Before digging into the picks from the Atlantic Division, a reminder of my guidelines for this version:
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.
Last time the Metro gave us the Kraken's captain and depth on the backend; now we move onto the Atlantic to get our goalie and some help up front.
F: Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Jake DeBrusk, Charlie Coyle, Ondrej Kase, Craig Smith
D: Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk
G: Tuukka Rask
LW - Anders Bjork - Signed at AAV of 1.6M
If he’s left unprotected by Boston, Bjork represents to me one of the best opportunities the Kraken will have to find their William Karlsson; a player who’s playing in a role further down the lineup than what he’s capable of filling. Bjork has never put up strong scoring numbers, but his underlying stats are strong; his Fenwick numbers have always been above 50%, and his high-danger chance percentage jumped to nearly 54% last season. His 5v5 goals for percentages have hovered around 60% for most of his career, and it’s worth a gamble for the Kraken that he can continue that type of production with more ice time.
F: Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart, Victor Olofsson, Jeff Skinner, Tage Thompson, Rasmus Asplund, Zemgus Girgensons
D: Rasmus Dahlin, Henri Jokiharju, Rasmus Ristolainen
G: Linus Ullmark
C - Casey Mittelstadt - RFA
At almost every level, Mittelstadt’s stats have never lived up to the eyeball test. That’s clearly been the case in Buffalo, to the point where he’s gone from their top prospect to not being able to consistently crack the lineup.
To be clear, this isn’t a case of underlying stats pointing to a player just being misused; outside of a very small sample size so far this year, his possession numbers and expected goals have consistently been poor. This is simply a bet that the underlying talent can emerge by being removed from the pressure he’s had over time in Buffalo, and being forced too high in the lineup too soon.
Zemgus Girgensons, if not protected, could fill an important role as a defensive-minded forward
Colin Miller is an intriguing option to fill a right-handed defenseman spot and power play role like he did for Vegas; I haven’t selected him here primarily because I’ve gone heavy on right-handed defensemen elsewhere.
Potential Trade Options
The Sabres have several bad contracts they would like to get out of, and the Kraken are in position to potentially take one of those if there is pick compensation included as well.
One name I’d also be interested in having attached to a trade is Lawrence Pilut. His underlying stats pointed to him being one of the Sabres’ most effective players when he was in the lineup in Buffalo, but he fell out of favor and left for the KHL. He’s a player that could be very effective in Seattle, and who I don’t see ever returning to Buffalo.
Detroit Red Wings
F: Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi, Robby Fabbri, Evgeny Svechnikov, Givani Smith, Michael Rasmussen
D: Filip Hronek, Dennis Cholowski, Troy Stecher
G: Thomas Greiss
C - Vladislav Namestnikov - Signed at AAV of 2M
Namestnikov is tough to figure out primarily due to the teams he’s spent most of his time with recently. His scoring numbers have been OK, but the underlying possession numbers have generally been very poor. However, outside of his stint in Colorado last year he’s spent the majority of the past few seasons with poor teams. Given the general lack of center depth available around the league and especially in the expansion draft, it’s worth taking a chance that his possession numbers are driven by his teammates.
Evgeny Svechnikov - I think it’s very unlikely that Detroit leaves Svechnikov unprotected, but there is clearly something that has not worked out for him with the Red Wings and they could look to move on. I still think they leave him protected to try to get something back for him.
F: Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Noel Acciari, Frank Vatrano, Alexander Wennberg, Carter Verhaeghe, Henrik Borgstrom
D: Keith Yandle, Aaaron Ekblad, MacKenzie Weegar
G: Sergei Bobrovsky
D - Markus Nutivaara - Signed at AAV of 2.7M
Florida lacks strong options in general, but Nutivaara presents the opportunity to pick up a right-handed defenseman who has put up decent possession numbers and very strong expected goal numbers. His contract may be a bit higher than I’d like given where he’d fall in the lineup with some of the other options available, but the Kraken clearly have room to absorb it.
Potential Trade Options
There was plenty of talk at the beginning of the season about the relationship between the Panthers and Keith Yandle. Yandle can control whether he would move and likely wouldn’t want to go to Seattle, but the Kraken should at least consider the option if it presents itself.
If the Kraken did select Nutivaara, I would also consider flipping him to another team in need of help on the right-side of the defense. That’s consistently one of the shallowest positions in the league, and the Kraken have the potential to trade from a position of strength in this situation.
F: Brendan Gallagher, Josh Anderson, Tyler Toffoli, Jerperi Kotkaniemi, Jonathan Drouin, Artturi Lehkonen, Jake Evans
D: Shea Weber, Ben Chiarot, Jeff Petry
G - Jake Allen - Signed at AAV of 2.875M
This might be the easiest pick of the draft for me, as Allen presents the opportunity to get your number one goalie on an affordable contract. Over the past two seasons, Allen has the highest save percentage on high-danger chances at 5v5 among anyone who has played at least 500 minutes; his overall save percentage is similarly strong (third overall). Allen deserves another chance to be a number one in the league, and he gives the Kraken a great chance to start building from the back.
F: Brady Tkachuk, Connor Brown, Colin White, Evgenii Dadonov, Drake Batherson, Logan Brown, Vitaly Abramov
D: Thomas Chabot, Christian Wolanin, Josh Brown
G: Marcus Hogberg
D - Nikita Zaitsev - Signed at AAV of 4.5M
Zaitzev is a player who I think gets too much blame from most, especially after his time in Toronto. His possession numbers aren’t strong, but his expected goals percentages have typically been strong throughout his career. If he’s paired with a partner that can drive possession, Zaitzev gives the Kraken a dependable defenseman on the right side who can also kill penalties.
Tampa Bay Lightning
F: Nikita Kucherov, Anthony Cirelli, Brayden Point, Steven Stamkos
D: Victor Hedman, Mikhail Sergachev, Erik Cernak, Cal Foote
G: Andrei Vasilevskiy
LW Ondrej Palat - Signed at AAV of 5.3M
Tampa clearly needs to clear cap space, and I expect them to leave multiple good options available to the Kraken who can provide needed scoring; that’s why they go with the 8 skater option in this scenario for their protected list. Palat’s finishing has lacked at times, but he’s consistently good for at least 25 points at 5v5. With dependable scoring lacking, the Kraken have to take him and hope he can continue that type of production.
Alex Killorn, Tyler Johnson, Yanni Gourde, Pat Maroon as other forward options
Cal Foote if the Lightning do go 7-3-1 with their protected list
Toronto Maple Leafs
F: Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Zach Hyman, Alexander Kerfoot, Pierre Engvall
D: Morgan Rielly, Jake Muzzin, T.J. Brodie
G: Jack Campbell
RW - Joey Anderson - Signed at AAV of 750K
Toronto has a lot of high-end talent and a lack of depth, which makes finding a pick difficult. Anderson has struggled for most of his time in the NHL, but there’s enough talent there to think more could develop over time.
We’ve now filled a couple key positions; next time, the Central fills a couple more, provides some depth, and presents one of the more interesting question marks of the draft.