Welcome back to our Seattle Expansion Draft Series. If you haven’t read the first article that lays out the rules of the expansion draft, that would be a good starting point, as I’ll only give the very basic rules in each of these follow up articles. If you are interested in Detroit, that was the second article and the seventh article.
I’m going to take a look at either one or two other NHL teams each week. My goal is to get some input from people who cover the team because let’s face it, I don’t have the knowledge of each NHL team to be able to give you the best idea of what to expect. Keep in mind that there’s a lot that could happen between now and July, when the lists are finalized. So let’s dive into the Sharks and the Blues!
San Jose Sharks
For a while, Martin Jones would be the obvious choice. No more. As Kyle puts it:
Jones has been truly awful for 3 seasons now, and on a downward trajectory. Seattle almost assuredly will not be taking him, but he meets the requirements and you never know, maybe they’ll take that big contract (they won’t). [Josef] Korenar is a young goalie prospect so they will certainly be protecting him. If Jones isn’t taken, it’s looking likely that they will be buying him out.
SJ has two defensemen with No Movement Clauses: Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. After that, Demetrius says that Burns is the third defenseman whom they’ll protect, even though Burns is not the same dominant player he was for years:
You protect Brent Burns because even if you are trying to get rid of that contact, he still holds value in the NHL and should be able to be traded for some kind of assets. [Radim] Simek is, for all intents and purposes, not that great. He was promising when he broke into the league, but he was already mid 20s so you weren’t getting more value out of him. The biggest issue here is his context. 2.25 million may not seem like a lot, but at 3 more years of this, it’s a contract that is eating up valuable cap space for a guy who is now your 5th or 6th defenceman. They will leave him exposed and protect a bunch of forwards, and Simek is a likely target for Seattle.
The Sharks have a bunch of pretty easy decisions. Logan Couture is the captain, and he’s not getting exposed.
After that, the next group is pretty easy: Evander Kane, Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl, and Kevin Labanc are all clear choices.
Balcers played incredibly well with San Jose and will get a protection slot. Donato was a healthy scratch to end the season, for almost a month and before that had played his way into the fourth line. After the season the coaching staff all but said he’s not part of the plans going forward. Could he be resigned to like a 1x1 and then exposed? Potentially, but he won’t be protected. I think, they should protect Jonathan Dahlen, someone they traded for and have been patient in development. Rumours in Sweden are that they’ve offered him a 1-way contract, so I don’t think they would leave him exposed.
That would mean that they would have to sign a couple of their FAs to meet exposure. This will likely be Nieto and Gambrell. They could also protect Gambrell instead of Dahlen but that would be risky. They also could sign Marleau and expose him
I always ask about the largest decisions the team will have to make. According to Demetrius, San Jose will have some big decisions:
The biggest decisions are protecting Dahlen or Gambrell. From there, the expansion draft is really an opportunity for Wilson to make deals. He has made comments about wanting to add 3 or 4 more picks this off season for the draft. They have also been hints about them going to teams in tough spots and making trades to make other teams protections easier so they don’t lose someone of value for nothing. It’s also a spot where Doug could potentially get off a fat contract. Burns has said he’s open to going to a good team for instance. Labanc was dangled at the deadline.
Current Predicted Protections
Erik Karlsson (NMC)
Marc-Edouard Vlasic (NMC)
Notable Unprotected Players
St. Louis Blues
Laura Astorian, site manager for St. Louis Game Time, was a guest on the Fer Sure podcast after St. Louis won the Stanley Cup, and she was awesome on the show. So when I was thinking of someone to ask for this series, she was an easy choice. Unfortunately, we didn’t get around to talking about the amazing music video for “Gloria” this time.
Like many goalies, Jordan Binnington has been inconsistent, but I can’t see them exposing their goalie who was such a large part of their championship run.
Defense has two obvious names, then a choice for the team to make. First off, Justin Faulk and Torey Krug are definitely going to be protected, given the current roster. Here’s what Astorian says about that choice:
I think that the Blues protect Parayko over Dunn. Dunn might be on the block and out of here before the draft, and the team’s really positioning Parayko as Pietrangelo’s heir on defense.
For forwards, St. Louis fits into a familiar pattern that readers of this series will recognize. The first 6 forward spots are pretty clear, and the last spot is a little more open. Let’s start with the easier choices.
Ryan O’Reilly, Vlad Tarasenko, Brayden Schenn, Robert Thomas, and Jordan Kyrou jumped out at me immediately. I had lost track of how David Perron was doing, but he had a good season, so he takes my sixth spot.
On the list I sent to Laura, I had Samuel Blais because he provided positive value to St. Louis last year and he’s on the younger side. She told me, however, that I was mistaken:
I think among forwards, they protect Sundqvist over Blais. Blais is fine and he eventually found a role (and kid can hit, and some muscle isn’t a bad idea for the Blues as long as it’s doled out smartly). Sundqvist, though, the coaching staff struck me as genuinely upset about losing. He plays hard in every situation and is one of those spark-plug players that’s hard to ignore.
As for what player or players Astorian thinks that Seattle would be interested in, my initial thoughts that Vince Dunn was valuable are validated!
I think Seattle will be interested in (depending on the situation with him) Vince Dunn - it’s hard to pass up a talented defenseman who’s only 24. Barbashev as well will be a hot commodity, and someone that I don’t think anyone wants going anywhere.
Some Blues fans would love to tell you that Zach Sanford is in demand and the Kraken need to choose him. Ignore them; that’ll never happen and the Blues will be stuck with him through the end of time.
Current Predicted Protections
Notable Unprotected Players
Article 1: The Rules
Article 2: Detroit (First Time)
Article 3: Anaheim and Arizona
Article 4: Boston and Buffalo
Article 5: Calgary and Carolina
Article 6 - Chicago and Colorado
Article 7 - Detroit (Second Time)
Quick Rules Update
Article 8 - Columbus and Dallas
Article 9 - Edmonton and Florida
Article 10 - Los Angeles and Minnesota
Article 11 - Montreal and Nashville
Article 12 - New Jersey and New York (Islanders)
Article 13 - New York (Rangers) and Ottawa Senators
Article 14 - Philadelphia and Pittsburgh