THW’s Ultimate Mock Expansion Draft: Flames Make a Side Deal and Lose Kylington

If you haven’t seen yet, a bunch of us here at THW participated in a mock expansion draft over the past few weeks, acting as general managers of each team and making our protection lists. I was tasked with doing my best Brad Treliving impression and creating the list for the Flames to be submitted to the Seattle Kraken. In our mock draft, I went with the 7-3-1 structure as opposed to the 4-4-1 format, as it would leave too many key forwards exposed.

The goal behind this mock expansion draft was to be as realistic as possible when it came to making moves. Mark Giordano was the major player left exposed after my list was completed and I spent several days fighting in my own head of whether or not to protect the team’s captain. There were scenarios where it felt right to make a side deal, but also there were thoughts to just leave him and see how the draft plays out. My final protection list looked like this:

Forwards: Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund, Andrew Mangiapane, Dillon Dube

Defence: Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Andersson, Chris Tanev

Goaltender: Jacob Markstrom

Pre-Draft Transactions

I had thought that Oliver Kylington would be of interest to Seattle and while he is young, it seemed this year that he had fallen out of favour amongst the defence corps. Kylington played just eight games this season and contributed just one assist. His spot on the third pair had been won over by Jusso Valimaki even amongst his own criticism from head coach Darryl Sutter at times. I reached out to our pool of GMs to see if there was any interest in the Kylington.

Oliver Kylington Calgary Flames
Oliver Kylington, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

My next plan of action was to reach out to Seattle GM Ron Francis (Tony Wolak) to see what the price of protecting Giordano would cost me. After some back and forth, we had something in place, which is where the back and forth with myself began. I thought as realistically as I could and what scenarios play out. He’s the captain of this franchise set to play in his 1,000th game in a Flames sweater, something only accomplished by Jarome Iginla. He still has value as an NHL player and could still play 20 minutes a night next season. With all those factors in mind, I decided to pull the trigger.

  • The Seattle Kraken agree not to take Mark Giordano in exchange for Emilio Pettersen and a 2022 second-round pick

Paying to Protect Giordano

In writing this, I am expecting to take heat over this move but from what I believe in reading the tea leaves from the end of the season my gut says that the Flames will protect their captain in a side deal. Treliving already takes a ton of heat from fans all over the internet so I may as well too. It was a tough pill to swallow when I read the price that GM Ron Francis sent me. A pick and a prospect are quite high to protect an aging vet possibly in his last season. So why did I do it?

Mark Giordano Calgary Flames
Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

First, Giordano guarantees you an NHL calibre player for next season while Petterson and a second-round pick do not. Could both of those assets turn into quality players for Seattle? Absolutely, but the chances are currently still low. Second, it is my belief that Calgary’s front office views itself as a more competitive team with Giordano on it. The prospect cupboard gets weaker which is not great for the organization, but with the signings made in the 2020 offseason, this may be the team’s last shot at a playoff run with the group they have.

Kraken Select Oliver Kylington

Having made the deal to protect Giordano, Seattle picked Kylington to add to their defence corps. In the end, he ends up in the same position as he is in Calgary as he was slotted as the seventh defenceman with the Kraken. Some may have thought that Seattle would be the place for him to finally get some regular playing time as that just hasn’t happened in Calgary yet. Being a restricted free agent, he may either take a chance in Seattle by signing or request a trade to a team where he can get regular minutes.

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At just 24 years old he still has room to grow as an NHLer if he can get into a lineup on a regular basis. If Giordano is in fact protected or not selected, Kylington could very well find himself to be the odd man out again in Calgary come next season. Seattle could be a good change of scenery for the young Swede.

Final Thoughts

Many have predicted Giordano to be the pick from Calgary, but what if Seattle doesn’t want him at all? He’s 38 with a cap hit north of $6 million and that may not fit into the Kraken’s philosophy or plans for the franchise. This makes me wonder if Calgary’s front office would even need to trade any assets to protect him. Derek Ryan is also still an option for Seattle if he agrees to sign before the expansion draft.

Mark Giordano, Sean Monahan
Calgary Flames’ Mark Giordano and Sean Monahan look on during practice (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)

The last 48 hours have shaken up the landscape of the NHL’s offseason and could make THW’s mock draft look not even close to what actually happens. If the Flames lose Giordano, there may be some intriguing options on the market that could easily fit under that $6 million in cap savings. The next four days could prove to be somewhat chaotic as teams prepare their protection lists for the July 17 deadline.

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