Groz: Seattle Kraken make their style of play clear in expansion draft
Well, the Seattle Kraken expansion draft is in the books.
History will tell ultimately how they did. One thing is for sure – not all these players will not be suiting up for Seattle. Expect trades to be made.
Of course, the Las Vegas Golden Knights just a couple of years ago put together the pieces of an NHL Stanley Cup finalist in their first year, so I got a friend of mine who covers the Knights to weigh in on what was different with the Kraken’s draft and what was the key to Vegas’ success.
According to Steve Carp, author of “Vegas Born: The Remarkable Story of the Golden Knights,” the rules “stayed the same” for this expansion draft even though not every NHL owner was happy about the spectacular success of the Knights. Most saw having an expansion team be good right away as a good thing, though.
Two key things to watch, as Steve put it: “How many extra draft picks did they acquire through the side deals, and two, how much cap space did they leave themselves going forward?”
That information is still to come as of Wednesday night.
First off, great show by the Kraken, but ESPN2 not so much. In fairness, it’s an expansion draft show, but the scene and optics the Kraken came up with were first class. But NHL commissioner Gary Bettman couldn’t even get the name of the arena right? Expect the boos to continue.
Longtime Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano will be the captain – he’s a big-time player and he reflects the defensive nature of the Kraken’s draft as the team went heavy for defense and scrappy two way-type forwards.
The six players who were on stage at Gas Works Park are of course likely to stick with the club. Chris Driedger, the now-former Panthers goalie, signed a three-year contract with the Kraken. He has just 41 games of NHL experience but the Kraken are betting at age 27 he’s ready for the big time. No overstating how important the goalie is, especially with this squad, which on paper figures to be in a lot of low-scoring games.
It’s a safe guess that 75% of the Kraken’s inaugural roster will be made up of these players picked Wednesday, so time to get to know them. If they live up to the show the Kraken promotions department put together, it’s going to be very good from the get-go.