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2021 Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft Preview: Philadelphia Flyers

Seattle Kraken expansion draft

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, 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) 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 Philadelphia Flyers preview for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft.

Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft Options for Philadelphia Flyers

The Outlook

The 2020-21 season was a disappointing one for the Philadelphia Flyers. After reaching the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last year and losing only a few players over the offseason, expectations were high. But the Flyers ultimately fell to a sixth-place finish in the East Division due to an unforeseen breakdown on defence and a major regression from goaltender Carter Hart.

As the expansion draft approaches, the Flyers’ main concern will be their forward group, which has much more depth than the defence or goaltending. There simply isn’t a way to protect all the key players. As a result, it seems likely that the team will lose an impactful player to the draft.

Protection List: Forwards

Claude Giroux (NMC), Kevin Hayes (NMC), Sean Couturier, Jakub Voracek, Travis Konecny, Oskar Lindblom, and Scott Laughton

Two of the Flyers’ forward protections will presumably be filled by Claude Giroux and Kevin Hayes. Both have no-movement clauses on their contracts, and neither seems likely to waive his. As Hayes recovers from core-muscle surgery over the offseason, he won’t want to risk being shipped off to Seattle. Giroux also seems to want to stay with the Flyers, having hinted that he’d like to finish his career with the team.

Jakub Voracek and Sean Couturier are two more veterans the Flyers will most likely protect. Couturier is a no-brainer. He racked up 41 points and did his part to aid the Flyers’ faltering defence as well. Voracek’s $8.25-million contract is, admittedly, burdensome. But for a team that had difficulties in transition all season, losing Voracek, who excels at navigating the neutral zone and setting up scoring chances, would be an issue.

The final three forward protections should reasonably be filled by Travis Konecny, Oskar Lindblom, and Scott Laughton. Neither Konency nor Lindblom was excellent during the season, but both are young players who showed flashes of immense potential at certain points. They’re worth keeping around to see how they continue to develop through the next few years. As for Laughton, the fact that the Flyers gave him a new five-year contract at the trade deadline is telling, especially considering general manager Chuck Fletcher’s comments following the signing. Exposing him to the expansion draft so soon after his extension would be incongruous.

Protection List: Defencemen and Goalie

Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Philippe Myers, and Carter Hart

As the Flyers’ only true first-pairing defenceman, Ivan Provorov will be protected. He averaged 25 minutes per game, led the team with 106 blocks, was also dynamic on offence. Ultimately, Provorov is the backbone of the blue line. As such, it’d be foolish for the Flyers to risk exposing him to Seattle.

Although Travis Sanheim didn’t end up being the partner for Provorov that the Flyers had hoped he’d be, he still had an okay season on the second pairing. He often seemed to fade into the background, not making egregious errors but also not being positively impactful. Still, relative to how the rest of the Flyers’ defencemen played, Sanheim’s decent performance should be enough to secure a spot on the protection list.

Admittedly, Philippe Myers regressed a lot. However, his performance this season was at odds with last year’s. During the 2019-20 Stanley Cup Playoffs, there were times when he and Sanheim were the Flyers’ strongest pairing. It’s likely that they will want to give Myers more time before they decide on his future with the team.

Despite Carter Hart’s rough season, the Flyers can’t risk exposing him. He’s by far the best goaltender they have. Brian Elliott is 35 years old and struggled just as much as Hart did. Alex Lyon has limited NHL experience and hasn’t proven himself to be reliable yet. Overall, Hart has more potential and, on top of that, is far younger than both Elliott and Lyon. The Flyers have pinned their future in net on him, so they won’t be willing to leave him unprotected.

Left Exposed

On defence, Shayne Gostisbehere is one notable player who has a good chance of being exposed. Gostisbehere is 28 years old and has struggled to find consistency throughout his career. Considering that the Flyers placed him on waivers this season, it’s more than likely that they’re tired of carrying his $4.5 million cap hit. Still, he’s extremely talented on offence and can thus be effective in running the power play. If the Kraken are looking for an aggressive, offence-minded defenceman, they may select Gostisbehere.

Like Gostisbehere, James van Riemsdyk is very inconsistent. His hot streaks are extremely hot – he led the Flyers in points for a reason. But his cold streaks are also incredibly cold, as demonstrated by his 16-game goalless stretch this season. That streakiness, coupled with his $7 million contract, will most likely result in his exposure to the draft. Seattle’s offence could benefit greatly from the addition of a player who can blue-paint deflections, and van Riemsdyk is among the league’s best in that regard. His contract is large, but it only extends to the 2022-23 season, so his specialized skill might be worth the cost for the Kraken.

Some other players who will be exposed are Nolan Patrick, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, and Justin Braun. There’s a chance that one of them might get selected if Gostisbehere and van Riemsdyk’s contracts are too large for the Kraken to take on. Or, Seattle may want to take a spin on a younger player. There’s more info about free spins here. And, of course, Hart’s protection means that Elliott and Lyon will also be left exposed. However, the Flyers’ goaltending was statistically among the worst in the NHL this season. As such, it’s unlikely the Kraken will even consider taking a netminder from Philly.

Alternate Options

To have the cap space to sign their in-house free agents over the offseason, Philly would ideally want to have Gostisbehere or van Riemsdyk moved. Neither of their contracts is extremely egregious in the first place. But if Seattle did need convincing, it wouldn’t be hard to picture the Flyers sending over a later-round pick as well.

A different scenario entirely would be leaving Jakub Voracek exposed. His contract is even larger and longer than van Riemsdyk’s, so the Flyers could try to bank on it being too massive for the Kraken. That would free up a protection spot among the forwards, allowing Philly to keep van Riemsdyk. But there would also be the risk of Seattle deciding that Voracek is worth the cost. Regardless of his contract, he’s still a huge part of the Flyers’ offence, and losing him would be a big hit.

Looking Forward

The Flyers’ expansion draft situation isn’t ideal. It seems likely that either Shayne Gostisbehere or James van Riemsdyk will be taken by the Kraken. Ultimately, though, losing a good player is a necessary evil for the Flyers. They have an active offseason ahead of them, and they’ll need all the cap space they can get to re-sign free agents and find a new partner for Provorov. 

It’ll certainly be a shame to lose Gostisbehere or van Riemsdyk, but at the end of the day, the team won’t fall apart without them. And if the Flyers play their cards right in the expansion draft, there’s a good chance that it will benefit them in the long run.

This article was provided by Casinosformoney Ca

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