Seattle Mock Expansion Draft: Built For Future

Seattle has a tough act to follow after Vegas took the NHL by storm — and total surprise — with the Golden Knights defying all the odds in advancing to the Stanley Cup Final during their inaugural campaign.

That debut was the stuff of legend, from start to finish, but it’s important for Seattle to carve their own path and perhaps take their team in a different direction since it’ll be difficult — if not downright impossible — to duplicate Vegas’ success out of the gate.

Seattle franchise owners Jerry Bruckheimer Tod Leiweke
NHL Seattle owners Jerry Bruckheimer and Tod Leiweke field questions during a press conference at the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver. Next on their agenda will be hiring a general manager to start planning for the 2021 expansion draft. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

RELATED: Seattle Names Francis General Manager – Report

This is the second of a three-part series conducting mock expansion drafts for Seattle, with this team built for the future — featuring an under-25 core that could grow together complemented by a handful of expensive veterans to lead the way in the present.

By icing this roster for 2019-20, Seattle would be accepting of initial growing pains in hopes of ensuring long-term triumphs. Making the playoffs wouldn’t be the primary goal — or the expectation — for Seattle’s first season, but this group could potentially blossom into something special that could be sustained for upwards of a decade through a patient draft-and-develop approach.

With that plan in place, Seattle will use most of their selections on promising young talent. But Seattle still needs to reach the cap floor of $60.2 million for 2019-20, so that will require making a few trades to take on other teams’ bad contracts — or simply expensive contracts — in return for more futures in the form of exempt prospects and entry draft picks.

Setting Stage for Mock Series

To clarify, this series of mocks will be pretending that the expansion draft is today, with Seattle starting play this coming season, and that CapFriendly’s tool applies to 2019-20.

In reality, that tool is prorated for 2021-22, so there are some discrepancies for young players on entry-level contracts that would be exempt in 2019 but eligible in 2021 — these mocks assume those players are eligible in the present. And also with some no-move clauses that are in effect for 2019 but expired for 2021 — these mocks assume those NMCs are nonexistent in the present.

A tad confusing, but pretend the 2021 eligibility rules apply to 2019. Or pretend it is currently 2021 and Seattle is debuting this fall. Either way, apply CapFriendly’s tool to today.

Note that the same protected and exposed lists were utilized for each of these three mocks to maintain consistency in the selection process and were based on NHL rosters as of July 15.

Also note that Vegas is exempt from this expansion draft — as will still be the case in 2021.

Anaheim Ducks

Protected Forwards: Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell, Jakob Silfverberg, Troy Terry, Sam Steel, Isac Lundestrom, Max Jones

Protected Defencemen: Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler, Brendan Guhle

Protected Goaltender: John Gibson

Exposed Forwards: Adam Henrique, Ondrej Kase, Nick Ritchie, Daniel Sprong, Devin Shore, Kiefer Sherwood

Exposed Defencemen: Josh Manson, Jacob Larsson, Josh Mahura

Exposed Goaltenders: Ryan Miller, Anthony Stolarz, Kevin Boyle

SELECTION: Ondrej Kase, RW, $2.6M for two seasons

Ondrej Kase Ducks
Ondrej Kase (25) of the Anaheim Ducks. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

ANALYSIS: Kase is a gifted forward entering his prime — turning 24 in November — who produced 20 points (11 goals, nine assists) over 30 games in an injury-shortened 2018-19 campaign. He could take another step for Seattle in a prominent top-six role, potentially becoming a 60-point player.

However, Anaheim might prefer to protect Kase over 21-year-old Max Jones, who was a first-round pick (24th overall) for the Ducks in 2016. In that case, Sprong would be another scoring forward, but the better options might be on defence with Larsson, Mahura and maybe even Guhle if the Ducks exposed him instead of Manson, which is entirely possible and perhaps probable.

Arizona Coyotes

Protected Forwards: Phil Kessel (NMC), Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz, Derek Stepan, Christian Dvorak, Christian Fischer, Nick Merkley

Protected Defencemen: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (NMC), Jakob Chychrun, Kyle Capobianco

Protected Goaltender: Antti Raanta

Exposed Forwards: Carl Soderberg, Michael Grabner, Vinnie Hinostroza, Lawson Crouse, Conor Garland, Tyler Steenbergen

Exposed Defencemen: Alex Goligoski, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jason Demers, Jordan Oesterle, Cam Dineen

Exposed Goaltenders: Darcy Kuemper, Adin Hill, Merrick Madsen

SELECTION: Conor Garland, RW, $775,000 for two seasons

Arizona Coyotes Conor Garland Minnesota Wild Joel Eriksson Ek
Conor Garland (83) of the Arizona Coyotes battles with Joel Eriksson Ek of the Minnesota Wild. (Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo)

ANALYSIS: Garland is also 23 and coming off a rookie season that saw him score 13 goals over 47 games for the Coyotes in 2018-19. He’s undersized but has a nose for the net and doesn’t shy away from the dirty areas. He had to really earn his NHL opportunity — as an overachieving fifth-round pick from 2015 — but could make the most of middle-six chance in Seattle.

Garland’s selection would be less controversial since he’s more likely to be exposed, with little chance of bumping anybody from Arizona’s protected list. In saying that, some might prefer Garland and Hinostroza over Fischer and Merkley. These aren’t easy decisions by any means.

Crouse would have offered Seattle more of a physical presence and Steenbergen is also trending well as another fifth-rounder for Arizona, but Garland’s strong showing at the NHL level this past season sold Seattle on his potential. Dineen and Hill were also considered to a lesser degree and Capobianco would have been too if not protected over veterans Hjalmarsson and Goligoski.

Boston Bruins

Protected Forwards: Patrice Bergeron (NMC), Brad Marchand (NMC), David Pastrnak, David Krejci, Jake DeBrusk, Charlie Coyle, Danton Heinen

Protected Defencemen: Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo

Protected Goaltender: Tuukka Rask

Exposed Forwards: David Backes, Sean Kuraly, Karson Kuhlman, Anders Bjork, Trent Frederic, Zach Senyshyn, Chris Wagner, Joakim Nordstrom, Brett Ritchie, Peter Cehlarik, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson 

Exposed Defencemen: Zdeno Chara, Matt Grzelcyk, Connor Clifton, Jakub Zboril, Jeremy Lauzon, John Moore, Kevan Miller

Exposed Goaltenders: Jaroslav Halak, Daniel Vladar

SELECTION: Jakub Zboril, LD, $863,333 pending RFA

Jakub Zboril
Jakub Zboril of the Boston Bruins. (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY)

ANALYSIS: Zboril hasn’t exactly panned out as Boston’s first of three straight first-rounders from 2015, taken 13th overall just ahead of Jake DeBrusk. But defencemen typically take longer to develop and Zboril did enough in the AHL to make his NHL debut in 2018-19, suiting up for two games with the Bruins. His AHL stat-lines are identical through two pro seasons — both with four goals, 19 points and 38 penalty minutes, albeit in 12 fewer games this past season.

In building for the future, Seattle could take a chance on the 22-year-old Czech defender, allowing Zboril more time to grow his game in Palm Springs, Calif., which will be home to Seattle’s AHL affiliate. 

Zboril might still have the most upside or the highest ceiling of any 25-and-under player on Boston’s exposed list. That is debatable with 25-year-old Grzelcyk coming into his own during this year’s playoffs and 24-year-old Clifton not looking too far behind as more of a revelation for Boston this spring. Others would go to bat for budding forwards like Kuhlman, Bjork, Frederic, Senyshyn and Forsbacka Karlsson or even Vladar as a netminder.

Buffalo Sabres

Protected Forwards: Jeff Skinner (NMC), Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart, Casey Mittelstadt

Protected Defencemen: Rasmus Dahlin, Henri Jokiharju, Brandon Montour, Rasmus Ristolainen

Protected Goaltender: Linus Ullmark

Exposed Forwards: Marcus Johansson, Kyle Okposo, Conor Sheary, Jimmy Vesey, Evan Rodrigues, Tage Thompson, Victor Olofsson, Rasmus Asplund, Zemgus Girgensons, Vladimir Sobotka

Exposed Defencemen: Colin Miller, Lawrence Pilut, Zach Bogosian, Jake McCabe, Marco Scandella, Casey Nelson, John Gilmour, Brandon Hickey, Will Borgen, Devante Stephens 

Exposed Goaltenders: Carter Hutton, Jonas Johansson, Andrew Hammond

SELECTION: Tage Thompson, RW/RC, $925,000 pending RFA

Tage Thompson St. Louis Blues
Tage Thompson, now of the Buffalo Sabres, made his NHL debut as a member of the St. Louis Blues. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

ANALYSIS: Thompson struggled at times during his first season with Buffalo after showing more promise with St. Louis prior to becoming a key piece in the Ryan O’Reilly blockbuster. That trade — and the pressure that came with the move — might have weighed on his 6-foot-6 shoulders, but Thompson still possesses nice upside with his combination of size and skill.

Eventually demoted to the AHL, Thompson scored eight goals in 11 games as a point-per-game player at that level to close out 2018-19. Seattle liked that production and Thompson’s pedigree as a first-round pick (26th overall) from 2016 who only turns 22 in October.

Thompson was taken over a trio of Swedes in Olofsson and Asplund as fellow forwards and Pilut as a blueliner. Solid cases could be made for each of them, with Olofsson and Asplund potentially getting protected had Buffalo been able to trade Ristolainen prior to this expansion draft to go 7-3 instead of 4-4.

Calgary Flames

Protected Forwards: Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Elias Lindholm, Matthew Tkachuk, Dillon Dube, Sam Bennett, Mikael Backlund

Protected Defencemen: Mark Giordano, Noah Hanifin, Juuso Valimaki

Protected Goaltender: David Rittich

Exposed Forwards: James Neal, Michael Frolik, Derek Ryan, Mark Jankowski, Andrew Mangiapane, Austin Czarnik, Glenn Gawdin, Matthew Phillips, Spencer Foo

Exposed Defencemen: T.J. Brodie, Travis Hamonic, Rasmus Andersson, Oliver Kylington, Michael Stone, Andrew Nielsen

Exposed Goaltenders: Cam Talbot, Jon Gillies, Tyler Parsons

SELECTION: Rasmus Andersson, RD, $755,833 pending RFA

Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson
Rasmus Andersson of the Calgary Flames. (Candice Ward/USA TODAY)

ANALYSIS: Andersson steadily improved throughout his rookie campaign — finishing 2018-19 with 19 points (two goals, 17 assists) in 79 games — and is looking like a potential breakout candidate for 2019-20 following his playoff performance this spring (three points in five games). Turning 23 in October, Andersson could be a sneaky good pick for Seattle.

Fellow Swedish defenceman Kylington also has nice upside but isn’t as polished, while slightly older forwards Jankowski and Mangiapane are more established but not as enticing for Seattle. Parsons and Gillies also warranted a little consideration as goaltending options, but Andersson became the obvious choice from Calgary.

Carolina Hurricanes

Protected Forwards: Jordan Staal (NMC), Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, Teuvo Teravainen, Nino Niederreiter, Julien Gauthier, Morgan Geekie

Protected Defencemen: Jaccob Slavin, Dougie Hamilton, Jake Bean

Protected Goaltender: Petr Mrazek

Exposed Forwards: Erik Haula, Ryan Dzingel, Warren Foegele, Janne Kuokkanen, Lucas Wallmark, Jordan Martinook, Saku Maenalanen, Brock McGinn

Exposed Defencemen: Justin Faulk, Brett Pesce, Haydn Fleury, Gustav Forsling, Trevor Carrick, Roland McKeown, Trevor van Riemsdyk

Exposed Goaltenders: James Reimer, Alex Nedeljkovic, Anton Forsberg, Jeremy Helvig, Callum Booth

SELECTION: Alex Nedeljkovic, G, $737,500 for two seasons

Alex Nedeljkovic Hurricanes
Alex Nedeljkovic in goal for the Carolina Hurricanes. (Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY)

ANALYSIS: Nedeljkovic won the AHL’s goaltender of the year award and backstopped Charlotte to a Calder Cup championship this spring — proving he’s ready for an NHL role. But he might have to bide his time a bit longer, be it in Carolina behind Mrazek and Reimer or in Seattle.

Nedeljkovic wouldn’t be a bad pick, but there would be outrage over passing on Pesce as a proven top-four, right-handed defenceman locked up for five more seasons at a very reasonable $4.025 million and just entering his prime in turning 25 in November. 

Truth be told, it’s unlikely that Pesce would even be exposed or truly available. Carolina would be more likely to protect four defencemen — thus exposing Niederreiter, Gauthier and Geekie as forwards — or to perhaps protect Pesce over Bean in the 7-3 scenario. And Carolina could also strike a side deal to prevent Seattle from selecting Pesce, which can be the perceived outcome here.

Fleury and Forsling, as defenders, along with Foegele and Kuokkanen, as forwards, were also on Seattle’s radar, but Nedeljkovic’s heroics and accolades from 2018-19 sealed his selection.

Chicago Blackhawks

Protected Forwards: Jonathan Toews (NMC), Patrick Kane (NMC), Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome, Alex Nylander, Andrew Shaw, Dylan Sikura

Protected Defencemen: Duncan Keith (NMC), Brent Seabrook (NMC), Erik Gustafsson

Protected Goaltender: Robin Lehner

Exposed Forwards: Brandon Saad, Artem Anisimov, Brendan Perlini, Drake Caggiula, David Kampf, John Quenneville, Aleksi Saarela, Alexandre Fortin, Matthew Highmore, Victor Ejdsell

Exposed Defencemen: Connor Murphy, Olli Maatta, Calvin de Haan, Slater Koekkoek, Dennis Gilbert, Carl Dahlstrom

Exposed Goaltenders: Corey Crawford, Collin Delia, Kevin Lankinen

SELECTION: Corey Crawford, G, $6M pending UFA

Corey Crawford Blackhawks
Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

ANALYSIS: Chicago is committing to Lehner for 2019-20 — as a Vezina finalist from 2018-19 — and thus exposing Crawford as one of the faces of the Blackhawks’ franchise. Chicago would also like to shed that salary and would rather dump Crawford than Saad, who might still be worth protecting over Sikura despite his $6-million cap hit.

Seattle likes the idea of a Stanley Cup-winning goaltender playing behind a young team, with Crawford becoming their version of Marc-Andre Fleury in Vegas. Crawford has battled concussions and vertigo symptoms in recent seasons, but — providing he’s healthy — he would arguably be the best goalie available in this mock.

If Seattle needs to take on salary to reach the cap floor, Crawford makes a lot of sense — especially since he’s only got one season left on his contract, making him a relatively low-risk selection despite that injury history.

Lankinen could be another interesting netminder from Chicago — he backstopped Finland to gold at the men’s worlds this spring — but he’s not on Crawford’s level. Perlini and Saarela also have a little appeal as forwards, along with Koekkoek as a defenceman, but nowhere near enough to take over Crawford.

Colorado Avalanche

Protected Forwards: Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, Nazem Kadri, Tyson Jost, J.T. Compher, Andre Burakovsky

Protected Defencemen: Erik Johnson (NMC), Samuel Girard, Cale Makar

Protected Goaltender: Philipp Grubauer

Exposed Forwards: Joonas Donskoi, Colin Wilson, Vladislav Kamenev, Matt Nieto, Matt Calvert, A.J. Greer, Ty Lewis, Igor Shvyryov, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Exposed Defencemen: Nikita Zadorov, Calle Rosen, Nicolas Meloche, Josh Anderson, Ian Cole, Kevin Connauton, Mark Barberio, Jacob MacDonald, Ryan Graves, Mark Alt, Anton Lindholm

Exposed Goaltender: Pavel Francouz

SELECTION: Nikita Zadorov, LD, $3.2M pending RFA

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov
Nikita Zadorov (16) of the Colorado Avalanche. (Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY)

ANALYSIS: Zadorov is a beast just entering his prime at 24 years old, which made him a rare unanimous selection for these mocks. He was also taken for the win-now team, he’s still young enough to be part of Seattle’s future core, and he’s clearly the best player available from Colorado. Spoiler alert on the latter BPA mock that has yet to be revealed, but Zadorov was a no-brainer across the board for Seattle.

Kamenev and Rosen were the runner-ups from the Avs — both being a distant second behind Zadorov — and nobody else really entered the conversation beyond those three names.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Protected Forwards: Cam Atkinson, Nick Foligno, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Josh Anderson, Gustav Nyquist, Boone Jenner, Oliver Bjorkstrand 

Protected Defencemen: Seth Jones, Zach Werenski, Ryan Murray

Protected Goaltender: Joonas Korpisalo

Exposed Forwards: Alexander Wennberg, Brandon Dubinsky, Riley Nash, Sonny Milano, Lukas Sedlak, Kole Sherwood, Calvin Thurkauf, Paul Bittner, Markus Hannikainen

Exposed Defencemen: David Savard, Markus Nutivaara, Gabriel Carlsson, Scott Harrington, Dean Kukan, Adam Clendening

Exposed Goaltender: Matiss Kivlenieks

SELECTION: Sonny Milano, LW/LC, $874,125 pending RFA

Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Sonny Milano
Sonny Milano (22) of the Columbus Blue Jackets fends off former Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson. (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY)

ANALYSIS: Milano has talent and the tools to be a successful NHLer — as evidenced by scoring 14 goals in 55 games for Columbus two seasons ago. But he only managed one goal over just eight games in 2018-19, taking a step back despite producing at a point-per-game pace in the AHL for the rest of the season, including 10 points in eight playoff games for Cleveland.

Milano is nearing make-or-break territory as a first-round pick (16th overall) from 2014. He was drafted as a centre but has primarily been a left-winger in pro, though Seattle could experiment with Milano in the middle to see if that sparks his career at 23 years old.

The upside is still fairly high, but there have been some red flags swirling around Milano — more so for off-ice issues, including a scrap over a bar tab in New York City this offseason. Seattle would have to weigh risk versus reward in selecting Milano, but if things were to click with more maturity, he could become a quality middle-six forward on a team building for the future.

Wennberg and Nutivaara, who will both be 25 years old for 2019-20, would have been safer, more established picks from Columbus, while a case could also be made for Carlsson as a first-rounder (29th overall) from 2015 who projects as a dependable blueliner.

Dallas Stars

Protected Forwards: Jamie Benn (NMC), Tyler Seguin (NMC), Alex Radulov (NMC), Joe Pavelski, Roope Hintz, Jason Dickinson, Denis Gurianov 

Protected Defencemen: John Klingberg, Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell

Protected Goaltender: Ben Bishop (NMC)

Exposed Forwards: Radek Faksa, Mattias Janmark, Andrew Cogliano, Corey Perry, Joel L’Esperance, Blake Comeau, Justin Dowling, Adam Mascherin, Nick Caamano

Exposed Defencemen: Stephen Johns, Jamie Oleksiak, Julius Honka, Andrej Sekera, Ben Gleason, Gavin Bayreuther, Dillon Heatherington, Taylor Fedun, Roman Polak, Niklas Hansson, John Nyberg

Exposed Goaltenders: Anton Khudobin, Colton Point, Landon Bow

SELECTION: Julius Honka, RD, RFA ($863,333 in 2018-19, approximately $1M for 2019-20)

Stars defenseman Julius Honka
Julius Honka of the Dallas Stars. (Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY)

ANALYSIS: Honka needs a change of scenery — and the Stars are shopping him in the present — but he’s also teetering on bust territory. Dallas hasn’t provided him with enough opportunity from the outside looking in — and he’s stuck behind Klingberg and Heiskanen as offensive defenders there — but perhaps Honka hasn’t earned that opportunity either.

With Seattle building for the future, Honka would be given ample opportunity to realize his potential as a first-round pick (14th overall) from 2014. His skating, passing and offensive instincts have never been in question, but Honka has to prove he can defend at the NHL level on a nightly basis. He can’t be a defensive liability or he won’t be in the NHL much longer. But Seattle could deploy Honka as something of a power-play specialist to get his confidence back up while taking the good with the bad at even strength. That said, Honka turns 24 in December, so the good needs to outweigh the bad at this point in his career — even for Seattle.

Otherwise, Seattle would be better off taking Bayreuther, who was close to overtaking Honka on Dallas’ depth chart, or perhaps L’Esperance, who scored 30 goals in his first full AHL season and is coming on strong as a late-bloomer turning 24 in August. Point was another goaltender of interest for Seattle, but there were no shortage of those to choose from.

Detroit Red Wings

Protected Forwards: Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi, Michael Rasmussen, Evgeny Svechnikov, Givani Smith

Protected Defencemen: Filip Hronek, Dennis Cholowski, Gustav Lindstrom

Protected Goaltender: Jimmy Howard

Exposed Forwards: Frans Nielsen, Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, Valtteri Filppula, Luke Glendening, Jacob De La Rose, Christoffer Ehn, Dominic Turgeon, David Pope

Exposed Defencemen: Mike Green, Danny DeKeyser, Trevor Daley, Patrik Nemeth, Madison Bowey, Joe Hicketts, Vili Saarijarvi

Exposed Goaltenders: Jonathan Bernier, Calvin Pickard, Kaden Fulcher, Patrik Rybar

SELECTION: Joe Hicketts, LD, RFA ($636,111 in 2018-19, approximately $850,000 for 2019-20)

Red Wings defenseman Joe Hicketts
Joe Hicketts of the Detroit Red Wings. (Eric Bolte/USA TODAY)

ANALYSIS: Hicketts is a heart-and-soul player that doesn’t let his lack of size hold him back. He’s fearless and full of energy — the makings of a fan favourite for an expansion team. Hicketts is noticeable when he’s on the ice, impactful in a positive way more often than not through physicality and a willingness to get involved offensively. That eagerness can be costly at times, but Seattle would welcome his relentless effort.

Hicketts took some shifts as a forward during his stints with Detroit, so that versatility as a swingman would also endear him to Seattle. If not Hicketts, Bowey is probably the best bet for Seattle, but he was already named to the win-now team and Hicketts just seemed like a better fit for the future team.

Pickard played junior in Seattle — with the WHL’s Thunderbirds — so he was considered as a sentimental selection, but defence made more sense than goaltending from Detroit. De La Rose was the forward of interest, but he didn’t really move the needle for Seattle.

Edmonton Oilers

Protected Forwards: Milan Lucic (NMC), Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Tyler Benson, Kailer Yamamoto, Jesse Puljujarvi

Protected Defencemen: Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse, Caleb Jones

Protected Goaltender: Stuart Skinner

Exposed Forwards: Sam Gagner, Alex Chiasson, Zack Kassian, Markus Granlund, Jujhar Khaira, Cooper Marody, Joe Gambardella, Colby Cave, Patrick Russell, Josh Currie, Cameron Hebig

Exposed Defencemen: Adam Larsson, Matt Benning, Ethan Bear, William Lagesson, Joel Persson, Kris Russell

Exposed Goaltenders: Mikko Koskinen, Mike Smith, Shane Starrett, Dylan Wells

SELECTION: Ethan Bear, RD, $720,000 pending RFA

Ethan Bear
Ethan Bear of the Edmonton Oilers. (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

ANALYSIS: Bear is a likely target for Seattle — even in 2021 — after starring for the Kent-based Thunderbirds in winning a WHL championship in 2017, along with that league’s top defenceman award. Bear became a pretty big name in that market during his junior days and Seattle would be wise to select some familiar faces, especially for this future team.

