The 2021 Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft is coming soon. Even though the playoffs are still going on, most teams will be starting to focus on the offseason as we get further into June. The Seattle Kraken will start their inaugural year in 2021-22, and with that comes the expansion draft. There are plenty of opportunities for this Seattle team and the draft, which will take place on July 21st, and is sure to be thrilling. While it will be hard to replicate the success of the Vegas Golden Knights (who are exempt from this draft) their first season, fans should be excited regardless. Each day, Last Word on Hockey will go through a team and preview all the possible protection, exposure, and trade scenarios. Today, we take a look at the Calgary Flames preview for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft.
Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft Options For Calgary Flames
The Calgary Flames had a disappointing season. They finished four points outside of the playoffs in the North Division after making them the past two seasons. They will be looking to bounce back for the 2021-22 season.
The biggest issue for the team surrounding the expansion draft is on defence. We’ll get more into this below, but the Flames have four cornerstones on their blueline in Mark Giordano, Chris Tanev, Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson but can only protect three of them. Losing one is not a great option for a team trying to get back into the playoffs. Calgary could pursue a side deal with the Seattle Kraken.
Protection List: Forwards
Gaudreau, Tkachuk, Monahan and Lindholm are the core-four among the Flames forward group. Gaudreau and Tkachuk can be one of the NHL’s most dangerous duos on the wing when they’re at their best. Monahan and Lindholm are both highly effective centres that can score at least more than 50 points a year.
Mangiapane has emerged as a top-six player who just won MVP of the World Championships. Backlund is a steady two-way centre. The 22-year-old Dube is still growing into his role in the NHL, but he is an effective bottom-six forward who can bring scoring and grit.
Protection List: Defence and Goalie
Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Andersson, Chris Tanev and Jacob Markstrom
Hanifin and Andersson are the present and future of the Flames defence. Both are under 25-years-old and top four defencemen for the team. Chris Tanev was Calgary’s best defenceman last season. The Flames badly out-chanced and outscored their opposition when he was on the ice. Whether Tanev can keep up this high level of play is yet to be seen, but he’s always consistent to be a reliable defensive defenceman.
Markstrom had a down year last year, but there is optimism he can bounce back. Markstrom’s issues were because he got concussed in February and didn’t return to form. If he’s healthy, he should be good. He had a .918 save percentage before his injury.
Calgary doesn’t have much to lose at the forward and goaltending positions in the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft. Many of their exposed forwards like Derek Ryan, Josh Leivo, and Joakim Nordstrom are unrestricted free agents. The best forward the Flames are exposing is Milan Lucic, who scored 23 points in 56 games. He has a no-movement clause but has agreed to waive it to help the team. Lucic has two years left at $5.25 million a season. The Kraken won’t take him with that contract.
In net, the Flames are exposing journeyman goaltender Louis Domingue and 23-year old Tyler Parsons. Parsons was once a great prospect in junior but has struggled as a professional goaltender. Seattle will have better goaltending options to choose from than what Calgary offers them.
Things get spicy on defence because their eight-year captain Mark Giordano is exposed. Giordano’s age at 37 is what hurts him because Calgary has a better future with the three defencemen they’ve protected. However, he led the team in scoring from the back-end and had a 53.8 even-strength Corsi For percentage this season. Even though he’s older, he’s still really effective.
Will the Flames make a deal to protect Giordano?
Mark Giordano will turn 38 at the beginning of next season, and the Flames need to decide whether to try to work out a deal to keep him. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Seattle takes him. Giordano only has one year left on his contract. The Kraken can handle the salary if they feel they need Girodano’s veteran leadership and stability on the back-end. Another option is Seattle could retain some of his salary and trade him for an asset.
At the end of the season, Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving raved about Giordano’s leadership skills while discussing the possibility of leaving him exposed in the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft. With inconsistent play and locker room issues hurting the team this year, moving on from their long-time leader doesn’t help them.
It will take a second-round pick or a third-round pick and a prospect to protect Giordano. That’s the best return Seattle could expect if they tried to move a 37-year-old defenceman to another team. Calgary has two second and third-round picks in the 2022 draft and should be fine moving one or two to keep their captain.
Seattle can also take Oliver Kylington from the Flames in the expansion draft. He’s a 24-year old defenceman who hasn’t worked out in Calgary but has upside as an offensive defenceman. If Seattle makes a deal on Giordano, they will get Kylington and other assets for not taking a 37-year-old defenceman. That’s good business.
Outside of their issue on defence, Calgary is well-positioned heading into the expansion draft. I don’t see them adding any pieces before then that would create more problems for protecting. I expect them to try to work out a deal with Seattle to ensure Giordano remains a Flame. That is the only piece of business I expect them to do.