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Sammi’s Daily Mix: Seattle Drafts Smart, Vanecek Bids Adieu, Roster Freeze Ending



The Seattle Kraken made their expansion draft picks Wednesday.

Well, the Seattle Kraken expansion draft’s come and gone, and now the attention shifts for the Washington Capitals and NHL. The 2021 NHL Draft and free agency are on the horizon as teams assess their rosters after Seattle’s selections.

Meanwhile, trade talks and speculation continue to brew, with a couple of deals apparently already made.

Let’s catch up on the latest news and notes across the NHL.

Capitals Links

  • The Kraken selected Vitek Vanecek as one of their young netminders, leaving the Capitals without a backup goalie and a cap crunch. Samantha Pell has more on Seattle’s pick and what it all means for Washington. (The Washington Post)
  • Speaking of the salary cap, what’s the next move for the Capitals with a lot of business to take care of and little money to spend? We take a closer look at what may be on Washington’s agenda. (Washington Hockey Now)
  • One potential solution could be trading Evgeny Kuznetsov and clearing that cap space, and one team he’s been linked to is the New York Rangers. Ian Oland shares the latest speculation and what Frank Seravalli is saying about the Russian pivot. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

NHL Links

  • Seattle played a smart game with the expansion draft, being cap-conscious and also drafting a lot of young up-and-comers. Chris Johnston details the Kraken’s strategy and what general manager Ron Francis had to say about his new club. (Sportsnet)
  • Not only did Seattle go with lower-cost players, but they also didn’t take too many major risks. Adam Gretz breaks down the Kraken roster and takeaways from their picks. (Pro Hockey Talk)
  • One of Washington’s division rivals didn’t make it out of the expansion draft completely unscathed, as Pittsburgh could be in a bigger hole than before. Dan Kingerski discusses the state of the Penguins and if they outthought themselves in regards to the Kraken. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)

Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes

  • I like Seattle playing the smart game and focusing more on their long-term success. We’ll have to see what deals they made when the roster freeze ends and free agency begins, but they’re in good shape to start. Getting Mark Giordano adds a major asset and leader, and also locking down names like Adam Larsson and Jamie Oleksiak will pay off big time. Mark my words: Chris Driedger and Vanecek are going to be one of the best young tandems in the league next season.
  • Oh, the roster freeze! It ends at 1 p.m., so that’s the soonest we’d see an Alex Ovechkin extension. That’s also when we’ll hear about the deals made in the wildness of Wednesday, though impressively, there were apparently none made before the expansion draft took place.
  • The next move for Washington should be assessing the trade market and dumping salary, IMO. There’s too many needs to address, and with Ilya Samsonov expected to be the sole starter, the implications of that extension change for the RFA.
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