KRAKEN

Seattle Kraken expansion draft: Canadiens G Carey Price among top players left unprotected

Jul 18, 2021, 10:11 AM | Updated: 10:40 am
The Seattle Kraken could take Montreal goalie Carey Price, a former Tri-City Americans player. (AP) ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - MAY 23: Vladimir Tarasenko #91 of the St. Louis Blues celebrates after scoring a goal against Philipp Grubauer #31 of the Colorado Avalanche in the second period at Enterprise Center on May 23, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 1: Mark Giordano #5 of the Calgary Flames warms up prior to the game against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on March 1, 2020 in Sunrise, Florida. The Flames defeated the Panthers 3-0. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) SUNRISE, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 08:  Nino Niederreiter #21 of the Carolina Hurricanes takes a shot on goal against goaltender Sam Montembeault #33 of the Florida Panthers during the second period at BB&T Center on October 08, 2019 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) TAMPA, FLORIDA - JUNE 30: Ondrej Palat #18 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates with teammates after scoring against Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens during the third period in Game Two of the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on June 30, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) TAMPA, FLORIDA - JUNE 15: Alex Killorn #17 of the Tampa Bay Lightning yells at a New York Islanders player in Game Two of the Stanley Cup Semifinals during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Amalie Arena on June 15, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) TAMPA, FLORIDA - JUNE 30:  Yanni Gourde #37 of the Tampa Bay Lightning is defended by Jeff Petry #26 of the Montreal Canadiens during the third period in Game Two of the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on June 30, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) TAMPA, FLORIDA - JULY 07: Cal Foote #52 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates with the Stanley Cup following the victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game Five of the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Amalie Arena on July 07, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. The Lightning defeated the Canadiens 1-0 to take the series four games to one. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 02: Tyler Johnson #9 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the Montreal Canadiens during Game Three of the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Bell Centre on July 02, 2021 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 31: Ben Bishop #30 of the Dallas Stars tends net against the Colorado Avalanche in Game Five of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 31, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) SUNRISE, FL - MAY 10: Chris Driedger #60 of the Florida Panthers defends the net against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the BB&T Center on May 10, 2021 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: Vitek Vanecek #41 of the Washington Capitals takes the ice before the game against the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena on May 11, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 04:  Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche takes a break during a stop in play in the third period of Game Three of the Second Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena on June 4, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Golden Knights defeated the Avalanche 3-2.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) TORONTO, ON - MAY 27:  Alexander Kerfoot #15 of the Toronto Maple Leafs heads up ice with the puck against the Montreal Canadiens in Game Five of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on May 27, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Canadiens defeated the Maple Leafs 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - APRIL 27: Jared McCann #19 of the Pittsburgh Penguins in action during a game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins at PPG PAINTS Arena on April 27, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Boston Bruins won 3-1. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - MAY 20: Jason Zucker #16 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his second period goal against the New York Islanders in Game Three of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Nassau Coliseum on May 20, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - FEBRUARY 03: James van Riemsdyk #25 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Boston Bruins at Wells Fargo Center on February 03, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 21: Vince Dunn #29 of the St. Louis Blues juggles the puck prior to the game against the Vancouver Canucks in Game Six of the Western Conference First Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 21, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - APRIL 11:  P.K. Subban #76 of the New Jersey Devils waits for the review of his goal in the third period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Prudential Center on April 11, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey.The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the New Jersey Devils 5-2. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 15: Justin Schultz #2 of the Washington Capitals looks on during the second period against the Boston Bruins during Game One of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs May 15, 2021 at Capital One Arena on May 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

After backstopping the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup Final, Carey Price has been left unprotected for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft.

NHL expert on Kraken’s expansion draft approach, early expectations

Price could become the face of the NHL’s 32nd franchise if general manager Ron Francis and his staff decide to take on one of the biggest contracts in hockey. He agreed to waive a clause in his contract to be exposed so Montreal could protect cheaper backup Jake Allen, but his goaltending ability, off-ice marketability and ties to the Pacific Northwest could make Price an attractive option even with a salary cap hit of $10.5 million for five more years.

The 2015 MVP and Vezina Trophy winner is the biggest star left unprotected for the Kraken to select, but there’s plenty of other talent available.

View the full unprotected lists for Seattle Kraken expansion draft

St. Louis winger Vladimir Tarasenko is an option two years removed from hoisting the Stanley Cup after asking the Blues for a trade. Calgary exposed captain and 2019 Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Mark Giordano. And Carolina surprisingly made forward Nino Niederreiter available.

The league released the protected lists of all 30 teams eligible for the expansion draft Sunday morning. Seattle will pick one player from everyone except Vegas — which just went through this process in 2017 — and announce those selections at the expansion draft Wednesday night.

Price is the most intriguing possible for Seattle, and the location likely helped convince the soon-to-be 34-year-old to waive his no-movement clause to be exposed. He played for the Western Hockey League’s Tri-City Americans a few hours drive away, and his wife, Angela, is from Kennewick, Washington.

That could make Price a natural cornerstone for the Kraken to build around like the Golden Knights did with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who was fresh off winning the Cup with Pittsburgh. Price and the Canadiens lost to Tampa Bay in five games in the final.

The back-to-back champion Lightning have easily the deepest pool of available players. Top-line winger Ondrej Palat, longtime forward Alex Killorn, third-line center Yanni Gourde and young defenseman Cal Foote are all exposed. Squeezed by the cap that’s remaining flat at $81.5 million, they could also work out a side deal with the Kraken to take Spokane native Tyler Johnson and his $5 million price tag for three more seasons.

Seattle has all the leverage and the benefit of cap space.

“The one thing that we think is extremely, extremely valuable in this environment is cap space,” Francis said Saturday. “We’ve got $81.5 million of cap space to play with, so that’s certainly something that we want to make sure we try and take advantage of moving forward.”

Seattle has certain minimums it must meet in the expansion draft, including selecting at least 20 players under contract for next season with salaries totaling at least $48 million. The Kraken must pick at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders.

There’s no shortage of options.

Beyond Price, Dallas’ Ben Bishop, Florida’s Chris Driedger and Washington’s Vitek Vanecek are among the available goalies. Driedger is a pending free agent, but the Kraken have an exclusive negotiating window until Wednesday to sign him and others to a new contract.

Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog, Toronto’s Alex Kerfoot and newly acquired Jared McCann, Pittsburgh’s Jason Zucker and Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk join the Lightning trio, Niederreiter and Tarasenko as the most productive forwards available.

Tarasenko’s Blues teammate Vince Dunn, New Jersey’s personable P.K. Subban and Washington’s Justin Schultz are among the unprotected defensemen — a position not quite as deep in high-end talent. That’s by design.

“Teams knew we were coming, and they’ve had four years to prepare,” Francis said.

Forslund on Seattle Kraken expansion draft: Get a goalie, long-term plan

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