Bear also warrants selection on merit, with his skill-set on par or better than Swedish defenders Persson and Lagesson. Marody garnered marginal interest as a forward, but Bear checked the most boxes for Seattle.

Florida Panthers

Protected Forwards: Jonathan Huberdeau (NMC), Aleksander Barkov, Vincent Trocheck, Evgeni Dadonov, Henrik Borgstrom, Mike Hoffman, Frank Vatrano

Protected Defencemen: Keith Yandle (NMC), Aaron Ekblad, Mike Matheson

Protected Goaltender: Sergei Bobrovsky (NMC)

Exposed Forwards: Brett Connolly, Jayce Hawryluk, Denis Malgin, Noel Acciari, Colton Sceviour, Patrick Bajkov, Cliff Pu, Jonathan Ang, Juho Lammikko, Dryden Hunt, Anthony Greco, Sebastian Repo, Kevin Roy, Maxim Mamin, Dominic Toninato

Exposed Defencemen: Mark Pysyk, Anton Stralman, MacKenzie Weegar, Ian McCoshen

Exposed Goaltenders: Sam Montembeault, Philippe Desrosiers

SELECTION: Jayce Hawryluk, RW, $874,125 pending RFA

Florida Panthers Jayce Hawryluk
Jayce Hawryluk of the Florida Panthers. (Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY)

ANALYSIS: Hawryluk is another energy player with decent offensive ability and still a good amount of upside as a second-rounder (32nd overall) from 2014. He might not score a ton in the NHL — he netted seven goals over 42 games as a rookie for Florida in 2018-19 — but Hawryluk could carve out a career with Seattle.

Weegar took a big step in 2018-19, putting himself on Seattle’s radar as a 25-year-old defenceman, but Hawryluk is two years younger and could take his big step in 2019-20 to reach double-digits in goals in the right situation. McCoshen and Montembeault were also in the mix from Florida, but Hawryluk had a little more likability for Seattle. He could develop into one of those players that you love to have on your team but hate to play against — a poor man’s Brendan Gallagher.

Los Angeles Kings

Protected Forwards: Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, Adrian Kempe, Alex Iafallo, Michael Amadio, Carl Grundstrom

Protected Defencemen: Drew Doughty (NMC), Alec Martinez, Kale Clague

Protected Goaltender: Jonathan Quick

Exposed Forwards: Ilya Kovalchuk, Dustin Brown, Trevor Lewis, Kyle Clifford, Austin Wagner, Mikey Eyssimont, Sheldon Rempal, Martin Frk, Mario Kempe, Drake Rymsha, Brad Morrison

Exposed Defencemen: Derek Forbort, Paul LaDue, Sean Walker, Daniel Brickley, Joakim Ryan, Jacob Moverare, Austin Strand, Chaz Reddekopp, Kurtis MacDermid, Matt Roy

Exposed Goaltenders: Jack Campbell, Cal Petersen, Cole Kehler

SELECTION: Jack Campbell, G, $675,000 pending UFA

Jack Campbell, Mark Giordano
Jack Campbell of the Los Angeles Kings blocks the net on Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

ANALYSIS: Campbell became another unanimous choice for Seattle despite several intriguing options for the future team. Campbell still has a long way to go to live up to his draft hype — as the 11th overall pick in 2010 for Dallas — but, at 27 years old, he’s coming off a breakout season with Los Angeles and could be ready for a starting role.

Campbell showed he still has starter potential and could be a fit for Seattle as Crawford’s successor in a year or two. Campbell would also be a nice insurance policy for Seattle, should Crawford suffer another injury. That depth chart in goal would work well, with Campbell and Nedeljkovic capable of taking the torch from Crawford for the future.

If the Kings were to protect Campbell over Quick — which is not out of the realm of possibility — then Quick might become more appealing than Crawford as a veteran Stanley Cup-winning starter for Seattle. Of course, Quick also comes with injury concerns in the form of a wonky groin.

If not a goalie from Los Angeles, Wagner could be a speedy forward for Seattle’s future team, while Moverare may be the most promising among a handful of budding blueliners. Strand could be a name to keep an eye on as an unheralded and undrafted prospect coming off a strong pro debut after finishing his junior career with the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Minnesota Wild

Protected Forwards: Zach Parise (NMC), Mats Zuccarello (NMC), Kevin Fiala, Joel Eriksson Ek, Jordan Greenway, Luke Kunin, Ryan Donato

Protected Defencemen: Ryan Suter (NMC), Matt Dumba, Jared Spurgeon

Protected Goaltender: Devan Dubnyk

Exposed Forwards: Eric Staal, Mikko Koivu, Jason Zucker, Victor Rask, Marcus Foligno, Ryan Hartman, Mason Shaw, Will Bitten, Dmitry Sokolov, Kyle Rau, Sam Anas, J.T. Brown

Exposed Defencemen: Jonas Brodin, Louis Belpedio, Brennan Menell, Greg Pateryn, Nick Seeler, Brad Hunt 

Exposed Goaltenders: Alex Stalock, Kaapo Kahkonen

SELECTION: Jason Zucker, LW, $5.5M for four seasons

Jason Zucker
Jason Zucker of the Minnesota Wild. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

ANALYSIS: If Zucker is exposed — he could be protected over Eriksson Ek, but Minnesota has already tried to trade Zucker twice, so presume he’s available — this would be a good player for Seattle to target for the necessary salary to reach the floor but also because Zucker has plenty of term left and is still young enough at 27 to serve as a leader for this future team.

Minnesota doesn’t have much to offer Seattle’s future team — Kahkonen as a goaltending option, Belpedio and Menell as offensive defenders, and Shaw as a smaller forward with big upside — so Zucker makes the most sense here. Dollars and cents too.

It would be ironic to see Zucker selected by Seattle in an expansion draft after he wasn’t exposed for Vegas — his hometown team.

Montreal Canadiens

Protected Forwards: Brendan Gallagher, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Max Domi, Jonathan Drouin, Tomas Tatar, Phillip Danault, Artturi Lehkonen

Protected Defencemen: Shea Weber, Victor Mete, Noah Juulsen

Protected Goaltender: Carey Price (NMC)

Exposed Forwards: Paul Byron, Joel Armia, Jordan Weal, Charles Hudon, Matthew Peca, Nick Cousins, Nate Thompson, Michael McCarron, Jake Evans, Riley Barber, Lukas Vejdemo

Exposed Defencemen: Jeff Petry, Ben Chiarot, Brett Kulak, Mike Reilly, Christian Folin, Xavier Ouellet, Gustav Olofsson, Cale Fleury, Karl Alzner

Exposed Goaltenders: Keith Kinkaid, Charlie Lindgren, Michael McNiven

SELECTION: Brett Kulak, LD, $1.85M for three seasons

Montreal Canadiens Brett Kulak
Brett Kulak of the Montreal Canadiens. (Jean-Yves Ahern/USA TODAY)

ANALYSIS: Kulak could emerge as another leader for Seattle, seeming to hit his stride in 2018-19 to secure that three-year contract. Now 25 years old, Kulak would bring some more stability to Seattle’s back end and might be a known commodity for the market after playing junior just across the border with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants.

