Top 10 Players Available for the Kraken

Tom Collins

2021-07-19

The big news of the weekend deals with the Seattle Kraken and the list of players who were left available for potential selection in the expansion draft.

There seem to be much bigger names available this time compared to the list for the Golden Knights. It's almost like NHL teams want cap relief and are daring Seattle to take some of their better players because of it.

This expansion will be significant for fantasy hockey leagues. In Vegas' first season, we saw five forwards reach at least 55 points (including at least 75 points for William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault), a new 40-goal scorer in Karlsson, Marc-Andre Fleury win 29 games after he was declared “washed up” and Colin Miller become a 40-point defenseman.

Even if the Kraken struggle, there will be a few surprises as there is a new top power-play unit, six new top-six forwards, a new number one netminder and four more defensemen to grab top-four minutes.

Below are the top 10 players available for Seattle and who might see a boost in fantasy value if the Kraken select them in the draft this week. Note, I'm not going to worry about potential side deals, and I am staying away from UFAs (although how much fun would it be if Seattle drafts and signs Alex Ovechkin?).

10. Jason Zucker

Zucker has been a slight bust in Pittsburgh, but it's unclear how much of that is due to injuries. He had an 82-game pace of 39 points this season, his lowest since 2015-16. This year, he missed a bunch of games due to a lower-body injury. His most frequent linemate at 5-on-5 was Evgeni Malkin, who also missed a bunch of time. His next two most frequent linemates were Jared McCann, who missed 13 games, and Kasperi Kapanen, who missed 16 contests. Zucker had an average 82-game pace of 53 points from 2016-17 to 2019-20, so there is a chance this year was more of a fluke and he will rebound next season.

9. Max Domi

He was a healthy scratch at times, but there's no doubting how much upside there is with Domi. This year was a setback with an 82-game pace of 36 points, but he's had at least a 50-point pace in four of his first five seasons, including 72 points in 2018-19 with Montreal. It wouldn't take long for him to become a fan favourite in Seattle. If he can get back to a top-six role with top-unit power-play time, he can get back to a 50-point pace.

8. Jake Bean

This one will be a bit of a wait, but the long-term ramifications will pay off. Just like a few years back, when Vegas nabbed Shea Theodore, many were expecting Theodore to automatically become the team’s main defenseman. The same will happen with Bean, but it may take a few years for him to get the opportunity to quarterback the power play. In the meantime, the Kraken would probably go with veteran players. The 23-year-old Be