So the Expansion Draft is complete. The New York Islanders lost Jordan Eberle, who might be the Seattle Kraken’s best player right now. It is a close race between him and Yanni Gourde.
It appears that his RW1 slot is a spot in the lineup the Islanders feel they can upgrade, especially with all this newfound cap space. But from the curious decision to protect Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck over Josh Bailey and Eberle to Seattle actually selecting Eberle, GM Lou Lamoriello either feels like gambling with his roster this summer, or he has a plan to maximize all that cap space.
I hope that it is the latter because Eberle’s production will not be something that they can replace easily. But I wonder if Lamoriello has penciled Oliver Wahlstrom into RW1. Or if he has a trade in the hopper.
To wit, the roster/trade freeze that came with the Expansion Draft is still in effect and will not be lifted until 1:00 p.m. today. Seattle has at least one trade in the hopper involving their selection from the Arizona Coyotes, Tyler Pitlick.
Perhaps Lamoriello has a trade ready for the St. Louis Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko or Arizona’s Conor Garland. Perhaps he went completely off-board and traded for someone that no one has yet mentioned—or has no trade ready at all. Perhaps he is gearing up to sign away from the Colorado Avalanche Gabriel Landeskog.
In any event, he must have a plan. But good luck finding out what it is until he executes it.
Islanders News: The Eberle Section
- So yeah, it was Eberle that Seattle plucked. It makes sense—the Kraken are an analytics-focused organization, and Eberle has excellent underlying numbers. [LHH | Newsday]
- By leaving both Eberle and Bailey exposed, it seemed clear that Lamoriello wanted to offload one of his three-year contracts in the $5 million range. Sounds like a big move. [The Athletic]
- Kind of surprised that the Islanders have not tweeted out a “thanks for everything” post for Eberle; just a transactional tweet that shows him celebrating his huge Game 6 goal, with his new teammate looking cranky in the background.
Elsewhere: The Seattle Section, with a Hint of Edmonton
- Check out the full list of the Kraken’s expansion selections. A couple of players were surprises, but most of their selections lined up with the predictions. [NHL | The Athletic]
- One surprise: There were no side deals. Those would have been announced along with the selections. [Sportsnet]
- Another surprise: Kraken GM Ron Francis, formerly the GM of the Carolina Hurricanes and thus intimately familiar with many of the drafted players that make up that lineup, chose forward Morgan Geekie over defenseman Jake Bean. [The Athletic]
- Seattle choosing defenseman Mark Giordano from the Calgary Flames shocked no one. [Matchsticks & Gasoline] However, apparently the New York Rangers have a lot of interest in bringing on Giordano and may be willing to part with Ryan Strome to do it. [NY Post]
- Earlier in the day, just before their picks had to be submitted, the Kraken came to agreements with defensemen Jamie Oleksiak [Sportsnet] and Adam Larsson [Copper & Blue], rendering them Seattle’s selections from the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers, respectively.
- Larsson’s departure means the Oilers’ defense is... well, bad. Considering there were reports that Larsson and the Oilers were close on a four-year deal with an AAV of $3.9 million and that he ended up signing with the Kraken a four-year deal with an AAV of $4 million, I’d call that quite a bungling. [Sportsnet]
- The good news is that Edmonton has not panicked and done something like signing Zach Hyman to a seven- or eight-year deal. [presses earpiece] Okay, I’m being told that they have and that it was “necessary.” [Sportsnet]
- The Kraken’s first-ever game will be visiting the other recent expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights, on October 12. [NHL] Their home opener will see them host their geographical rivals, the Vancouver Canucks, on October 23. [Sportsnet]
- Unfortunately for them, they will not have their presumed top-line center available for the first two months of their inaugural season, as Gourde recently underwent shoulder surgery. [NHL]