Montreal’s options for Seattle’s future team were mostly on the older end of prospect status, with Weal already 27 but worthy of consideration as an offensive catalyst for an expansion club. Hudon is 25 with more than 100 NHL games under his belt but likely looking at a change of scenery for 2019-20. McCarron is 24, a 6-foot-6 centre and first-rounder from 2013, but didn’t get into any NHL games in 2018-19 and can now be labelled a bust. Reilly just turned 26 and might contribute more offence than Kulak, but he’s not as polished or steady despite being a year older. Lindgren and McNiven are goaltenders with decent upside but far from proven entities. So Kulak became something of a safe pick from Montreal.

Nashville Predators

Protected Forwards: Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg, Mikael Granlund, Viktor Arvidsson, Craig Smith, Calle Jarnkrok

Protected Defencemen: Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm

Protected Goaltender: Pekka Rinne

Exposed Forwards: Kyle Turris, Colton Sissons, Austin Watson, Miikka Salomaki, Rocco Grimaldi, Daniel Carr, Yakov Trenin

Exposed Defencemen: Dan Hamhuis, Steven Santini, Alexandre Carrier, Frederic Allard, Yannick Weber, Matt Irwin

Exposed Goaltenders: Juuse Saros, Connor Ingram

SELECTION: Kyle Turris, RC, $6M for five seasons

Nashville Predators center Kyle Turris
Kyle Turris of the Nashville Predators. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY)

ANALYSIS: It’s hard to believe Turris is already turning 30 in August, but he should still have some good hockey ahead of him despite coming off a bad season in 2018-19. He looked better for Canada at the men’s worlds this spring than he did for Nashville in the playoffs or throughout the regular season.

As a result, Turris would likely be exposed — Sissons may be protected over Jarnkrok for Nashville’s final forward spot — and Seattle would gladly take the bait without too much concern over Turris’ contract. The salary cap should continue to climb, making that $6 million a stomachable hit even if Turris doesn’t return to his offensive form. Again, reaching the cap floor is a factor in this selection, but Seattle believes in Turris’ bounce-back ability.

Nashville dangled Turris to distract Seattle from Saros as a goaltender of the future and it worked — though Nashville might also protect Saros over Rinne. In that case, Rinne would enter the conversation with Crawford and Quick to become Seattle’s veteran starter, but Rinne doesn’t have a Stanley Cup on his resume.

Carrier and Allard had slight appeal as defence prospects, but Turris was the centre of attention from Nashville and projects as Seattle’s first-line centre for 2019-20.

New Jersey Devils

Protected Forwards: Taylor Hall, Nico Hischier, Kyle Palmieri, Jesper Bratt, Pavel Zacha, Michael McLeod, Joey Anderson

Protected Defencemen: P.K. Subban, Damon Severson, Will Butcher

Protected Goaltender: Mackenzie Blackwood

Exposed Forwards: Travis Zajac, Wayne Simmonds, Miles Wood, Blake Coleman, John Hayden, Brett Seney, Nathan Bastian, Blake Speers, Yegor Sharangovich, Marian Studenic, Brandon Gignac

Exposed Defencemen: Sami Vatanen, Andy Greene, Mirco Mueller, Connor Carrick, Matt Tennyson, Josh Jacobs, Colton White, Colby Sissons

Exposed Goaltender: Cory Schneider

SELECTION: Miles Wood, LW, $2.75M for three seasons

Miles Wood #44, New Jersey Devils
Miles Wood of the New Jersey Devils. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

ANALYSIS: Wood took a step back in 2018-19 — managing only 10 goals after breaking out with 19 goals in 2017-18 — but he should be a good bet to split the difference in 2019-20, netting at least 15 goals in a top-six role for Seattle.

Wood also brings energy and physicality, a rambunctious style that would fit well in a Seattle mosh pit. He went toe-to-toe with Jamie Benn in a spirited scrap that showed he could take care of his new teammates when push comes to shove.

Mueller was the other consideration from New Jersey, mainly because of his ties to the Seattle market after playing junior with the nearby Everett Silvertips, who developed him into a first-round pick for San Jose in 2013. But Mueller’s pro career has been up and down and his impact wouldn’t be as big as Wood’s for Seattle’s future team.

Bastian could also be a player for the future, but this decision was between Wood and Mueller.

New York Islanders

Protected Forwards: Anders Lee, Matt Barzal, Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson, Jordan Eberle, Anthony Beauvillier, Kieffer Bellows

Protected Defencemen: Ryan Pulock, Devon Toews, Adam Pelech

Protected Goaltender: Semyon Varlamov

Exposed Forwards: Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck, Andrew Ladd, Josh Ho-Sang, Michael Dal Colle, Tanner Fritz, Scott Eansor, Otto Koivula, Leo Komarov, Tom Kuhnhackl, Matt Martin

Exposed Defencemen: Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Thomas Hickey, Scott Mayfield, Sebastian Aho, Parker Wotherspoon, Mitch Vande Sompel, David Quenneville, Seth Helgeson

Exposed Goaltenders: Thomas Greiss, Linus Soderstrom, Christopher Gibson, Jared Coreau

SELECTION: Josh Ho-Sang, RW, RFA ($863,333 in 2018-19, approximately $1M for 2019-20)

Josh Ho-Sang
Josh Ho-Sang of the New York Islanders. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

ANALYSIS: Ho-Sang has sublime skills, but he’s been a problem child for the Islanders from the day they drafted him in the first round (28th overall) in 2014. Mostly off-ice stuff — sleeping through alarms, complaining through the media, wanting to wear Mario Lemieux’s No. 66 — but that has hindered Ho-Sang’s chances of making an on-ice impression because he’s been banished to the minors for most of his entry-level contract.

Much like Milano, Seattle would be hoping Ho-Sang’s woes go away with maturity — now that he’s 23 years old and needs to get serious about making a career for himself as a professional hockey player. Ho-Sang won’t get too many more chances to stick at the NHL level, with Seattle looking like his best opportunity should the expansion franchise be willing to take that chance on him.

The Islanders do have several other options for Seattle’s future team, including the fifth overall pick from 2014 in Dal Colle as a reclamation project. Wotherspoon stands out among a handful of defence prospects since he was a standout for the Tri-City Americans during a four-year junior career in Washington State. Aho (the defenceman), Vande Sompel and Quenneville also warranted consideration with Wotherspoon, while Soderstrom remains a promising goaltending prospect despite sitting out the entire 2018-19 season with a lower-body injury.

Eansor would be the sleeper from the Islanders as a former Thunderbirds captain that helped lead Seattle’s junior team to a WHL title in 2017. He’s no Barzal — the best player on that T-Birds team and now the best player for the Islanders — but Eansor is no slouch, having earned his NHL contract by scoring 16 goals as an AHL rookie.

New York Rangers

Protected Forwards: Artemi Panarin (NMC), Mika Zibanejad (NMC), Chris Kreider, Pavel Buchnevich, Filip Chytil, Lias Andersson, Brett Howden

Protected Defencemen: Jacob Trouba, Brady Skjei, Libor Hajek

Protected Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist

Exposed Forwards: Vladislav Namestnikov, Ryan Strome, Jesper Fast, Brendan Lemieux, Boo Nieves, Vinni Lettieri, Ville Meskanen, Ryan Gropp, Tim Gettinger, Dawson Leedahl, Ty Ronning, Greg McKegg, Matt Beleskey, Steven Fogarty, Danny O’Regan

Exposed Defencemen: Kevin Shattenkirk, Tony DeAngelo, Ryan Lindgren, Marc Staal, Brendan Smith, Brandon Crawley, Sean Day, Darren Raddysh

Exposed Goaltender: Alexandar Georgiev

SELECTION: Brendan Lemieux, LW, RFA ($839,167 in 2018-19, approximately $1M for 2019-20)

Brendan Lemieux Winnipeg Jets
Brendan Lemieux, formerly of the Winnipeg Jets, is now trying to stick with the New York Rangers. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

ANALYSIS: Lemieux might not be the best player available from the Rangers — that distinction goes to DeAngelo — but he fit rather nicely into the lineup for Seattle’s future team. Lemieux is going to be a player as a pest that can put the puck in the net — much like his infamous father, Claude. Another love-hate addition, Seattle’s future team is full of antagonists that would be beloved by that blue-collar market best known for its grunge scene.

