Article at a glance:
from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,
There was no way to completely trade your way out of trouble with these expansion-draft rules. That’s why Ron Francis remained so upbeat even after watching a flurry of transactions designed to limit options for his Seattle Kraken.
“We certainly think there’s going to be some good players available,” said Francis.
When the anxious wait ended Sunday morning with the NHL’s protection list release, Francis and his staff found themselves with a group of potential players that included former all-stars, current team captains and promising young pros.
They also had more big names with contracts to match available than the Vegas Golden Knights saw during their expansion draft process in 2017. Chalk that up to a tight-money, flat-cap environment and the fresh memory of mistakes made four years earlier.
The fundamental question now facing the Kraken before submitting their final expansion selections on Wednesday morning is how many big contracts to take on. Francis has the green light from ownership to spend to the $81.5-million cap -- and must select players making at least $48.9-million in this draft -- but protecting available space is an advantage they can maintain over most of the league for months and years to come.
“The one thing we think is extremely, extremely important in this environment is cap space,” said Francis.
There will be some tricky calls.
Here’s a look at the 10 most intriguing players left unprotected for the Seattle expansion draft: