Seattle's drive for an NHL expansion team takes another exciting step today as a season-ticket drive begins in the Northwest. And given how the Vegas Golden Knights have performed in their inaugural season, I'm sure 2020-21 can't come fast enough for Seattle hockey fans. But what might the team look like?
Vegas GM George McPhee has been credited with a master performance at his expansion draft, extracting underused players with great potential from some rosters, while milking other teams for picks in the entry draft in exchange for staying away from certain unprotected assets.
I expect we'll see Seattle's GM do much of the same when it's their turn. And yes, it's way too early to predict who will actually be available in the summer of 2020, it's a fun exercise to try out anyway. Here's a first stab at a Seattle mock draft, with a few things to keep in mind:
First, Vegas selected a lot of players on the final years of contracts, assuming they could trade the "rentals" at the deadline. I did a lot of that here.
Second, the Golden Knights grabbed underused talents such as William Karlsson from Columbus and Erik Haula from Minnesota. There were trades linked to that (like Vegas taking on David Clarkson's deal from the Jackets in exchange for two high draft picks), but I'm just going to make the picks for now. I will, however, indicate when Seattle picks a player that helps another team, assuming there will be a trade for surplus draft picks to go with it.
Third, I won't extend unrestricted free agents, but I will assume RFA extensions. So my veteran pool is limited to guys on long-term deals.
Fourth, I'm taking some liberties on no-trade clauses, because we saw exceptions with Vegas (Marc-Andre Fleury), but not many.
Finally, keep in mind this draft happens in a few years and skills degrade over time. So yes, there are some big names here, but they won't necessarily be the same players by then.
Here we go:
Anaheim – Andrew Cogliano, C. Solid veteran on final year of his contract that summer.
Arizona – Josh Archibald, RW.
Boston – David Backes, RW. Potential captain on final year of contract.
Buffalo – Nick Baptiste, RW.
Calgary – Curtis Lazar, C.
Carolina – Scott Darling, G. Draft picks will be involved.
Chicago – Brent Seabrook, D. Draft picks definitely involved; signed through 2024
Colorado – Nail Yakupov, LW. Avs have too many young forwards to protect.
Columbus – Sonny Milano, LW. Too many forwards to protect.
Dallas – Mattias Janmark, C.
Detroit – Justin Abdelkader, LW. Draft picks involved; signed through 2023
Edmonton – Adam Larsson, D. Final year of contract.
Florida – Colton Sceviour, C. Final year of contract.
Los Angeles – Alec Martinez, D. Final year of contract.
Minnesota – Gustav Olofsson, D.
Montreal – Jacob De La Rose, LW.
Nashville – Nick Bonino, C. Final year of contract.
New Jersey – Mirco Mueller, D
New York Islanders – Scott Mayfield, D.
New York Rangers – Kevin Shattenkirk, D. Maybe a pick involved; let’s see how next season goes.
Ottawa – Bobby Ryan, RW. Draft picks involved.
Philadelphia – Scott Laughton, C.
Pittsburgh – Riley Sheahan, C.
San Jose – Dylan DeMelo, D.
St. Louis – Jake Allen, G. Would you be shocked? Final year of contract, too.
Tampa Bay – Andrej Sustr, D. Just too many ‘D’ to protect.
Toronto – Nikita Zaitsev, D. He’ll want a fresh start by then.
Vancouver – Erik Gudbranson, D. Final year of contract.
Vegas – Malcolm Subban, G. I mean, it can’t be Fleury again.
Washington – Chandler Stephenson, C.
Winnipeg – Andrew Copp, C.