DeAngelo plays with a chip on his shoulder too — and plenty of swagger — so he was certainly a strong candidate for Seattle’s future team. Lindgren plays more of a blue-collar game — nothing too flashy — but was also on the radar to a lesser degree. Georgiev could be another goaltender of interest, while Gropp is another former T-Bird from that 2017 championship team.

Ottawa Senators

Protected Forwards: Brady Tkachuk, Colin White, Chris Tierney, Logan Brown, Drake Batherson, Rudolfs Balcers, Vitaly Abramov

Protected Defencemen: Thomas Chabot, Dylan DeMelo, Max Lajoie

Protected Goaltender: Filip Gustavsson

Exposed Forwards: Bobby Ryan, Mikkel Boedker, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Zack Smith, Connor Brown, Anthony Duclair, Tyler Ennis, Jonathan Davidsson, Filip Chlapik, Nick Paul, Morgan Klimchuk, Jack Rodewald

Exposed Defencemen: Nikita Zaitsev, Ron Hainsey, Christian Wolanin, Christian Jaros, Mark Borowiecki, Cody Goloubef, Andreas Englund

Exposed Goaltenders: Craig Anderson, Anders Nilsson, Marcus Hogberg, Mike Condon

SELECTION: Bobby Ryan, RW, $7.25M for three seasons

Bobby Ryan Ottawa Senators
Bobby Ryan of the Ottawa Senators. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

ANALYSIS: Gary Bettman has a trade to announce here. The Senators have long wanted to rid themselves of Ryan’s contract and are willing to throw in two second-round picks as sweeteners for Seattle to take him off their hands in the expansion draft.

Ryan wouldn’t have been Seattle’s preferred pick from Ottawa, but his cap hit helps reach the floor and those second-rounders — one in 2020 and one in 2021 — could prove helpful for the future. The Senators do have second-rounders to spare — with three for each of those years — so this deal makes sense for both teams. But Ottawa would be well below the floor without Ryan, which might mean signing another of D.J. Smith’s former Toronto defencemen in Jake Gardiner to go with Nikita Zaitsev and Ron Hainsey.

Ryan has endured his share of hand injuries in recent years, but he’s still got pretty good hands — pun intended — and could be an offensive producer for Seattle’s future team. Forgetting about his contract, Ryan is probably a better selection than Brown or Duclair among forwards, while Wolanin was the defenceman of interest from Ottawa. Hogberg and Chlapik are current prospects that could become players in the not-too-distant future, but Ryan should be able to help Seattle ice a respectable and recognizable product in the present.

Philadelphia Flyers

Protected Forwards: Claude Giroux (NMC), Kevin Hayes (NMC), Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk, Sean Couturier, Nolan Patrick, Travis Konecny

Protected Defencemen: Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Shayne Gostisbehere

Protected Goaltender: Carter Hart

Exposed Forwards: Scott Laughton, Oskar Lindblom, Michael Raffl, Tyler Pitlick, Mikhail Vorobyov, German Rubtsov, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Carsen Twarynski, Pascal Laberge, David Kase, Andy Andreoff

Exposed Defencemen: Matt Niskanen, Justin Braun, Robert Hagg, Philippe Myers, Sam Morin, Andy Welinski, Chris Bigras, T.J. Brennan, Tyler Wotherspoon

Exposed Goaltenders: Brian Elliott, Alex Lyon, Felix Sandstrom, Jean-Francois Berube

SELECTION: Philippe Myers, RD, $678,889 pending RFA

Philippe Myers Flyers
Philippe Myers of the Philadelphia Flyers. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

ANALYSIS: The Flyers would definitely be losing a good young player in this expansion draft, with Lindblom already going to Seattle’s win-now team and Myers emerging as the best fit for Seattle’s future team. Either way, Seattle can’t go wrong, but Myers could be a home-run pick as a towering defender with top-pairing upside. Could Philippe Myers be better than Tyler Myers in the years to come? Some believe so. Those two are not related, for the record.

Lindblom would have worked well for Seattle’s future team too, while Morin and Sandstrom also crossed Seattle’s mind — albeit briefly, with Myers being available.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Protected Forwards: Sidney Crosby (NMC), Evgeni Malkin (NMC), Jake Guentzel, Alex Galchenyuk, Jared McCann, Nick Bjugstad, Patric Hornqvist

Protected Defencemen: Kris Letang (NMC), Brian Dumoulin, Marcus Pettersson

Protected Goaltender: Matt Murray

Exposed Forwards: Brandon Tanev, Bryan Rust, Dominik Kahun, Dominik Simon, Teddy Blueger, Zach Aston-Reese, Adam Johnson

Exposed Defencemen: Justin Schultz, Erik Gudbranson, Jack Johnson, Juuso Riikola, Chad Ruhwedel

Exposed Goaltenders: Casey DeSmith, Tristan Jarry

SELECTION: Dominik Kahun, LW, $925,000 pending RFA

Dominik Kahun
Dominik Kahun did well in his lone season with the Chicago Blackhawks. (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

ANALYSIS: Kahun gained momentum with Chicago in the second half of his debut season before getting traded to Pittsburgh as part of a package for Olli Maatta. Kahun was an older rookie but should be able to take another step in 2019-20 after recently turning 24. He can play up and down the lineup, a nice luxury for Seattle’s future team.

Kahun was taken over similar forward options in Simon, Blueger and Aston-Reese. Seattle considered each of them extensively but wound up pulling Kahun’s name from the hat. Jarry is ready for an NHL opportunity, but he wasn’t a fit for Seattle’s goaltending depth chart.

San Jose Sharks

Protected Forwards: Logan Couture, Evander Kane, Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl, Kevin Labanc, Dylan Gambrell, Marcus Sorensen

Protected Defencemen: Erik Karlsson (NMC), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (NMC), Brent Burns

Protected Goaltender: Martin Jones

Exposed Forwards: Melker Karlsson, Barclay Goodrow, Lukas Radil, Antti Suomela, Jonny Brodzinski, Jonathan Dahlen, Jayden Halbgewachs, Alex True, Manuel Wiederer, Max Letunov

Exposed Defencemen: Brenden Dillon, Tim Heed, Jeremy Roy, Kyle Wood, Radim Simek, Nick DeSimone

Exposed Goaltenders: Aaron Dell, Josef Korenar, Antoine Bibeau

SELECTION: Alex True, LC, $763,333 for two seasons

San Jose Sharks Alexander True
Alex True (70) in preseason action with the San Jose Sharks. (Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY)

ANALYSIS: This was a tough choice, but Seattle decided to go with the former T-Bird and the birthday boy — True turned 22 on July 17. Sentimental reasons aside, True is a 6-foot-5 centre that is continuing to grow his offensive game as a pro — evidenced by leading San Jose’s AHL team in scoring with 24 goals and 55 points in 2018-19. It is difficult to put a ceiling on this Danish forward, but True is trending up and should have a fairly high floor at the NHL level — perhaps becoming a Martin Hanzal type in his prime.

Seattle’s decision came down to True or Halbgewachs, who was a big-time scorer in the WHL and had an encouraging pro debut in the AHL. True’s history in Seattle as another member of that 2017 WHL championship team was the deciding factor.

Roy and Wood, as defencemen, and Korenar, as an underrated goaltending prospect, were also on Seattle’s short-list behind those two forwards.

Gambrell is the guy that Seattle really wanted to build their future team around — he’s the only NHLer hailing from the Seattle area, with Bonney Lake less than an hour away — but his playoff performance cemented his spot on San Jose’s protected list and the Sharks weren’t willing to negotiate a trade. So Seattle failed to land their hometown player much like Vegas with Zucker.

