The Seattle Kraken are coming into their designated expansion draft this summer. Whether they choose to follow George McPhee’s recipe for the Golden Knights back in June 2017 or go a different route, we take a look at who should be taking the reins in the blue paint for the Kraken in their inaugural NHL season.
When developing an expansion team, McPhee took the role of building from the back end out. When the Golden Knights took Marc-Andre Fleury with their first pick, they established that the team was going to pride itself on creating an identity that you were going to have to put lots of pucks on net to beat them. At this point in time, there may be no better goalie to stop the puck among the names to be unprotected than Jake Allen.
The 30-year-old netminder out of New Brunswick has played in 12 games this season, posting a .922 save percentage and a solid 2.23 goals-against average. These are very steady numbers for a goalie who has a current record of 5-3-4. Since Allen entered the league, he has played in 301 career games and holds a record of 153-97-30 with a career 2.49 GAA and .913 save percentage. Allen’s current contract has him earning $5.75 million over two years, for an average annual value (AAV) of $2.875 million.
Looking at some of the major goalie targets for the Kraken, Braden Holtby and Cam Talbot tend to be seen as the favourites. Holtby, 31, earns $4.3 million per year and is currently 4-6-2 in 12 games. During that time, Holtby has posted 3.57 GAA and a save percentage of .894. On the other hand, Cam Talbot who is 33 years old, has appeared in 20 games, posting a 2.41 GAA and a .924 save percentage while earning $3.66 million per year.
Best Bang for Your Buck With Allen
With all three goaltenders likely being available come time of the draft, Allen should slowly surge for a variety of reasons. Allen, the youngest of the three, is riding the lowest salary on average per year that the Kraken would be able to use for some other major pieces to put in front of him. Additionally, when comparing stats, Talbot may have the best current numbers this season, but career-wise, Talbot has a 2.59 GAA against Allen’s 2.49 GAA. If the Kraken are looking for a consistently good goaltender, then Allen is the better option.
The interesting part about all of this is Carey Price seems to be starting to slip in Montreal following some tough stretches where the Montreal Canadiens have struggled to support him. When Fleury was taken by the Golden Knights in 2017, he was just 32 years old, playing behind Matt Murray in Pittsburgh. Now it is safe to assume the Canadiens will be protecting Price over Allen, but that is not to say that the better pick is not up for grabs. Allen may be the youngest goaltending target on the board and is someone the Kraken could build around for a long time while they take advantage of him in his first year at a lower salary cap.
The Kraken expansion team is getting ready to set sail next season, and Allen should be the top name to receive attention for earning the opening night start in the blue paint. Who Seattle goes with as their future netminder is going to curb the direction in which the team is heading. If the Seattle Kraken staff is looking for a goalie that will lead them to early organizational success, then Allen could be the exact player they are looking for to man the pipes.
Whether the Kraken management team sees Allen as the guy next season, they will more than likely not be the only team reaching out to the Canadiens in search of a No. 1 goaltender. His reliable play this season has indicated that he can still be a starter in the NHL and should be a puck-stopper the Kraken look to build around. Additionally, at only the young age of 30, Allen could be a guy who ends up finishing out his career with the new expansion team.
Carson MacRae is a member of The Hockey Writers, covering the Seattle Kraken expansion team. MacRae played just about every level of hockey including signing a minor pro deal. Unfortunately, he was not able to have a long professional career as he suffered an injury to his knee. Luckily, MacRae found a new love in writing about sports and used his education at the University of Guelph to further advance his skills. MacRae currently also writes for Ohio State’s football program apart of Rivals Sports and BuckeyeGrove.com providing insight to the programs current and future recruiting.