are exempt from the 2021 Expansion Draft as they were an expansion franchise in 2017.
The Minnesota Wild announced it will protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender for the NHL Expansion Draft.
Who will stay
The following players were protected:
Forwards: Joel Eriksson Ek, Kevin Fiala, Marcus Foligno, Jordan Greenway, Ryan Hartman, Nico Sturm, and Mats Zuccarello
Defensemen: Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba, and Jared Spurgeon
Goaltender: Cam Talbot
Who will go
Two players Seattle will likely target are defenseman Carson Soucy and goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen.
If the Kraken are looking to solidify their defensive pairings, Soucy is an attractive option. The 26-year-old finished the season with a career-high 17 points on Minnesota’s third defensive pairing.
He was second on hits for Minnesota defensemen and led the team in plus-minus. He has two years left of his contract and would make for a relatively cheap blueliner for the Kraken.
Another option for the Kraken is Kahkonen, a 24-year-old Finnish goaltender and the former AHL Goaltender of the Year. Kahkonen played well last year as a complement to Cam Talbot, but struggled at times down the stretch.
He finished his rookie year with a .902 save percentage and a 2.88 goals-against average.
If the Kraken were to select Kahkonen, the free agency market for goaltenders is deep this year, and General Manager Bill Guerin could bring in a second goaltender through free agency.
Other players available to be selected by Seattle include: William Bitten, Nick Bjugstad, Nick Bonino, Joseph Cramarossa, Gabriel Dumont, Marcus Johansson, Luke Johnson, Victor Rask, Kyle Rau, Mason Shaw, Dmitry Sokolov, Matt Bartkowski, Louis Belpedio, Ian Cole, Brad Hunt, Ian McCoshen, Brennan Menell, Dakota Mermis, and Andrew Hammond.
All first- and second-year professionals, as well as all unsigned draft choices, are exempt from selection. All players who have currently effective and continuing “No Movement” clauses at the time of the Expansion Draft and have declined to waive such clauses must be protected.
Minnesota defensemen Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin have No Movement clauses and must be protected.
The Wild bought out the contracts of forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter on July 13. Both players had No Movement clauses in their contracts, so their departure allowed Minnesota to protect an additional forward and defenseman.
The buyouts helped Minnesota General Manager Bill Guerin accomplish one of his primary goals of protecting Matt Dumba, a defenseman with a crucial role on the power play. Dumba scored 21 points last season and the team hopes he can match his breakout performance of 2018 when he scored 22 points in 32 games before an injury ended his season.
Seattle also has an exclusive window from July 18-21 to interview and potentially sign pending free agents who were left unprotected in the expansion draft. If they sign a player in that window it counts as their pick from that players’ former team.
On Tuesday, it was reported that Florida goaltender Chris Driedger was signed by the Kraken, becoming the official selection from Panthers.
The Expansion Draft will be broadcast live from Seattle on Wednesday, July 21 at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.