The Sharks on Saturday sent in their protected list for next week’s expansion draft, and everyone will know soon enough what players general manager Doug Wilson exposed to the Seattle Kraken.
The NHL on Sunday will reveal the protected lists for the 30 NHL teams who had to participate in the process. Only the Vegas Golden Knights are exempt from having to expose players to the Kraken, who will select one player from each team. The Golden Knights came into the league in 2017.
The Kraken’s expansion draft selections will be revealed on Wednesday.
Teams had the option of protecting seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or eight skaters — regardless of position — and one goalie.
The Sharks in 2017 protected seven forwards, three defensemen, and a goalie, and the Golden Knights took defenseman David Schlemko off San Jose’s roster. Schlemko never played for Vegas, as he was traded one day after the expansion draft to the Montreal Canadiens.
It’s our guess that Wilson opted to protect seven forwards and three defensemen again, meaning the Kraken will have access to a bottom-six forward or a fourth defenseman.
We predict the seven forwards the Sharks will protect will be Logan Couture, Evander Kane, Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl, Kevin Labanc, Rudolfs Balcers, and Jonathan Dahlén. The defenseman protected will be Erik Karlsson, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Brent Burns, and the goalie protected will be Adin Hill.
Here’s our prognosis for who the Kraken might select.
MOST LIKELY TO GO: Forwards — Ryan Donato, Dylan Gambrell.
ANALYSIS: Donato fell out of favor with the Sharks’ coaching staff toward the end of the season, but he remains a smart, skilled forward who could still be of aid to a team’s power play. Gambrell is a two-way centerman who became an effective penalty killer this season for the Sharks. He’s also from Bonney Lake, Wash., just south of Seattle.
HAS A CHANCE TO GO: Forward — Matt Nieto. Defenseman — Radim Simek.
ANALYSIS: Nieto’s the most proven player among the forwards who have a chance to be selected, having played in 500 career regular-season games and 55 playoff games. Speed is also not an issue for Nieto. What may be problematic is Nieto’s contract, which runs through the 2022-2023 season, and that extra year could give Seattle GM Ron Francis some pause. Simek has proven he can be effective when he’s healthy, but he’s missed time with injuries the last three years and trading him might not be easy. His contract also carries a $2.25 million cap hit for the next three seasons.
VERY LITTLE CHANCE TO GO: Forwards — Alex True, Jayden Halbgewachs. Defensemen — Jacob Middleton, Nicolas Meloche, Christian Jaros.
ANALYSIS: True, Halbgewachs, Middleton and Meloche have proven to be effective AHL players but have yet to establish themselves at the NHL level. Seattle has more valuable options to choose from on the Sharks’ roster.
NO CHANCE TO GO: Goalie — Martin Jones.
ANALYSIS: Jones’ contract, with three years remaining at a cap hit of $5.75 million per season, is way too prohibitive for the Kraken to take on at this juncture.
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Author: Curtis Pashelka