Last night as the Seattle Kraken unveiled their roster there was certainly a feeling of familiarity to when Vegas was on the clock four years ago. Sprinkled amongst the occasional household name were a group of players most common NHL fans had never heard of. Loud cheers were heard for Marc-Andre Fleury, James Neal, and David Perron, just as they were for Mark Giordano, Jordan Eberle, and Yianni Gourde.
Looking back at the teams moments after the Expansion Draft there are certainly some similarities, but also a number of stark differences. Look, I made a chart to show them!
|Salary Cap of Selections||$54.214m||$54.84m|
|Players Making More Than $2.5m||7||10|
|Players Signed Longer Than 2 Seasons||2||6|
|Additional Picks Acquired||8||0|
|Additional Players Acquired||7||0|
|Post Expansion Trades||5||???|
|Players Signed Before Draft||3||1|
|Players w/ 20 Goal Season in Career||4||3|
|Players Younger Than 25||6||11|
|Players Older Than 30||8||2|
|6'3" or Taller||7||10|
|5'11" or Shorter||3||4|
|210 Pounds or Heavier||11||4|
|175 Pounds or Lighter||1||1|
The biggest surprise out of last night was the lack of “side deals” made by the Kraken with other teams. The Golden Knights were compensated by the team losing a player on one in every three picks. Seattle literally did not get a single pick or prospect for laying off any player in their Expansion Draft.
However, VGK did add a ton of salary along the way, something the Kraken did not, or at least have not, to this point. Vegas added David Clarkson ($5.25m) and Mikhail Grabovski ($5m), neither of which played a game with the Golden Knights. They also added Reilly Smith ($5m) in what was a trade connected to selecting Jonathan Marchessault. Plus, Vegas had $4.5m tied up in Vadim Shipachyov who was signed to a two year deal prior to the Expansion Draft.
In other words, when George McPhee and The Creator walked off the stage at T-Mobile Arena, they had about $75m committed to contracts with four RFAs still needing contracts (which added another $7m). Thus, the Kraken still have a lot of work to do in adding salary before they reach where the Golden Knights were on Opening Night.
As far as the players selected, aside from Marc-Andre Fleury in the goal, the teams are remarkably similar. Each team selected three goalies with the Kraken picking one more forward (15) than Vegas. Both teams had just a few players who had ever scored 20 goals in a season in their career.
The biggest difference was in age. Vegas selected just six players under the age of 25 and added eight over the age of 30. Seattle went much younger picking 11 under-25 and just two over-30.
With the trade freeze lifting, it’s time for the Kraken to round out the rest of the roster, and they’ve got a lot of work to do to match the assets Vegas pulled out of the Expansion Draft. As for the teams themselves, I feel like we should definitly know better than to underestimate the Expansion team.