St. Louis Blues

Protected Forwards: Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn, Tyler Bozak, Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou

Protected Defencemen: Alex Pietrangelo, Colton Parayko, Vince Dunn

Protected Goaltender: Jordan Binnington

Exposed Forwards: Alex Steen, David Perron, Ivan Barbashev, Robby Fabbri, Sammy Blais, Oskar Sundqvist, Zach Sanford, Nolan Stevens, Tanner Kaspick

Exposed Defencemen: Jay Bouwmeester, Joel Edmundson, Carl Gunnarsson, Robert Bortuzzo, Jordan Schmaltz, Jake Walman, Mitch Reinke, Derrick Pouliot, Jake Dotchin, Joey LaLeggia

Exposed Goaltenders: Jake Allen, Ville Husso, Evan Fitzpatrick

SELECTION: Ivan Barbashev, LC, RFA ($741,667 in 2018-19, approximately $1.25M for 2019-20)

Ivan Barbashev, St. Louis Blues
Ivan Barbashev of the St. Louis Blues. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

ANALYSIS: Barbashev opened a lot of eyes during this year’s playoffs, becoming a key role player in the Blues’ Stanley Cup run. He was a high second-round pick (33rd overall) in 2014 and sure looked like a first-round talent for St. Louis, which has been drafting better than most teams in that range in recent years.

Barbashev’s offensive upside is still a matter of debate, but there is no doubt he could be a quality bottom-six forward for Seattle’s future team. Barbashev was selected over Fabbri, whose promising career has been derailed by knee injuries, and Blais, who has been overachieving as a sixth-rounder from the same draft class as Barbashev.

Reinke excelled as a rookie pro in the AHL, perhaps surpassing Schmaltz and Walman on St. Louis’ depth chart for defence prospects, but none of those three seriously challenged Barbashev as Seattle’s selection. Nor did Husso or Fitzpatrick as goaltending prospects, with Allen the netminder of note on St. Louis’ exposed list. 

Allen was considered as a potential starter for Seattle in 2019-20, but he’s been too inconsistent to backstop a young team that will also likely be inconsistent and mistake-prone in Year 1. Crawford’s experience induces much more confidence in the crease.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Protected Forwards: Steven Stamkos (NMC), Nikita Kucherov (NMC), Brayden Point, Tyler Johnson

Protected Defencemen: Victor Hedman (NMC), Ryan McDonagh, Mikhail Sergachev, Cal Foote

Protected Goaltender: Andrei Vasilevskiy

Exposed Forwards: Yanni Gourde, Ondrej Palat, Anthony Cirelli, Mathieu Joseph, Alex Killorn, Mitchell Stephens, Alex Barre-Boulet, Cedric Paquette, Adam Erne, Alexander Volkov, Taylor Raddysh, Boris Katchouk, Dennis Yan, Danick Martel

Exposed Defencemen: Erik Cernak, Braydon Coburn, Jan Rutta, Luke Schenn, Oleg Sosunov

Exposed Goaltenders: Louis Domingue, Curtis McElhinney, Scott Wedgewood, Spencer Martin, Marek Mazanec

SELECTION: Tyler Johnson, RC, $5M for five seasons 

Tyler Johnson #9, Tampa Bay Lightning
Tyler Johnson of the Tampa Bay Lightning. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

ANALYSIS: Bettman is back on the mic with another trade here. As you can see, Johnson was protected by Tampa Bay, but Seattle came into the expansion draft coveting him as a rare Washington State product. Johnson is from Spokane, so not as close to home as Gambrell, but Seattle made a successful pitch to pry Johnson from Tampa Bay with the threat of taking Cirelli again — as was the case for Seattle’s win-now team.

In hindsight, the Lightning would probably prefer to part with Johnson rather than Cirelli and may have swapped them on their protected list, so this trade works for both teams and Seattle didn’t have to offer much more than a handshake and a Starbucks gift card.

Cirelli would have been a nice fit for Seattle’s future team too, but Johnson was always the target from Tampa Bay. If Johnson’s birth certificate didn’t say Washington, Cirelli, Joseph and Cernak would have been the leading candidates for Seattle’s future team, with Stephens, Barre-Boulet, Volkov and Raddysh also on the radar.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Protected Forwards: John Tavares (NMC), Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, Alex Kerfoot

Protected Defencemen: Morgan Rielly, Tyson Barrie, Jake Muzzin

Protected Goaltender: Frederik Andersen

Exposed Forwards: Zach Hyman, Jason Spezza, Trevor Moore, Jeremy Bracco, Nic Petan, Frederik Gauthier, Adam Brooks, Dmytro Timashov, Pierre Engvall, Mason Marchment, Aaron Luchuk, Kenny Agostino

Exposed Defencemen: Cody Ceci, Travis Dermott, Justin Holl, Andreas Borgman, Jesper Lindgren, Ben Harpur, Kevin Gravel, Martin Marincin

Exposed Goaltenders: Garret Sparks, Michael Hutchinson, Kasimir Kaskisuo

SELECTION: Travis Dermott, LD, $863,333 pending RFA

Travis Dermott #23 of the Toronto Maple Leafs
Travis Dermott of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS: Dermott could be a perfect fit for Seattle’s future team, but Toronto would do its best not to lose him. Would the Leafs expose Muzzin instead, at the risk of losing him for 2019-20? Maybe, but Dermott is expected to miss the first half of the season while recovering from shoulder surgery, so Toronto couldn’t do without both of them until Christmas. That would be a devastating blow to the blue line and to Toronto’s chances of making headway in the daunting Atlantic Division. So, sadly for Leafs’ fans, Dermott had to be exposed.

Seattle’s future team can afford to wait on Dermott’s return and reap the long-term benefits of him blossoming into a core player for the years to come. If Toronto could convince Seattle to pass on Dermott — with a substantial trade sweetener, perhaps the 2021 first-round pick since Toronto’s 2020 first-rounder already belongs to Carolina — then Moore, Bracco, Brooks and Timashov would enter the conversation as forwards for Seattle’s future team, along with Swedish blueliners Borgman and Lindgren. But Dermott would be awfully tough to overlook.

Vancouver Canucks

Protected Forwards: Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, J.T. Miller, Micheal Ferland, Jake Virtanen, Adam Gaudette

Protected Defencemen: Tyler Myers, Alex Edler, Olli Juolevi

Protected Goaltender: Jacob Markstrom

Exposed Forwards: Brandon Sutter, Tanner Pearson, Sven Baertschi, Nikolay Goldobin, Josh Leivo, Tyler Motte, Kole Lind, Zack MacEwen, Jonah Gadjovich, Petrus Palmu, Lukas Jasek, Loui Eriksson, Antoine Roussel, Jay Beagle, Tim Schaller 

Exposed Defencemen: Troy Stecher, Chris Tanev, Jordie Benn, Oscar Fantenberg, Alex Biega, Guillaume Brisebois, Jalen Chatfield, Ashton Sautner

Exposed Goaltenders: Thatcher Demko, Zane McIntyre, Richard Bachman

SELECTION: Kole Lind, RW, $891,666 for two seasons

Kole Lind
Kole Lind (78) in action for the Vancouver Canucks at the Young Stars prospect tournament. (Marissa Baecker/

ANALYSIS: Bettman is getting busier towards the end of this mock, with Vancouver trading their 2020 second-round pick to prevent Seattle from selecting Demko. The same deal would have been on the table had Vancouver protected Demko over Markstrom, with the Canucks not wanting to lose either goaltender to their new regional rival. Seattle, not wanting to make any initial enemies off the ice, reluctantly agrees to pass on Demko, who would have been a perfect future starter.

Lind is a decent consolation prize as a promising forward prospect and high second-rounder (33rd overall) from 2017. He didn’t have a great AHL debut as a rookie pro but did get better as the 2018-19 season progressed. Lind should take a significant step in 2019-20 and become a piece of the puzzle for Seattle’s future team.

