The Vegas Golden Knights took advantage of several other organizations trying to outsmart the expansion draft in 2017, engineering expensive “side deals” to protect certain players. The end result was maximum pain.
Consequently, teams like the Florida Panthers and Anaheim Ducks provided a blueprint for what to avoid the next time the National Hockey League added a franchise.
Organizations are much more prepared for Seattle’s expansion draft this go-around, but the ongoing pandemic, shortened seasons, and closed arenas have provided a new wrinkle for teams to consider.
Staring down the barrel of a flat salary cap, general managers made bets in spades this past weekend, putting a number of high-profile players (with large contracts to boot) in the exposure pool. That means players like Montreal’s Carey Price, Calgary’s Mark Giordano, and Nashville’s Matt Duchene could be part of the Kraken organization this week.
Seattle, interested in building a long-term contender, will likely pass on most of these names – if not because of the ballooned cap hit, because of other concerns such as injuries, age and opportunity costs.
But there are going to be instances in which the Kraken are faced with a tough decision. One of the most glaring comes via the St. Louis Blues.