It’s Saturday, and the expansion draft is officially upon us — well, kind of. Each NHL team has until 5 p.m. ET to submit their protected list for Wednesday’s draft, where the Seattle Kraken will start building the league’s 32nd franchise.
So, leading up to the deadline, several teams have been busy and hitting the phones to prepare for the release of the Kraken. Here’s more on the latest rumblings across the league.
- Stick taps to Alex Ovechkin, who’s closing in on finishing his Ph.D. Ian Oland shares more on the captain and soon-to-be doctor. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)
- The Washington Capitals don’t have a pick until the second round of the 2021 NHL Draft, and there’s a lot of promising prospects up for grabs. Michael Marzzacco takes a look at who the Capitals could take at No. 55. (Stars & Sticks)
- With Seattle lurking, Washington faces difficult decisions in regards to who to protect. We predict the Capitals’ final protected list and examine who could be taken in the expansion draft. (Washington Hockey Now)
- The New York Islanders traded defenseman Nick Leddy to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for former Washington forward Richard Panik and a second-round pick. James O’Brien breaks down the deal and the logistics behind it for both sides. (Pro Hockey Talk)
- With Owen Power, Matthew Beniers, Luke Hughes and a number of highly-touted prospects available, how will the 2021 NHL Draft play out? NHL.com experts make their picks in a mock draft. (NHL.com)
- All the action brewing across the league could mean big implications for Seattle. Ryan S. Clark details how the trades, buyouts and deals before Wednesday impact the Kraken come the expansion draft.
Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes
- As we get closer to the expansion draft, I can’t help but think Vitek Vanecek is a likely target for the Kraken. I do expect big things out of him and for him to be a strong No. 1 in this league someday (see Philipp Grubauer).
- Speaking of goalies, Braden Holtby is reportedly gaining traction across the league. I do think that he could be poised for a rebound and that Vancouver was just never a solid fit. A change in scenery may work wonders for the 31-year-old, who still has a lot left to prove as an NHL starter.
- I do think that Seattle could copy the Vegas Golden Knights in making the most of its expansion draft group and making a Stanley Cup run in their inaugural season. It’ll be interesting to see who wears the “C” there, but we’ll just have to wait until Wednesday to guess.