The Seattle Kraken have been linked to T.J. Oshie when it comes to who they will take in the Expansion Draft. Oshie, who turns 35 next season, is from Washington State and would provide Seattle with leadership and first-line minutes. There are also marketing opportunities as Oshie was born an hour from the new arena. Oshie would be a good selection, but other Washington Capitals would be a better fit for the team. Here are some players Seattle should look at besides Oshie.
Here is the potential protection list for the Capitals:
Nicklas Bäckström, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Anthony Mantha, Tom Wilson, Lars Eller, Connor Sheary, Daniel Sprong
John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov, Justin Schultz
Key free agents that do not need to be protected:
Alex Ovechkin, Michael Raffl, Axel Jonsson-Fjällby
Dillon is a good shutdown defenceman who does have some name recognition in the Seattle area. He was the captain of the Seattle Thunderbirds in 2010-2011 and played 280 games for the organization. His cap hit is also more manageable at $3.9 million compared to Oshie’s $5.75 million. Lastly, he is four years younger and his contract is shorter. Dillon is a smart pickup who will solidify the penalty kill and can still play top-four minutes in the NHL.
Dillon has been consistent throughout his 14-year career. He has a career Corsi for percentage (CF%) of 51.5 and is in the 15-20 point range per season. This season, his CF% has dropped a bit to 48.4, but that could be related to fewer powerplay opportunities than his time in San Jose. Dillon is a left-shot defenceman who can be a staple on the penalty kill and be a place holder while young defensive prospects develop. Although not a flashy player, Dillon is the type of defenceman you need to build a successful team.
Hathaway is a player that you hate to play against but love to have on your team. His 158 hits lead the Washington Capitals this season despite his limited ice time. Hathaway is signed until 2023 and only carries a $1.5 million cap hit. Although he may not put up many points, the intangibles he brings would allow Seattle to protect its stars and play a physical brand of hockey every night. (from ‘Detail-oriented Hathaway carves out regular role with Flames,’ Calgary Sun, 05/22/2019)
Hathaway is a solid fourth-liner who knows how to play in the Pacific Division. He was with Calgary from 2015-2019 before making the move to Washington. He was a huge pain in the Canucks side when he was with Calgary and would provide that same level of annoyance in the blossoming Vancouver-Seattle rivalry. Besides being a big body who hits everyone on the ice, he has always been responsible in his own zone. He holds a career plus-30 rating, which includes a plus-8 this season.
Hathaway can get you between 15 and 20 points a season, all while averaging 11:00 minutes. Teams need players like him. Players that will stand up for teammates and are not scared to throw the body. Hathaway is also a big part of his local community and can help Seattle establish itself as a pillar within the city. He may not be an offensive threat, but Hathaway should be considered as an Expansion Draft selection.
Like Dillon, Jensen is a stay-at-home right-shot defenceman who can kill penalties. You can partner him with a more offensively inclined defenceman as an insurance blanket or create a shutdown pair like he is playing with Zdeno Chara. Jensen is a little pricey at $3 million a season, but his contract is short-term and is set to expire in 2023.
Since coming to Washington, Jensen has solidified himself as a bottom pair defenceman who is strong in his own end and hovers around that 15 points per season mark. This season he has a plus-9 rating and his 49.2 CF%. This offensive success is even more impressive when you consider that 74.3% of his zone starts are in the defensive zone. He is one of those defencemen whose value is rarely seen but very important to the team’s success. He currently ranks second on the team in blocked shots knows how to generate chances in the offensive zone by getting the puck on net 57.3% of the time.
There may be cheaper options out there, but Jensen is exactly what you need a shutdown defensive to be. He could become a fan favorite just as Chris Tanev did for the rival Canucks with his hard work and willingness to do whatever it takes to win.
Hagelin would bring Stanley Cup experience to Seattle if chosen to join the Kraken. He is also one of the only players in the league that knows what it is like to win the cup back to back. The 10-year veteran knows how to win and is relatively cheap at $2.75 million until 2023. A player who can contribute to special teams, he would be a good option to help Seattle succeed.
Hagelin has transformed into more of a defensive player since coming to Washington. This season, he has an 83.8% defensive zone start percentage, compared to his career average of 49.0%. Despite always starting in the defensive zone, Hagelin is a plus-6 this season and has registered 13 points. He is also a key reason Washington is sixth in the NHL on the penalty kill this season. All this success despite playing in a division that features Pittsburgh, Boston and the New York Rangers.
All three of these teams rank in the top 14 for powerplay percentage in the league. Hagelin’s experience and defensive zone awareness would make him a good third-line winger for Seattle next season. Someone who can chip in offensively while playing in that matchup role against the other team’s top lines. A player Seattle should be monitoring as the season goes on.
Other Options Besides Oshie
Although bringing in Oshie would allow Seattle to bring a hometown kid back to the Emerald City, his contract and age are red flags. He will be 38 when his contract is done and owns a modified no-trade clause that could make it difficult to move Oshie if the move does not work out. Add the contract issues to the fact that he has seen a decline in progression the past few seasons and it may be enough for Seattle to pass on him. A cheaper option may be a better fit, especially with the talent available from other teams and in free agency this season.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at dubnetwork.ca where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.