With the Seattle Kraken entering the NHL for the 2021-22 season they need to get some actual NHL players. The only way that they are going to fill out a quality roster is through an expansion draft. Every team in the NHL except the Vegas Golden Knights will have to expose some of their players and Seattle will be able to decide who they want on their team. The Boston Bruins unfortunately will have to lose one of their players. The Bruins get to protect seven forwards three defensemen and a goalie or eight skaters and a goalie.
With a lot of the Bruins’ major parts being free agency they have more flexibility to protect young players than other teams. Thanks to the flexibility there are players on this list who most likely would have been protected had it not been for their contract.
The first player that should be exposed is an assistant captain on the Bruins and has spent his entire 15 season career with the team. David Krejci has been a terrific Bruin for his entire tenure as he helped them capture the 2011 Stanley Cup and helped them reach the Stanley Cup Finals two more teams during his career. With the Bruins, he has almost reached the 1000 games plateau and he has eclipsed 730 NHL points with the club.
Despite being a fantastic player for the Bruins he should be exposed to the Seattle Kraken expansion draft. The reason he should be exposed is that he is a pending unrestricted free agent. If the Seattle Kraken decided to draft him he will have the option to sign a contract with Seattle and play for them or he can decide to not sign a contract with them and enter free agency. In free agency, he most likely will return back to Boston and finish his career with the Bruins. Although unlikely if he is drafted by the Kraken and he signs a contract with them Krejci will slot in nicely as a second or third-line center for the organization.
The Bruins starting goalie should be exposed at the expansion draft by the Boston Bruins because he is a pending unrestricted free agent. This season Tuukka Rask was very good for the Bruins as he guided them to a 33-16-7 record in the regular season and an appearance in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 34-year-old out of Finland played his way to a .913 save percentage and 2.28 goals-against average. The former Vezina Trophy winner has already stated that he wants to remain with the Bruins for the remainder of his career.
Now if the Seattle Kraken decides to select Rask he will have two options. Similar to Krejci he can sign a contract with the Kraken and play for them or he can decide to not sign a contract with them and enter free agency. In free agency, he most likely will return back to Boston and finish his career with the Bruins. If the unlikely and improbable thing happens and Rask gets drafted by the Kraken and signs a contract he obviously will be the starting goalie of the team.
The unfortunate and disappointing Ondrej Kase’s tenure in Boston may be ending very soon. The Czechoslovakian native came to the Bruins in February 2020 as part of the David Backes salary cap dump. So far his time in Boston has not gone to plan. Kase had battled injuries when he was a member of the Ducks and nothing changed when he came to Beantown.
With the Bruins, he has played just nine regular-season games across two seasons. He has also played 11 playoff games for the Bruins. During his nine regular-season games in Boston, he has amassed one measly assist. In the playoffs, his production has been a little better as he collected four assists during the Bruins time in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Kase should be exposed by the Bruins for two reasons. The first and most obvious is that he can not stay healthy. It seems clear that a player that is injured and can not play is not provided anything on the ice for the team. The second reason the Bruins should leave him exposed is that he is a restricted free agent.
If Seattle does decide to take a gamble on him and make him a part of their team then they will have to sign him to his next contract. The other option for Kase is he can sign an offer sheet with another team but Seattle will have the opportunity to match that offer sheet and retain him on their team. Hypothetically if Kase is drafted by the Kraken and signs a contract he will be a nice complimentary piece in the top nine that can chip in 15-20 goals if healthy.
This is the first player on the list that player the Boston Bruins will not have a chance to get back if he is selected is Connor Clifton. The New Jersey native has spent the last three seasons with the Bruins after being draft by the Coyotes in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL draft. Clifton has been a solid depth defenseman for the Boston Bruins during the regular season but he seemingly comes alive and plays a prominent role during the playoffs every year. During the 2021 season, he played 44 games scoring just one goal and six assists. The defensive defenseman played 10 games in the playoffs for the Bruins but was unable to get on the scoreboard.
He is a solid piece to the Boston Bruins roster makeup and will be missed if the Kraken does indeed want to draft him. The only reason he is not being protected by the Bruins is that there are better and more important defensemen on the roster than Clifton. If Seattle does draft Clifton he will more than likely slide right into their top six defensemen as more of a shutdown defenseman than a point producer.
Final Thoughts on Who the Boston Bruins Should Expose at the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft
While some of the players listed may be surprising and unpredictable they are serious candidates for the Boston Bruins to expose because of their contract situation or their prior injury history. The most likely person to be drafted from the list above is Connor Clifton. So far in his career, he has been relatively healthy and effective. Not only that but he has been an effective player when he steps on the ice. He will be a fantastic pick for a team that is just starting to build up their franchise.
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