Flyers roundtable: Which player will the Kraken try to poach next year?


Our Flyers writers look into their crystal balls to predict which player will be selected by the Kraken in next year’s expansion Draft.

Ah, the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. A moment in time where the NHL will welcome another major market while every other franchise, including the Philadelphia Flyers, take their arrival personally. The Seattle Kraken will aim to take the most valuable player exposed from each franchise. That’s reason enough for the rest of the league (aside from the Vegas Golden Knights) to dislike the newcomers.

The Philadelphia Flyers are a team that may lose an important player to Seattle. There are notable, young players both on offense and defense, who will become a casualty of the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. All the Kraken have to do is choose how they’ll be a disturbance to the Flyers. First, here are a few provisions to consider the qualifications of players to be exposed during the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft:

Taking those provisions into consideration, here’s a projected list of protected players from Philadelphia:

  • Every team (except the Vegas Golden Knights) must submit a protected list of players to the NHL before draft day.
  • Either include a list of seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender OR eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender.
  • Players with a “no movement” clause must be protected if the player does not waive the clause.
  • First and second-year professional players and unsigned draft picks are not eligible for the expansion draft and won’t need to be protected.
  • Players with potential career-ending injuries who have missed more than the previous sixty consecutive games may not be used to satisfy a team’s player exposure requirements unless approval is received from the NHL.
  • All other players are eligible for the expansion draft.
  • The entire NHL will be put under a ‘roster freeze.’ No trades, no waivers until after Seattle’s roster is created.
  • Protected lists are sent to all teams (except the Vegas Golden Knights,) and Seattle will be allowed to interview eligible players
  • Seattle must select one player from each current NHL team.
  • The 30-man roster must include fourteen forwards, nine defensemen, and three goaltenders.
  • Twenty players must be under contract for the 2021-22 season.
  • Salaries of the players selected must combine to be between 60%-100% of the salary cap’s upper limit.

Forwards: Claude Giroux (NMC), Jake Voracek, Kevin Hayes (NMC), Travis Konecny, Sean Couturier, Oskar Lindblom, Scott Laughton
Defensemen: Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Phil Myers
Goaltender: Carter Hart

Six of the seven forwards are clear locks for protection. The one outlier is Scott Laughton, who could be exposed if Nolan Patrick returns to true form. After Philippe Myers received his three-year extension, the future of the Flyers defense became clear. Finally, Carter Hart isn’t going anywhere, especially after Philadelphia spent nearly twenty years searching for a franchise goaltender.

Two players who are marked as exempt for the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft on the Flyers roster are Joel Farabee and Morgan Frost. Both players will be in their second-year with Philadelphia. The Flyers luck out based on the timing of Seattle’s arrival.

After all of this, what player will be plucked from Philadelphia by the Kraken?

Eric Reese (@EricReesePSN)

As much as Flyers fans want Seattle to help out by selecting James van Riemsdyk or Shayne Gostisbehere so a bad contract is off the books, the Kraken have no incentive to do that. The only way that sort of selection happens is if Philadelphia offers a draft pick or a prospect along with Gostisbehere or van Riemsdyk, which wouldn’t be smart.

Of the forwards, Michael Raffl, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, and Nolan Patrick are appealing. Patrick is a curious case due to his migraine disorder history. Unless the NHL approves Patrick to be listed as an exposed player (he missed all of 2019-2020,) he may not be eligible because his migraines could be treated as a potentially career-ending injury. Seattle will likely focus on Aube-Kubel, who is eight-years younger than Raffl and costs $525k less.

On defense, Erik Gustafsson and Robert Hagg represent value. If the Kraken select Gustafsson, it is not the end of the world. The Flyers recover each forward in their deep talent pool and only lose a player who Fletcher signed to a one-year deal. If Seattle drafts Hagg, then Gostisbehere all of the sudden is a permanent fixture on the third pairing.

Stranger things have happened, but Seattle will likely torch Philadelphia for a forward. Fletcher has a decision to make if Patrick returns in 2020-2021 with a vengeance. Should he be protected instead of Laughton? Everything about Patrick is still uncertain, which means there is a chance the Kraken doesn’t touch him. At this moment, knowing what we know about the Flyers, a safe selection by Seattle could land them Aube-Kubel.

Continued on the page below.

Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre