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NHL insider: Why you can expect several Seattle Kraken trades after expansion draft

Ron Francis will officially build the first Seattle Kraken roster in the expansion draft. (AP)

The long-awaited Seattle Kraken expansion draft is finally here, and we’ll get to see who will make up the team’s first roster in its inaugural season.

Seattle Kraken expansion draft tracker: Picks, trades, reports and more

Kraken general manager Ron Francis will make 30 selections – one player from each team aside from recent expansion team Las Vegas – and those 30 will be the first players in team history.

But just how many of Seattle’s picks will be on the ice for the Kraken in their first game later this year? According to one NHL expert, it’s likely that quite a few of the players that we see Seattle take Wednesday evening will wind up in another city in the near future.

That expert is Chris Johnston, who covers the NHL for Hockey Night in Canada. He joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant on Wednesday morning to discuss the expansion draft and the Kraken’s immediate future.

Johnston made it very clear that the expansion process has allowed Seattle to put itself in a good position for success going forward. A lot of that has to do with a multitude of trades he expects the Kraken to make in the near future.

“Probably the most valuable assets the Kraken are going to come away with is what they’re going to be able to do selecting players and trading them somewhere else,” Johnston said. “I think over the course of the next few days or week we’ll see them take guys in the expansion draft tonight and flip them elsewhere for future picks.”

By trading some of the players taken in Wednesday’s expansion draft, Johnston said the Kraken will be in a great spot going forward, including for the regular NHL Draft on Friday and Saturday.

“Then you’re going to have a team that has good players, tons of future assets and are going to have a fair amount of (salary) cap space,” he said. “And as a result, I think that they’re going to be (at the beginning) of a team-building process where they’re going to (have an advantage) over the rest of the competition around the league.”

If the Kraken do indeed make a few deals after the expansion draft, it will likely be due to one position.

“I think you’re going to see them take a lot of defensemen because those are going to be valuable trade chips for them,” Johnston said. “So when everything is said and done, they might have well over 13 defensemen. You have 26 (players on the roster) in a game and you usually carry eight (defensemen) on your roster.”

Listen to the conversation with Johnston at this link or in the player below starting around the 11-minute mark.

Follow Brandon Gustafson on Twitter.

Full details: Kraken expansion draft coverage from 710 ESPN Seattle

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