What do former Ottawa Senators, Denny Lambert, Joe Juneau, Kevin Dineen, and Marc Methot all have in common?
Each player was lost in an Expansion Draft – Lambert (Nashville 1998), Juneau (Minnesota 2000), Dineen (Columbus 2000), Methot (Vegas 2017). And on July 21, one current player from the Senators’ roster will become a member of the Seattle Kraken, at least via the Draft.
While we’re unaware of what may occur between now and July 17 5 pm ET when each team must submit their Protected List to the league, we do know the Senators can only protect 7 forwards/3 defenseman/1 goalie or 8 players/ 1 goalie.
On the 21st, the Kraken will select 30 players, with the Golden Knights being the lone club exempt from participating in the Draft. Seattle must choose a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defensemen, three goalies – with at least 20 of the players chosen will have to be under contract for the upcoming season.
Projected Protected Lists are running rampant this week. Everyone has one. And of course, I’m no different. In fact, my projection falls in line with most pundits.
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Evgenii Dadonov and Chris Tierney are notable omissions up front.
Dadonov was brought in on a big-ticket from the Florida Panthers to be a key cog on the Senators power play. Signed to a three-year, $15 million deal, the 32-year old is still seeking his first PP goal with the team. In 55 games last season, Dadonov recorded only one assist with the man advantage. He had 27 PP points in 2019-20 for the Panthers in 69 games.
Whether Dadonov’s underlying metrics display that he was a victim of bad luck remains to be seen. His 51.7 per cent Corsi with only 50.2 per cent offensive zone starts is actually a positive. However, Dadonov posted almost one less shot on goal per game than his previous season. His 13-goal total was primarily due to this.
For whatever reason, Tierney just didn’t get it going last season. The 27-year old had his worst NHL campaign offensively, six goals,13 assists in 55 games. His 45.6 per cent mark in the faceoff dots was his lowest in his three seasons with the Senators. Tierney’s faceoff percentage the prior two years were 50.9 and 51.2 respectively.
On the back end, it came down to Josh Brown or Mete being left unprotected. Going into last season, the easiest choice would’ve been Zaitsev due to his three years remaining with a $4.5M cap hit. However, Zaitsev performed admirably, playing the majority of the season alongside Chabot. The 29-year old had his best year offensively since his rookie campaign with the Maple Leafs (four goals, 13 assists in 55 games). His 22:44 time-on-ice was also a career-best.
Mete needs to receive a qualifying offer before the Senators’ roster is submitted in order to be protected. It’s unknown if that’s already occurred. Claimed on waivers from the Canadiens, the Woodbridge, ON native averaged over 17 minutes of ice time per game with Ottawa – and didn’t look out of place in his 14 appearances.
Josh Brown is the easiest of the four d-men to expose in the Expansion Draft. It’s not that he didn’t do what was asked of him. It’s just that one blue-liner has to be made available. And Brown is that player. The club currently has Zaitsev, Artem Zub, and Jacob Bernard-Docker who’s waiting in the wings on the right side. It’s also no secret general manager Pierre Dorion is seeking an additional d-man or two as well.
The goalie position is the toughest to decide. Does the team protect Daccord or Gustavsson? There’s no real right or wrong answer. Each netminder has a bright future.
After a spectacular season with Belleville, leading the B-Sens to a 2019-20 North Division title, Daccord rose to the occasion upon injuries to goalies Matt Murray and Marcus Hogberg. The Boston area resident earned his first NHL victory, playing eight games prior to suffering a high ankle sprain.
Cue Gustavsson – Filip Gustavsson entered the game versus the Canucks in which Daccord was injured. Trailing 2-1, “Gus” shut the door the rest of the way before losing in a shootout. The 23-year old recorded an incredible 2.16 goals-against average, .933 save percentage in his nine appearances.
While Senators’ fans are anxious the Kraken may pry away one of these young goalies, there’s a good chance this won’t occur.
In 2017 the Golden Knights selected three goaltenders in their Expansion Draft, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jean-Francois Berube, Calvin Pickard. Berube was a UFA and was signed by the Blackhawks. Oscar Dansk and Maxime Legace were added in free agency. Malcolm Subban was claimed off waivers from the Bruins and Pickard was subsequently waived then traded to Toronto.
Among goalies likely available in this go-round:
Casey DeSmith (PIT), Jake Allen (MTL), Adin Hill (ARI), Braden Holtby (VAN), Felix Sandstrom (PHI), Alex Stalock (EDM), one of the Wild duo, Cam Talbot, Kaapo Kahkonen. Kahkonen won 16 games in his first full season, and is only 24.
Not to mention potential pending UFA’s Freddy Andersen, Jonathan Bernier, Chris Driedger, Petr Mrazek, Linus Ullmark. There are a plethora of scenarios in the crease for Kraken GM Ron Francis to consider.
And who knows, there may be some wheeling and dealing completed prior to the 5pm ET roster freeze Saturday? Which will may make all our projections moot. Oh the joys of sports!