Before getting into mypicks from the Central Division, a reminder of my guidelines:
This is my projection of how I would approach the draft, not a prediction of how the Kraken will actually handle it. So much of the Kraken’s actual decisions will depend on the style of team they want to build and their overall organizational strategy.
I mention some potential trade targets and structures, but have not predicted any trades yet. That will come in my next version of the draft.
I’ve aimed to build the best team I could, and have ensured that I meet the requirements of the draft. However, that’s left me with a team that would have too many NHL caliber players in the minors. Some of that will be addressed with the trades in the next version, while the Kraken will also choose in some cases to pick fringe players instead of the best player available.
I’ve made sure the team would be able to put out two powerplay and penalty kill units, but have not yet addressed items like ensuring the powerplay units have a workable mixture of right and left-handed shots.
F: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome, Alex Nylander, Lucas Wallmark, Brandon Hagel
D: Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Nikita Zadorov
G: Collin Delia
D - Connor Murphy - Signed at AAV of 3.85M
Murphy is a player that Chicago would likely prefer to keep as part of their team, but they could be restricted by no movement clauses. Murphy’s underlying stats are weak, with poor possession and chance numbers; with that in mind, I wouldn’t want him as part of the lineup at 3.85M per year. However, I do think the Kraken could find a taker who likes his talent enough to give up some assets for Seattle to flip him.
Nylander if not protected
Zadorov if they protect Murphy instead
F: Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, Andre Burakovsky, Nazem Kadri, Valeri Nichushkin, Brandon Saad
D: Cale Makar, Erik Johnson, Sam Girard
G: Philipp Grubauer
D - Devon Toews - Signed at AAV of 4.1M
Outside of Jake Allen, Toews is potentially the most important piece that the Kraken could have a chance to pick in the draft. Besides last season spent on a team in the Islanders that didn’t emphasize possession, he has consistently put up strong possession numbers to go along with his extremely good high-danger chance and xG percentages. He can fill the left side of the Kraken’s top pairing and be dependable as a penalty killer as well.
I could see Colorado going the route of protecting eight skaters to protect Toews. If they did, any of the forwards not protected from this list would be valuable assets.
F: Benn, Seguin, Radulov, Gurianov, Hintz, Faksa, Dickinson
D: Heiskanen, Lindell, Klingberg
G - Anton Khudobin - Signed at AAV of 3.33M
This is one area where I feel I differ most significantly from most - I don’t actually want the Kraken to spend a pick on Khudobin. I feel Jake Allen can be a number one, and while the league has moved towards a 1A and 1B setup in most cases, I don’t think the Kraken need Khudobin to be their 1B at his age.
Instead, it’s possible that the Stars could value Khudobin more than Seattle does; that could mean that a trade is a possibility. That likely comes down to how the Stars feel about Jake Oettinger. If they think he is ready to at least be part of their tandem, then there likely isn’t a trade to be made here and the Kraken can’t afford to pass on Khudobin at that point. They could still look to flip him to a team in need of goaltender improvement.
F: Zach Parise, Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Fiala, Joel Eriksson Ek
D: Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Matt Dumba, Jonas Brodin
G: Kaapo Kahkonen
Greenway represents an intriguing option who can provide scoring and physicality up front. He’s posted 23 and 25 points at 5v5 the past two seasons, while posting excellent xG and scoring chance numbers. He gives the Kraken an option to either pair with Oshie as a big forechecking line, or to separate them and ensure there’s physicality and size throughout the top six.
This is also a pick I expect to change later on, as I expect the Wild to move a defenseman prior to the draft and end up protecting Greenway.
Ryan Hartman (RFA)
F: Viktor Arvidson, Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg, Luke Kunin
D: Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm, Dante Fabbro, Ryan Ellis
G: Juuse Saros
G - Connor Ingram - Signed at AAV of 733K
The Predators don’t present many options if they go with this version of protecting eight skaters, so this becomes a depth signing in goal. Ingram might never have a place in the NHL, but can be valuable at the AHL level for the Kraken. This all assumes nothing follows Ingram from the investigation into match fixing.
Kunin if not protected
Matt Duchene if not protected
St. Louis Blues
F: Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn, Robert Thomas, Oskar Sunqvist, Jordan Kyrou
D: Colton Parayko, Torey Krug, Vince Dunn
G: Jordan Binnington
LW - Samuel Blais - Signed at AAV of 1.5M
Blais has struggled to consistently crack the Blues’ lineup, but has posted roughly average possession metrics in his time in the lineup. That’s taken a jump this year, but it coincides so far with having a much higher portion of his starts in the offensive zone. The Kraken can clearly do worse than having a pretty average forward to fill out their forward lineup, and Blais is a strong depth option for them.
F: Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Nikolaj Ehlers, Andrew Copp, Mason Appleton
D: Josh Morrissey, Dylan DeMelo, Neal Pionk
G: Connor Hellebuyck
D - Nathan Beaulieu - Signed at AAV of 1.25M
Beaulieu is another player who a lot of people love for his physicality mixed with some offensive skill. However, the underlying stats have consistently been average to poor. He still has value to the Kraken as a seventh defenseman; the biggest issue could be that he’s expressed disappointment in the past when relegated to a similar role.
The majority of the lineup is filled at this point, which is good considering the lack of depth on most of the Pacific teams going through rebuilds. However, next time we will grab our number one center and round out our top four on the back end.