The Seattle Kraken isn’t messing around. A little more over a month until the expansion draft, it has been reported that general manager Ron Francis is hoping to land star players to set the tone for the club’s inaugural season.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Francis is already negotiating with other teams around the league ahead of the expansion draft and is trying to add impact players before players’ protection process begins. Friedman believes Kraken management is taking a closer look at Carolina Hurricanes star defenseman Dougie Hamilton and could be looking to acquire is services in a sign and trade transaction to get the blue liner in Seattle long term.
Meanwhile, other rumors see Buffalo Sabres center Sam Reinhart as another potential target for the expansion team, and could become a target for the Kraken.
Reinhart, a restricted free agent, has also come up in rumour circles which Friedman to report that he is already receiving a lot of interest on the trade market. The insider believes the Sabres will get a second high first-round selection in July, but we can’t say if Francis would be willing to lose his second overall pick at this summer’s NHL draft.
Reinhart finished this season with 25 goals and 40 points in 54 games on one of the worst teams in the league. He and Hamilton would be quite the additions to a new roster : there’s no doubt about it.
Friedman points out that if ever Hamilton isn’t available for Seattle, Francis could also take a look at other strong defensemen to build a strong core:
“And, if you can’t do the Dougie, there will be other options. Over the next two summers there are plenty of good defencemen who could hit the market. There are top-of-the-chart types ( Seth Jones, Colton Parayko), strong mid-levellers, good depth pieces, older, younger, you name it.
The key to all of this could be the Kraken. The surest predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, and when Ron Francis was GM of the Hurricanes he was a compulsive hoarder of defencemen. Seattle will have an exclusive negotiating window with free agents prior to the expansion draft. That window (or the draft itself) is an excellent opportunity for Francis to build his own unit, or do what Vegas did — acquire assets to be flipped elsewhere.”