The talk of the NHL is, unsurprisingly, all about next week’s two drafts. On Wednesday evening, we find out which NHL players will be the first to don a Seattle Kraken jersey while on Friday and Saturday, a few hundred promising young hockey players will see their dreams come true when they hear their names called at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
Ahead of the expansion draft, the question is which member of the Ottawa Senators will be switching teams on Wednesday night?
When the Vegas Golden Knights came to town, they grabbed veteran defender Marc Methot from the Sens - a tough day for many fans as Methot’s personality and on-ice grit made him a fan favourite. This time around, the Sens are in a much nicer position when it comes to their protection list. Because of the stage of the rebuild, the Sens don’t have too many players who, if grabbed from Seattle, would leave a massive hole on the roster. After all, players like Drake Batherson, Tim Stützle and Erik Brännström aren’t eligible.
TSN’s Craig Button made his list official this past week.
Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch confirmed this was a strong list and, given his inside information from the organization, we can trust that this is likely what will be submitted to the league this weekend. Garrioch did note it was possible Logan Brown gets moved ahead of this list submission and that the team wouldn’t be concerned to see either of Chris Tierney or Evgeni Dadonov get selected on Wednesday.
So, what are the options?
Chris Tierney, one of the main pieces in the famed Erik Karlsson trade, is, at this point, a third line centre who is mainly tasked with defensive responsibilities and puts up modest point production. At 27 years old, and in Ottawa’s stage of the rebuild, Tierney isn’t a key piece of the future. Playing all but one of Ottawa’s games this past season, Tierney compiled 19 points (55 GP), ranking 8th amongst Ottawa’s forwards.
For Seattle, this would be a player they could bring in today and be confident putting on the roster for opening night. He’s a reliable veteran who can still play on a reasonable $3.5M contract.
In yesterday’s Five Thoughts piece, Brandon speculated that Dadonov could be off to Seattle but made a case for that being a bad idea for the Sens. With a cap hit of $5M, with just two years left, and a reputation for being a reliable 20 goal scorer, the Sens would be a bit silly to give up on Dadonov at this point - especially for free.
That’s the exact reason why, if left exposed, Dadonov could be a great selection for the Kraken. He’s scored in this league for a long time. Even in a year where many fans didn’t love what they saw in Dadonov, he was still on pace for 19 goals in an 82 game campaign. When your “bad” year is still sniffing at 20 goals, you’re probably not someone to lose for free.
The only defender available who would be worth taking from the Senators would be Josh Brown. He didn’t necessarily impress in his first year in Ottawa but he’s a big body, right shot defender who could play on Seattle’s bottom pair next year. Depending on which forwards and goaltenders they select from other organizations, the Kraken may end up looking at Brown as the most logical option for them.
There is a large number of goalies available in the expansion draft for Seattle to pick from. From Chris Driedger to Braden Holtby, from Jake Allen to Alexander Georgiev. In Carolina, they have all of James Reimer, Petr Mrazek and Alex Nedelkjovic between the pipes at the moment, all of whom would be good picks by Seattle, regardless.
The one argument to make for taking Daccord, though, is that he is still waiver exempt. While he may not be a star prospect, he’s someone who could play in the AHL and be sent down without losing him on waivers. Depending on what they see around the league, they may pick Daccord based purely on the combination of him being a potential NHL goalie and having a conveniently structured contract.
So, what do you think? Will Seattle take an experienced forward like Tierney or Dadonov? Will they bolster their defensive depth by grabbing Brown or will they look to a young netminder with a convenient contract in Daccord? Or... someone else?
Who will Ottawa lose to Seattle in the expansion draft?