Last-minute trades impact the Kraken’s expansion decisions

by Dan Morse

There was a flurry of trades in the NHL on Saturday morning ahead of the roster freeze and the deadline for team protected lists heading into the week of the Seattle Kraken expansion draft. Many of them had major implications for what was expected regarding the players available to Seattle on Wednesday. Here’s a rundown of what trades happened and how they will affect the Kraken’s initial roster.

THE TRADE

Dallas trades center Jason Dickinson to Vancouver for a 2021 3rd round pick

THE IMPLICATIONS

With the news that goaltender Ben Bishop would waive his no-move clause last week in order to protect fellow goaltender Anton Khudobin, Dickinson became the frontrunner to be picked by Seattle. He’ll be on the protection list in Vancouver, bumping someone like Matthew Highmore off, while the options from the Stars look much more slim.

THE TRADE

Arizona trades goaltender Adin Hill to San Jose for goaltender Josef Korenar and a 2022 2nd round pick

THE IMPLICATIONS

Hill looked like the default pick for Seattle on a very meh Coyotes team. Now it looks more likely Seattle takes a forward in Johan Larsson or Christian Fischer, or perhaps makes a side deal to take on the exorbitant contract of Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who carries an $8.25M cap hit through 2027.

THE TRADE

Pittsburgh trades left winger Jared McCann to Toronto for center Filip Hållander and a 2023 7th round pick

THE IMPLICATIONS

McCann looked like the clear choice from Pittsburgh last week after reports surfaced that the Penguins would protect Brandon Tanev over McCann, but that’s out the window now. Seattle will likely look at forward Zach Aston-Reese or a defenseman like Marcus Pettersson or Mike Matheson from Pittsburgh now.

This one also has significant implications in Toronto, who were speculated to protect four forwards and four defensemen, but will now have to use the 7F/3D approach to protect McCann. That should leave someone like Justin Holl available on the blue line for the Kraken.

THE TRADE

Nashville acquires Cody Glass and Philippe Myers from Philadelphia & Vegas

Philadelphia acquires Ryan Ellis from Nashville

Vegas acquires Nolan Patrick from Philadelphia

THE IMPLICATIONS

With Nolan Patrick gone, the Flyers are now projected to protect winger James van Riemsdyk. That leaves Jacob Voracek and Nicolas Aubé-Kubel as the potential forward picks from the Flyers and Shayne Gostisbehere as an available defender.

Nashville now has Cody Glass, who is exempt from the expansion draft, and doesn’t have to protect Ryan Ellis. They could potentially now protect popular mock draft choice Calle Järnkrok.

Vegas gets Nolan Patrick, who by virtue of playing for Vegas, is now exempt from the expansion draft.

THE TRADE

The New York Islanders trade two 2nd round picks and a 3rd round pick to Arizona in exchange for Arizona taking on Andrew Ladd and his near $5M cap hit.

THE IMPLICATIONS

The Islanders are in a tough cap situation right now, with $12.9M in projected cap space and both Anthony Beuvillier and Adam Pelech still to be signed. This relieves some of their cap issues, which could lessen the impact of a side deal with Seattle to take on a big contract in exchange for draft picks or prospects.

Perhaps the most impactful piece of news from an eventful day was the trade that did not happen. The St. Louis Blues were either unable or unwilling to move Vladimir Tarasenko before the noon roster freeze. Now it appears that the Blues are willing to let him head to Seattle for potentially no return.

Tarasenko has only appeared in 34 games in the past two years, but scored at least 30 goals in the five prior seasons. He would immediately be the Kraken’s top goal scorer. His $7.5M cap hit is nothing to sneeze at, but he’s worth the money if he is healthy.

Rosters are now frozen, which means no more trades or signings can happen until after the expansion draft. Protected lists will be distributed on Sunday morning at 7am and from that point on it will be nothing but real Kraken news until the final expansion roster is released on Wednesday at 5pm.

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