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.
The team has been busy naming its first head coach in franchise history and looking over the the projected lists of protected players ahead of the expansion draft, however, rival teams are also busier because of the Kraken.
Sportsnet’ Elliotte Friedman pointed out in his latest 31 Thoughts column that he believes some trade discussions are stalled over worries about expansion draft protection. There’s also concern the Kraken could draft exposed players and then flip them elsewhere.
“I do think some trade discussions are stalled because teams want to make sure they don’t run into expansion protection trouble. You aren’t making a move without making sure it means you don’t get chewed up by the Kraken. And Seattle is leveraging its position.
There are definitely teams concerned that the Kraken will draft exposed players and flip them elsewhere. For example, would Seattle draft a Matt Dumba or a Mark Giordano, potentially eat some salary and take bids? Either player makes sense for someone like Edmonton.”
There is no doubt that GM Francis is going to look at side deals if it lands a return that provides long-term benefits. We all saw how the Vegas Golden Knights did that during their expansion draft.
It is believed that 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 rumours 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.
In the meantime, rival teams prefer to be cautious ahead of the expansion draft, which takes place on July, 21st.