Vancouver may have been willing to add another pick — say a 2021 third-rounder — for Seattle to take Goldobin instead of Lind, in addition to passing on Demko, but that might have been asking a little much. Not that Goldobin wouldn’t have worked for Seattle’s future team, but Lind is the better long-term fit.

Washington Capitals

Protected Forwards: Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nick Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, Jakub Vrana, Tom Wilson, Lars Eller

Protected Defencemen: John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov, Jonas Siegenthaler

Protected Goaltender: Braden Holtby

Exposed Forwards: Richard Panik, Carl Hagelin, Garnet Hathaway, Brendan Leipsic, Chandler Stephenson, Travis Boyd, Nic Dowd, Shane Gersich, Garrett Pilon, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby

Exposed Defencemen: Michal Kempny, Radko Gudas, Nick Jensen, Christian Djoos, Lucas Johansen, Connor Hobbs

Exposed Goaltenders: Ilya Samsonov, Pheonix Copley, Vitek Vanecek

SELECTION: Lucas Johansen, LD, $925,000 pending RFA

Lucas Johansen will try to crack the Washington Capitals’ roster for 2019-20. (Sammi Silber/THW)

ANALYSIS: Bettman’s final announcement has Washington following Vancouver’s script by also trading a 2020 second-round pick to avoid losing either goaltender. That would be Colorado’s pick going to Seattle since Washington previously parted with their own second-rounder. Regardless, Washington is willing to pay the going rate to prevent Seattle from taking Samsonov — or Holtby, had the Capitals protected Samsonov instead.

Samsonov would have been Seattle’s selection, but Johansen became the next-best option for Seattle’s future team ahead of fellow defenders Djoos and Hobbs as well as forwards Gersich, Pilon and Jonsson-Fjallby.

Johansen is Lind’s former junior teammate with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets. Johansen has also been developing in the AHL, yet to make his NHL debut through two pro seasons despite being a first-round pick (28th overall) for Washington in 2016. But Johansen and Lind aren’t busts by any means and could fill key roles for Seattle’s future team.

Winnipeg Jets

Protected Forwards: Blake Wheeler (NMC), Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, Nik Ehlers, Bryan Little, Jack Roslovic

Protected Defencemen: Dustin Byfuglien, Josh Morrissey, Sami Niku

Protected Goaltender: Connor Hellebuyck

Exposed Forwards: Mathieu Perreault, Adam Lowry, Andrew Copp, Mason Appleton, Jansen Harkins, Michael Spacek, Skyler McKenzie, J.C. Lipon

Exposed Defencemen: Neal Pionk, Nathan Beaulieu, Dmitry Kulikov, Tucker Poolman, Logan Stanley, Luke Green, Nelson Nogier, Anthony Bitetto

Exposed Goaltenders: Laurent Brossoit, Eric Comrie, Mikhail Berdin

SELECTION: Mason Appleton, RW, $741,667 pending RFA

Mason Appleton Winnipeg Jets
Mason Appleton of the Winnipeg Jets. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

ANALYSIS: Seattle’s win-now team was tight to the salary cap towards the end of that mock and had to fill a couple roster spots with cheaper players for the future. So, to no surprise, these last two are repeat picks for Seattle’s future team in Johansen and Appleton.

Appleton was selected again ahead of Poolman, who made a bigger push to be picked in this mock than for Seattle’s win-now team. Comrie and Berdin were both given serious consideration as goaltenders, while Stanley, Harkins and Spacek were also contemplated among skaters. But change for the sake of change is never a good idea, so Seattle’s future team opted to stick with Appleton.

Future Team (Approximately $58M)

Forwards (17)

Jason Zucker-Kyle Turris-Bobby Ryan

Miles Wood-Tyler Johnson-Ondrej Kase

Dominik Kahun-Ivan Barbashev-Conor Garland

Brendan Lemieux-Sonny Milano-Josh Ho-Sang

Tage Thompson/Mason Appleton/Jayce Hawryluk/Alex True/Kole Lind

Defencemen (10)

Nikita Zadorov-Philippe Myers

Travis Dermott-Julius Honka

Brett Kulak-Rasmus Andersson

Joe Hicketts-Ethan Bear

Lucas Johansen/Jakub Zboril

Goaltenders (3)

Corey Crawford

Jack Campbell

Alex Nedeljkovic

Roster Thoughts


Those top two lines are pretty interchangeable as 1A and 1B, with Turris and Johnson being a pretty good 1-2 punch down the middle for any expansion team.

Zucker might work better with Johnson and Kase, but Wood could create more space for them. It would be interesting to see what kind of chemistry could develop between Turris and Ryan, whether they could get their careers back on track while playing together.

There is a bit of a drop-off in the bottom six compared to Seattle’s win-now team — which was much deeper up front — but the third line for Seattle’s future team could be surprisingly effective with Barbashev between Kahun and Garland. That trio could generate some offence while being fairly responsible defensively. Barbashev and Kahun, in particular, play a strong 200-foot game and Garland could be opportunistic in transition.

The fourth line would be troublesome — call them the Trouble Line — with Milano attempting to centre Lemieux and Ho-Sang. They have all experienced some troubling times on and off the ice to this point in their pro careers, but grouping them together in a sink-or-swim situation might work out for Seattle. That would obviously be a soft-minutes line, with Seattle’s future team deploying more of a four scoring lines approach than a traditional checking line. That is the way of the future — four scoring lines!

If any of those three falter on that fourth line, Seattle’s future team has a handful of capable replacements, with Thompson, Appleton and Hawryluk being the most NHL-ready, while True and Lind continue to develop in the AHL.


That top pairing of Zadorov and Myers would be pretty formidable and intimidating to play against.

The second pairing of Dermott (when healthy) and Honka could be fun to watch, especially if Honka can rediscover the mojo that made him a first-round pick.

The third pairing of Kulak and Andersson already has some familiarity from their time together in Calgary two seasons ago (2017-18), which could be beneficial for Seattle in the present and perhaps bump them up to second-pairing minutes to start 2019-20.

The fourth pairing of Hicketts and Bear features two AHLers on the cusp of being NHL-ready, with both capable of filling in while Dermott is on the shelf.

Zboril and Johansen — both lefties and first-round picks — could use a little more seasoning in the AHL.


As mentioned, Crawford would be to Seattle what Fleury has been to Vegas. That would be the hope and the vision, anyway — to have Crawford shine as the last line of defence for a young team trying to find their way in the league.

Campbell would be a very capable backup with the ability to take the starting reins and run with them should Crawford be sidelined for any reason.

Last but not least, Nedeljkovic would be an ideal third-stringer, possessing starter potential for the future.

Between Campbell and Nedeljkovic, Seattle’s goaltending would be in good hands whenever Crawford decided to hang up his pads. Crawford turns 35 in December, so he’s nearing the end, but he’s not done yet and could still take Seattle on his back — barring another concussion.


Seattle’s future team is clearly younger, less experienced and not nearly as deep in forwards or defencemen as Seattle’s win-now team. 

The goaltending could be better — providing Crawford stays healthy and outperforms Darcy Kuemper — but the expectations for 2019-20 would be much lower for Seattle’s future team. 

That shouldn’t come as a surprise in comparing the two rosters and realizing the future team’s total salary is $23 million less than the win-now team.

So temper those expectations and embrace 2019-20 as a developmental season for Seattle’s future team, which would likely be a lottery team for the 2020 draft — meaning a shot at selecting Alexis Lafreniere, Quinton Byfield or Lucas Raymond, among the many other top prospects in a class that could rival 2015 or even 2003.

Add one of those elite talents to the 2020-21 roster and the future would certainly be bright for Seattle.

Fisher’s Mocking History