There were plenty of surprises over the weekend when teams made a flurry of moves ahead of the NHL roster freeze in anticipation of Wednesday's expansion draft. It quickly became apparent which players would be protected and which would be left exposed, and the official lists were released the following day.
The two most shocking players available: St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko and Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price.
My two cents: Take Tarasenko.
First, let's start with why the Seattle Kraken would be motivated to take two players who will be 30 or older next season with cap hits of $7.5 million and $10.5 million.
Seattle will select one player each from 30 teams (the Vegas Golden Knights are exempt), and 20 must be under contract for next season with an aggregate value of 60 to 100 percent of the $81.5 million salary cap. The Kraken will take on large contracts—and more than one of them.
According to The Athletic, Price waived his no-movement clause, which would have forced the Habs to protect him, so the club could protect backup goalie Jake Allen. Price has five years left on an $84 million deal.
Montreal appears to be banking on Seattle not wanting to pay that much for a goalie who will be 38 by the time his contract ends. Further complicating matters is that Price might miss significant time next season. The extent of his injuries is unclear, and it's also unclear whether he'll need hip surgery, knee surgery or both.
Price missed 19 of the last 21 regular-season games with a lower-body injury and then a concussion but returned to his elite form in the playoffs. The Canadiens lost the Stanley Cup Final in five games to the Tampa Bay Lightning, but Price stole their one win, and the decisive game was a one-goal contest in large part because of his brilliance.