The Seattle Kraken roster was all but set in stone before the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft broadcast came to air on Wednesday night. Once the Kraken handed in their selection list to the NHL on Wednesday morning, chaos ensued. Just about every player taken by the Kraken was announced on social media and it somewhat watered down the reveal show on ESPN2 in the United States and Sportsnet and SN NOW in Canada later that night.
For the Ottawa Senators, most had assumed that one of Evgenii Dadonov or Chris Tierney would be the likely selections for the Kraken but that was deemed to be false. In somewhat of a shock, they decided to go with goaltender Joey Daccord. The 24-year-old had appeared in just nine career games with the team over the course of three years, posting a 3.50 goals-against average (GAA) and a .894 save percentage (SV%).
The Senators had drafted Daccord 199th overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Before he stepped foot in the NHL, he played one season in the United States Hockey League (USHL) with the Muskegon Lumberjacks. He then went to Arizona State University for three seasons before the Senators gave him the call late in the 2018-19 season. He made one start against the Buffalo Sabres. Daccord had continued to split time between the Brampton Beast of the ECHL and the Belleville Senators of the American Hockey League that year where he posted a 2.61 GAA and a .915 SV% with Belleville.
Although his time was short-lived in Ottawa, Daccord had shown bright spots when he manned the crease. Most of his playing time was in March 2021, but it was ultimately stopped short due to an injury he suffered trying to make a save on Vancouver Canucks defenseman Nate Schmidt. No one knew it at the time, but that would be his last moment on the ice as a Senator. In eight games this season, Daccord displayed that he had the potential to play in the NHL on a consistent basis.
His first career win was against the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 14 during a national broadcast. His postgame interview with Sportsnet made headlines and he instantly became a fan favourite. He showed signs of confidence in the net as well as a desire to be at the top of his game every night he suited up. Attributes like those could have gone a long way for a fanbase like the Senators and especially in a Canadian Market. He made a case that the organization should have opted to protect him, but they decided to go with Filip Gustavsson, who took Daccord’s place when he got injured.
What Does This Mean for Ottawa and Seattle?
Seattle is getting a goaltender who can serve as their number three for now but hopefully turn into a better prospect or number two for them in the future. He carries a two-way contract, so Seattle has the luxury of placing him in the minors and avoids the risk of waivers if they need to call him up. Much like the situation Ottawa faced this year with injuries in the crease, Seattle is presumably doing the same thing in securing somebody in their system to be available if they run into the same problems.
The Kraken will most likely begin the season with Chris Driedger and Vitek Vanecek, but knowing they have someone like Daccord waiting in the wings is beneficial for general manager Ron Francis. For Ottawa, most were hoping that one of the Dadonov or Tierney contracts would be moved and clear up some cap space in the process. General manager Pierre Dorion is hopeful they can now have bounce-back seasons with the club; however, don’t be surprised if one or both players are moved in a trade this offseason.
Daccord going to Seattle doesn’t shake up the roster for Ottawa, but they knew they were going to lose someone good no matter what. Dorion had conversations about the possibility of making a side deal with Francis, but he had made it clear that the asking prices were too high, much like Vegas Golden Knights Expansion Draft. Furthermore, the Senators have no shortage of depth at the goaltending position. Anton Forsberg is poised to be the backup for Matt Murray next season and Filip Gustavsson will start in Belleville, solely based on the way his season ended in Ottawa.
Gustavsson, who is a restricted free agent (RFA), finished with a 5-1-2 record and logged a 2.16 GAA and a .933 SV% with the Senators down the stretch. Other goalies in the system such as Mads Søgaard, who played most of his time in Denmark but appeared in seven games for Belleville, had a 7-0-0 record, 2.40 GAA and a .917 SV% in the AHL. He will be the immediate competition for Gustavsson as the third goalie.
There is no Ottawa affiliate in the ECHL but the thought process is that other netminder Kevin Mandolese will be there to start with a chance of him moving up to the AHL if they can find a team that will take him on a loan. Last but not least, Finnish goalie Leevi Meriläinen, who was selected by the Ontario Hockey League’s Kingston Frontenacs, is expected to play there next season. He is a highly regarded prospect who was selected 71st overall by the Senators in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
The Senators will be okay. They head into next season, as it’s currently constructed, the same way as they ended 2020-21. With the exception of some of their star players needing contracts like Brady Tkachuk and Drake Batherson, the Sens head back into the tough Atlantic Division hoping to improve on a strong finish. Daccord will be missed by the fans and his teammates, but the Senators have done a great job securing talent and prospects in the net that they should have nothing to worry about.
Giovanni Siciliano is a THW freelance writer that covers the latest news and rumours surrounding the Ottawa Senators. He is a lifelong hockey fan who aims to give his readers more knowledge and better insight pertaining to the game. After completing an internship at The Hockey News, and having a few of his stories published like this one, Giovanni knew he wanted to make this a career and share his passion for hockey with others. He was the host of the FaceOff Hockey Podcast before joining the team at THW. To interact with Giovanni about the Senators, the NHL or any other sport, you can follow him on Twitter by clicking here. You can also check out more of his articles here.