For Brian MacLellan and the Washington Capitals, the most difficult decision for the Seattle Kraken’s expansion draft came at the blue line. Considering they could only protect three defensemen, the Capitals knew they risked losing a big name; it was just a matter of who. In the end, they didn’t want that to be Trevor van Riemsdyk.
In addition to John Carlson and Dmitry Orlov, the Capitals chose to protect TvR over Justin Schultz, Brenden Dillon and Nick Jensen. That being said, it appears more likely Seattle takes Schultz, a top-4 blueliner with offensive acumen and puck-moving prowess.
Though it could be a difficult loss for Washington, the Capitals made the right call on the blue line.
First off, Schultz carries a cap hit of $4 million for one more season. If Seattle takes on his contract, Washington will be able to clear a decent amount of cap space, giving them more salary to not only re-sign Alex Ovechkin but even explore the free-agent market. Van Riemsdyk only carries a hit of $950,000 over the next two seasons (he signed an extension in March) and is capable of logging extra minutes and being a consistent member of the lineup.