To Draft or Not to Draft - That is the question
Have you ever wondered why the Seattle Nonames didn’t ask you to be their GM? Even just for one month so you can pick their team, because you know the right tactics, and you’ve evaluated it from every angle?
Well today, we’re not asking you either. INSTEAD, we asked our writer to pick the Seattle team! Using the same protection list, each writer made their own individual selections. Now, it would be bonkers for us to talk about each and every pick. So instead, we opted to discuss some of the more controversial/split decisions. Of course, we won’t leave you hanging - i’ll disclose the other picks at the end, but you’ll have to scroll to get there (because then you’ll see “related articles” or whatever and might be enticed to click somewhere else).
Anyway, on with the show! First up we have the Carolina Hurricanes.
I won’t lollygag after that long introduction - the pick here was between defenceman Jake Bean and recent acquisition centre Vincent Trochek. What is very interesting about the discussion about our Hurricanes’ picks is that it boils down to a simple differentiation in philosophy. Those who picked Vincent Trochek are more likely the ones who also committed more to be a competitive team in their first year. Predictably, the Jake Bean takers are leaning the opposite, remaining more committed to acquiring young assets.
Bean, a 21 year old defensive prospect, has been long touted as a prospect with a legitimate top 4 ceiling. This tantalizing young option was not alone, as 23-year old NHLer Hadyn Fleury also remained unprotected (largely due to the glut of young incredible defencemen that the Hurricanes employ). Bean edges the latter based on his remaining ceiling.
Trochek arrived in Carolina this past trade deadline in a deal with the Florida Panthers. The jack-of-all-trades centre has been considered one of the more underrated players in the league. This is because he can play in all situations, has significant offensive upside, and has a grind for the game that makes him ideal for playoff hockey. Similar to Bean, he was not the only option of this ilk. By virtue of protecting four defencemen, Carolina could only protect four forwards.
Sebastien Aho Teuvo Teräväinen
Andrei Svechnikov Jordan Staal (No movement clause)
They’re kinda must haves. That leaves recent arrivals Nino Neiderreiter and Ryan Dzingel unprotected as well. Neiderreiter would be the more compelling option, but Trochek’s centre position and consistent production gave him the edge.
Both Bean and Trochek were fantastic picks from a deep Carolina squad. Whether you’re looking to load up on young assets, or find immediate success, Carolina has the tools to help the Seattle Nonames. -Mac
This one was not too difficult when it came to creating the protection list, of course it is subject to change with guys being traded or improving over the next year and a bit, but as things stand, it was pretty straight forward. We decided on the following:
Forwards: Defence: Goalies:
- Patrick Kane (NMC) - Brent Seabrook (NMC) - Corey Crawford
- Jonathan Toews (NMC) - Duncan Keith (NMC)
- Brandon Saad - Olli Määtta
- David Kämpf
- Dylan Strome
- Alexander Nylander
- Alex DeBrincat
The only thing we debated was possibly switching Olli Määtta for Calvin DeHaan or Connor Murphy, but ultimately, we decided on protecting the younger player with more upside. With that being said, three of us, myself included, decided to take John Quenneville while the other two writers decided on Connor Murphy. To be honest, neither guy will ever be a game changer, but for me, I went with Quenneville because he is much younger and certainly a lot cheaper. At only 24 years-old (right now), Quenville has yet to stick with an NHL team in his short professional career, but has been very good in the AHL for a couple of years now. There were also plenty of defencemen who were left exposed because of the silly format, so the thought process was to save money and take on a young project instead of a bottom 4 guy. You can only stockpile so many defencemen in the expansion draft, and I just didn’t see Murphy being one of those guys, you still need forwards, even if they are cheap and unproven. Worst case scenario, he plays for the AHL affiliate where he has had a lot of success. -Paul
When it came to the Dallas Stars, we had some interesting decisions to make on how to
protect and how to leave exposed for Seattle to take. Obviously, we did not attempt to come up with crazy alternatives or trade proposals that some teams may offer to ensure Seattle picks a certain guy (and I certainly hope some teams learned from their mistakes during the Vegas expansion draft *cough*Florida*cough*). Any who, we came to an agreement where we thought it would be best for Dallas to protect some of their younger forwards over Joe Pavelski.
