A lot has changed since the first Vancouver Canucks NHL expansion draft article, players have left and players have come, and the Seattle Kraken have been named. Now with the NHL expansion draft just weeks away, it is time to look back into who the Kraken could draft from Vancouver in July.
Expansion Draft Rules
Seattle must select one player from each team, excluding the Vegas Golden Knights. Teams may protect nine players with two different options. Option one is seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie. Option two is eight skaters and one goalie. All players with no-movement clauses, who decline to waive such clause must be protected and will count against their team’s protection numbers.
Exempt players are players in their first or second professional seasons, as well as all unsigned draft selections.
Who Vancouver Will Protect
Looking at the Canucks roster it is likely they protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie come expansion draft time.
The forwards the Canucks will likely protect are, Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, J.T. Miller, and Tanner Pearson, Kole Lind, and Tyler Motte. Therefore leaving Jake Virtanen, Zack MacEwen, Loui Eriksson, among others exposed. Nils Hoglander is exempt due to entering his second year while Micheal Ferland will likely be exempt due to his career-threatening injury.
As for defensemen things could get tricky. It seems as though they will protect Tyler Myers, Nate Schmidt, and Olli Juolevi. This would leave Jalen Chatfield, Madison Bowey, Guillaume Brisebois, among others exposed. Keep in mind Quinn Hughes is exempt.
NHL Expansion Draft Potential Selections
There are many routes the Seattle Kraken can take that could have big implications on the Canucks and Kraken future rivalry.
Worst-case scenario: The worst-case scenario would the Kraken selecting one of either Chatfield or MacEwen. Both of which could play big roles in Vancouver at some point down the road. There are better options for the Canucks but there may not be any better options for Seattle comes the NHL expansion draft.
Alright case scenario: An alright scenario for Vancouver is if the Kraken decide to take Holtby. Although it may hurt the Canucks to lose a starting-caliber goalie such as Holtby it will pay dividends for Demko getting more net time. Although playing the devil’s advocate Holtby would give Seattle a former Vezina and Stanley Cup winner to start their franchise.
Best-case scenario: The best-case scenario for the Canucks would be Seattle taking Jake Virtanen. It is highly unlikely the Kraken will give Virtanen a new start with his current legal struggles and even his struggles on the ice.
Who Does Seattle Select?
The Canucks do not make a move in forcing Seattle’s hand. The Kraken select goaltender Braden Holtby. The Golden Knights set the blueprint a few years back by selecting a former Stanley Cup-winning goaltender and the Kraken read the blueprint. Much like Marc-Andre Fleury, Holtby is coming off a not so memorable season. Holtby is still a solid goalie and can still be a cornerstone for most franchises around the NHL.
Expansion Draft Recap
In the 2021 NHL expansion draft, the Canucks take a hit losing veteran goalie Braden Holtby to their soon-to-be rival Seattle Kraken. All is not bad in Vancouver though as the Canucks keep their already weakened depth in tack, well also freeing up a little bit of cap space. The NHL expansion draft will be held on July 21st, 2021 and until then fans will have to just sit back and wait.