Kraken Need to Select Sharks’ Gambrell in Expansion Draft

The debut of the NHL’s 32nd franchise, the Seattle Kraken, is approaching quickly, and once again the San Jose Sharks will have to give one of their players away in yet another expansion draft.

They got away lucky last time with the last team, the Vegas Golden Knights, with them selecting David Schlemko, who was then traded the next day to the Montreal Canadiens for a 5th round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.

David Schlemko (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

This time around, the player that should be taken will most likely stay with the team unless something unexpected happens like the situation with David Schlemko a few years ago. The player in question is forward Dylan Gambrell.

This article will be a set of arguments why it should be him over other players that could be exposed when it comes time for teams like the Sharks to select which players to protect in the 2021 season when the Seattle Kraken will be drafting their brand new team.

Gambrell’s Background

Gambrell was initially selected by the Sharks in the 2016 NHL Draft’s second round, number 60 overall. His career started with Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL, where he totaled 108 points in his 3 seasons with the team. He then played with the University of Denver where he was drafted from, scoring 132 points in this entire collegiate career.

Denver Pioneers’ locker room at the United Center before their game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Apr. 6, 2017 (Shannon Valerio/Denver University Athletics).

His pro career then started in the AHL, with the San Jose Barracuda, scoring 45 points in 51 games of the 2018-19 campaign. Then in 2019-20, he split time between the Barracuda and the Sharks. In 50 games with the Sharks, he totaled 11 points, while in 15 games with the ‘Cuda, he racked up 12 points.

He’s From Washington

Yep, Dylan Gambrell is a local kid. Gambrell was born in Bonney Lake, Washington, which I found is actually 40 minutes away from Seattle using Google Maps. It would actually be sort-of deja vu to the last expansion draft, when Deryk Engelland, who according to a Calgary Herald article from June of 2017, was living in “his off-season home in the suburbs of Summerlin” (from ‘Golden Knights select Deryk Engelland in NHL Expansion Draft’, Calgary Herald, 6/22/17).

He’s a Young Forward

When I think of a young roster, I always go back to this past season’s New York Rangers. They may not be the prime examples of the ideal roster, considering their performance in the play-in round earned them the first overall pick, but that’s not the point. The New York Ranger’s stats and info team made a tweet at the beginning of last year with their average age.

In that respect, Dylan Gambrell is only 24 years old, which falls just below that 25.8 average. So, if Seattle decides to go the younger route with veteran leadership like that previously mentioned Rangers team with their picks in the expansion draft, Gambrell would most likely fit the bill of that key demographic.

He can Fit in a Middle-Six Role

In Gambrell’s career with the Sharks, he’s mostly been slotted in the bottom six of the team and has had good production there as we saw from his background. If Seattle puts good players around him on the same line, he can thrive.

Dylan Gambrell San Jose Sharks
Dylan Gambrell, San Jose Sharks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

This is not to say that Gambrell has a good team around him now. However, as you saw from his numbers, they’re good, but not great. This is beneficial because the only way is up from here so a change of scenery might do some good.

Gives Other Sharks Prospects A Chance

Looking at it from the Shark’s perspective of things, it gives them the chance to put new players in his role. One player, in particular, I’m thinking of is a current Sharks prospect playing for the University of Minnesota, Scott Reedy.

Scott Reedy (courtesy United States Hockey League)

Reedy is in his senior season with the Golden Gophers after getting selected in the 2017 NHL Draft, and most likely he’ll make the step up to the pros in the 2021-22 season. That said, he still needs to have a good camp in order to make the roster, otherwise, he’ll start in the AHL.

This is my argument for Dylan Gambrell to be selected by the Kraken in 2021. Things could definitely change when it comes time to protect players, but for now, I think Gambrell is the best fit for a new Kraken team.

Sign up for our regular 'Sharks Newsletter' for all the latest.