The protected list for forwards is as follows:
- Tyler Seguin (NMC) – 28 years-old making $9.85M
- Jamie Benn (NMC) – 30 years-old making $9.5M
- Alexander Radulov (NMC) – 33 years-old making $6.25M
- Radek Faksa – 26 years-old making $2.2M (RFA 2020 – assuming he resigns)
- Jason Dickinson – 24 years-old making $1.5M
- Denis Guiranov – 22 years-old making $894,166 (RFA 2020 – assuming he resigns)
- Roope Hintz – 23 years-old making $811,667 (RFA 2020 – assuming he resigns)
We figured that with both Seguin and Benn making north of $9M while having a few young players who will need a new contract very soon, the Stars may not be all that interested in keeping 35-year-old Pavelski’s rich $7M contract for one more year. Instead, why not protect some of the younger guys that are beginning to come into their own; namely, both Gurianov and Hintz were both having solid seasons before the hiatus. The majority of us thought Seattle could then take the opportunity to bring in a real solid vet that could become a fan favourite very quickly. His rich contract shouldn’t be a problem and it is for one year only, low-risk high-reward. -Paul
Los Angeles Kings
In this expansion pick, the GOTI team was split. In this particular draft I thought back to how Marc Andre Fleury was taken by the Vegas Golden Knights. Fleury seemingly was outplayed by Matt Murray when his time in Pittsburgh came to an end, similar to Cal Petersen and Jonathan Quick now in LA. Quick is still moving with his same agility, same reflexes, but the team in front of him isn’t the same as what it used to be. Maybe just like Fleury a change of scenery will spark that elite goaltending ability back into Quick.
Lizotte had three of the five other GOTI staff votes. Lizotte, a small speedy winger out of St. Cloud State University and in his first year of professional hockey put up 23 points in 65 games this season with the Kings. For me it was hard to say how much different his productivity would be especially because looking at the Los Angeles lineup, there is all kinds of room for opportunity upfront and I don’t see much difference in Seattle. Here I believe that you can get the goalie your franchise can build behind for the next three years until his contract expires. Say what you want but there is no better experience than Championship experience. - Aaron
New York Islanders
This Islanders team has just the right number of good players on this team to not have to expose any of them to this draft. With players like Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Josh Bailey, Jordan Eberle, Matt Barzal, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Anthony Beauvillier being protected, this team shouldn’t lose any talent and should be raring to go next year. That being said,
most of the team was split between taking either Adam Pelech or Keiffer Bellows. Not me though, I dug deep and thought much like Aaron thought with his pick of Jonathan Quick. Maybe all he needs is a new start, a different location to spark something. I’m talking about Josh Ho-Sang. After being bounced around between the Island, Bridgeport, and even San Antonio over the last four seasons, I think that all Josh Ho-Sang needs is a new place to start, a place where he doesn’t have the same history as he does with the Islanders. That place can be Seattle. - Steve
San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks' exposed player list is almost as sad as their 2020 season. The best player available is definitely Melker Karlsson, even though Joe Thornton is available he is a free agent and there is no chance that he would re-sign with Seattle. While Melker Karlsson is also a free agent, there is at least the chance that he would get taken by Seattle and possibly stick around. While Melker has never been a high scoring forward, he might bring some stability and experience to the line up with Seattle and could be a welcome piece going forward. This would also leave San Jose in the prime spot of only having one Karlsson again.
The other skater taken by two of our GOTI members was rookie defenseman Jeremy Roy. While his numbers in the AHL aren’t stellar there is a chance that, since he is young and an RFA, that he would be the safer bet between him and Melker. Only time will tell who Seattle actually picks from San Jose, but as of this point, the best option would be one of these two players for sure. -Steve
Now, as I promised - The rest of our picks:
Anaheim: LW Sonny Milano
Arizona: RW Christian Fischer
Boston: D Connor Clifton
Buffalo: D Colin Miller
Calgary: C Mikael Backlund
Colorado: LW Joonas Donskoi
Columbus: D Markus Nutivaara
Detroit: LW Taro Hirose
Edmonton: D Ethan Bear
Florida: G Chris Driedger
Minnesota: D Jonas Brodin Montreal: LW Tomas Tatar
Nashville: LW Colton Sissons New Jersey: RW Nathan Bastian
NY Rangers: C Lias Andersson Ottawa: RW Connor Brown
Philadelphia: D Shayne Gostisbehere Pittsburgh: G Tristian Jarry
St. Louis: D Vince Dunn Tampa Bay: D Ryan McDonagh
Toronto: LW Andreas Johnsson Vancouver: G Jakob Markstrom
Washington: D Michal Kempny Winnipeg: D Logan Stanley