Capped: Looking at Seattle expansion: West
First off, I hope everyone is staying safe and staying indoors as much as possible!
Last week here, we combed over the Eastern conference teams for some possible picks in the Seattle expansion. This week, we're doing the same thing for the West (minus Vegas).
A few notes before I begin:
-I am making some assumptions for the selections, knowing there will be player movement in the 15 months remaining until the selection draft. If you have questions, I would be happy to answer – you can find me on Twitter @alexdmaclean.
-I am using the Capfriendly expansion tool to keep my thoughts organized.
-I will try to keep my biases out of this, and will be aiming to uncover what selections may have repercussions that could affect the fantasy landscape.
Possible Seattle selection: Danton Heinen (LW)
Anaheim's trade with Boston that brought in Heinen makes him the eighth most valuable forward in need of being protected – as I think the Ducks are high on Isaac Lundestrom. On defence, the Ducks have Jacob Larsson available as well, but Heinen brings a talent set harder to acquire in the expansion draft, and Larsson will likely get a sizeable extension this summer.
Possible Seattle selection: Antti Raanta (G)
The exposed skaters from Arizona will likely be overpaid veterans on the wrong side of 30, such as Derek Stepan, and Niklas Hjalmarsson. Assuming Raanta is still with the team by then, he seems to be the same choice for Seattle, and would provide an excellent 1B option in net. He is expendable in the desert as Kuemper has proven himself to be a number one.
Possible Seattle selection: Juuso Valimaki (D)
There are a lot of expansion draft questions to be answered by the Flames. Will Milan Lucic waive his NMC (if asked)? Will Calgary find a way to protect their deep defence core? Will Seattle take a liking to one of their many goalie prospects? I'm banking on them not being able to deter Seattle from grabbing the upside of Valimaki, who is the odd man out on the back end.
Possible Seattle selection: A defenceman? (Slater Koekkoek)
Chicago is a team very much in flux. They could possibly only protect their top four forwards, leaving Brendan Saad and Alex Nylander as their best forward available. In net it appears to be Corey Crawford in the short term, while on defence the NMCs to Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook ensure their protection. That leaves two defencemen to be protected, and aside from the third likely being Connor Murphy, the fourth is completely up in the air. Any Chicago fans care to weigh in down in the comments?
Due to Erik Johnson's NMC, and the presence of Ryan Graves, Cale Makar, and Samuel Girard also on defence, the Avalanche may have to protect four forwards and four defencemen. This would leave a number of skilled forwards available. Andre Burakovsky is the way I would lean, depending on contract details at the time of the draft. This could be the full-time, top-line chance his owners have been impatiently waiting on.
Possible Seattle selection: Stephen Johns
Due to a desire by the Stars to protect Joe Pavelski, Roope Hintz, and other forwards, Stephen Johns is left exposed. His remarkable comeback after nearly 22 months on the sidelines with post-traumatic headaches was made even more impressive by the fact he thrived on the ice. Johns would immediately become a top-four defenceman for the Seattle team, and is one of the most underrated players right now in multi-category leagues.
Possible Seattle selection: Caleb Jones
Assuming the Jesse Puljujarvi situation is resolved with him ending up on another team, or in the KHL, the best player available from the Oilers could be Caleb Jones. Jones hasn't yet been trusted with heavy minutes, but he has shown flashes of potential, and held his own defensively for the Oilers this year.
Los Angeles Kings
Possible Seattle selection: Carl Grundstrom
One of the pieces the Kings received in the Jake Muzzin deal was Grundstrom. The power winger would fit very well as a complimentary piece on the Seattle depth chart. Whether he gets selected or not, Grundstrom is a name to keep an eye on in your fantasy leagues, especially those counting hits.
Possible Seattle selection: Jordan Greenway
Unless Matt Dumba is traded (expansion considerations could be a part of the reason for him being shopped) then a young forward is going to be left exposed for Seattle. The 6'6" winger would be a great project selection for Seattle, as he is slowly coming into his own as an NHL winger.
Possible Seattle selection: Colton Sissons
Nashville is once again likely to protect four defencemen, meaning a solid forward will be exposed. Assuming Mikael Granlund and Craig Smith are not resigned, Colton Sissons' contract length could be seen as a real asset to Seattle. Sissons has proven himself up and down the lineup with Nashville, even thriving in a top-line centre role in the 2017 NHL playoffs.
San Jose Sharks
Possible Seattle selection: Radim Simek
San Jose doesn't have the kind of depth that lends itself to leaving a great player available for Seattle. A depth skater is likely the best they will be able to do, and since we have selected a lot of forwards thus far, we're going with the defenceman here. Not much else to this one.
St. Louis Blues
Possible Seattle selection: Oskar Sundqvist
The defending Stanley Cup Champions are set to lose a good player to Seattle, and that's exactly how it should be. Oskar Sundqvist checks a lot of boxes, with some skill, a heavy game, some term on a cheaper contract, youth, etc. He would create some excellent internal competition with the Seattle team.
Possible Seattle selection: Jake Virtanen
As the closest geographic rival for Seattle, I'm sure the brass would love to steal a player form Vancouver who would ignite a bit of a fire in both sides. Virtanen might be one of the forwards left unprotected and could fit that bill. The 23-year-old forward put up his best season to date despite reduced ice time at five-on-five, as well as on the powerplay.
Possible Seattle selection: Tucker Poolman
With Winnipeg not likely to be protecting Dustin Byfuglien, their selection becomes much simpler. However, Poolman would still be a catch for the Seattle team, and will help round out the defensive depth. Poolman showed some reliability this year, albeit without wowing fantasy owners. The upside isn't very high on him.
The final roster would look something like this:
JVR – Trochek – Ryan
Connolly – Kerfoot – Burakovsky
Heinen – Sissons – Virtanen
Sundqvist – Glendening – Armia
Cernak – Miller
Johns – Savard
Valimaki – Jensen
Spares: Schneider, Keokkeok, Jones, Poolman, Simek, Grundstrom, Bjork, Bellows, Gauthier.
On paper this seems to look better than Vegas did on paper after their draft. I'll save the in-depth comments for next week though.
While we wait for hockey to return, stay safe everyone, and let me know what you think about the pick options!
If you have questions, comments, or article requests, you can find me on Twitter @alexdmaclean.
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