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Why More Stars Are Available To Seattle Than Were To Vegas

The Expansion Draft is officially underway and boy oh boy do the Seattle Kraken have some decisions to make. From Carey Price to Vladamir Tarasenko to Mark Giordano to free agents Gabriel Landeskog and Alex Ovechkin, the number of star players available to the NHL’s newest team seems almost unbelievable.

Thinking back to the Golden Knights’ Expansion Draft, it didn’t feel like the same level of talent was available to Vegas. The Golden Knights did end up with Marc-Andre Fleury, David Perron, and James Neal, but those were three of the biggest names on the board and they took them all. Here’s a quick look back on who else was available to the Golden Knights and then an explanation as to why it is so different this time around.

Dustin Brown (LAK)

Brown came with a hefty contract that he’s still playing under right now. The AAV of $5.875m would have been the second most expensive player on the roster at the time and would remain the 6th highest now. There were rumors that the Kings were actually willing to pay the Golden Knights to take Brown and the salary. In the end, VGK passed on it and just took the best exposed player, Brayden McNabb.

Sami Vatanen (ANA)

Vatanen was coming off a season in which he was a huge piece of a Ducks team that made a run to the conference final. Vatanen carried a large $4.875m AAV cap hit but at the time appeared to be well worth the price of admission. Vegas certainly used Vatanen’s exposure to acquire Shea Theodore in an Expansion Draft trade.

Eric Staal / Matt Dumba (MIN)

The Wild were in one of the toughest spots of any team at the Expansion Draft and the Golden Knights took advantage of it. Staal was coming off a 28 goal, 65 point season (that he backed up with 42g and 76p in 17-18) and Dumba was emerging as a star on the Minnesota blue line. There were two years left on Staal’s deal and one on Dumba’s but both were at affordable rates. Rather than taking one of these two, VGK somehow swindled the Wild into giving them a prospect, Alex Tuch, and allowing them to choose a useable player in Erik Haula.

Ian Cole (PIT)

We now know the deal for Fleury was in place as far back as the trade deadline the season before the Golden Knight started, but when the lists were released Ian Cole’s name jumped off the page. He had one year left at $2.1m and averaged 19 minutes a night on the Penguins run to their second-consecutive Stanley Cup. Of all defensemen available to the Golden Knights, he appeared to be the best one.

Patrick Marleau / Joe Thornton (SJS)

Both San Jose geezers were free agents who looked likely to be headed back to San Jose. The Golden Knights had the ability to negotiate with either during the Expansion Draft but ultimately went a different route. Marleau ended up in Toronto, Thornton stayed in San Jose.

Jaromir Jagr (FLA)

Another free agent, Jagr was coming off a season in which he scored 16 goals and added 46 assists for the Panthers. He had familiarity with Gerard Gallant and George McPhee and he’s about as big a name as there had been in the sport over the last two decades. The screams of “think of how many jerseys will sell” were loud over Jagr. His NHL career ended one year later and the Golden Knights sold plenty of jerseys with other names on the backs.


It’s clear the names exposed to the Kraken are much more significant than those who were available to the Golden Knights. Why? Well, there are two main reasons.

First, side deals, or in this case, the lack of side deals. The Golden Knights were vigilant in calling every team and offering a “solution” to the Expansion Draft. Rather than leave it in the expansion team’s hands, the teams could get together to come up with something that worked for both. It sounded great to many GMs at the time. Teams like Minnesota, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Anaheim, and Tampa Bay took advantage of it and they pretty much all ended up working out far better for Vegas than anyone else.

Thus, teams are obviously going to be a bit more hesitant to make such deals this time around. In addition, the word on the street is that Kraken GM Ron Francis’ asking price is incredibly high for him to lay off a team’s list. That’s why we are seeing what amounts to calculated gambles by many teams.

These gambles lead to the second reason why more high-end players are available to Seattle, and that’s the flat salary cap. When the Golden Knights came into the league the cap was $75 million. It was expected to rise every season and did, up to $81.5 million in Vegas’ 3rd year. Then there was this whole pandemic thing. Now, the cap is stuck at $81.5 million and it’s not going up any time soon (at least this year and next). So, teams this time are more willing to expose highly paid players knowing that even if they were selected by Seattle the price on replacements is down in the flat-cap era.

The question now becomes how does Seattle go about dealing with what they’ve been presented. The rules are the same and in many ways the overall availability of assets is the same as it was for Vegas back in 2017, it’s just been presented differently.

Remember, the Golden Knights came out of the Expansion Draft with two more 1st round picks, Shea Theodore, Alex Tuch, Reilly Smith, Nikita Gusev, and a bushel of later-round picks. They then turned around and flipped players like Marc Methot, Trevor van Riemsdyk, and Alexei Emelin for even more picks. And, Vegas was still left with a competitive team that outperformed even the wildest expectations.

Seattle will likely not come away with nearly as many assets when this week is out, but they’ll still have plenty of ammo available to them. Whether they opt to try and win now or play the long game, plenty of assets will be coming their way.

These expansion rules are favorable to the new team and even though the lists look better for Seattle than they did Vegas, the rules are the same, each team is just approaching it a different way.



Next Podcast #239: Fear Of Kraken


  1. THE hockey GOD

    The Kraken will begin play in the 2021-22 season, and this week they will be permitted to select one player from 30 different NHL teams, with the exception of the Vegas Golden Knights, and they will be the only team permitted to make trades or signings through the middle of the coming week

  2. B-Rad-Lee

    correction: Thornton went to Toronto and Marleau stayed in San Jose.

    • Mike StG

      B-Rad – no Ken was right. Marleau signed a 3-yr deal with Leafs, was traded 2 yrs into the contract to CAR(?) who I believe either bought out his contract or traded him back to SJ while retaining some of his cap hit. Old Joe stayed with SJ until last year when he signed with Leafs. 🙂 Easy to mix up because both guys ended up playing for the Leafs.

  3. Tim

    I’m sure pre Covid with us and post Covid with Seattle had something to do with players available. Let’s face it in 1970 The Vancouver franchise cost was 11 million, flash forward 50 years and Seattle paying 650 million so they should have a little better route to building a team as Vegas did.

    • Howard

      It’s not post covid.

      • DOC (Go Knights Go)

        Right ! It’s not POST covid ….. it’s never left. Many more will die if we don’t get over this non-vaccine bullshit!

        • Daryl

          I guess they will keep dying b/c I won’t get vaccinated. All those who got vaccinated will have to get it redone in 6 months…. And the old vaccination doesn’t even work against the new variant

          • MICHAEL REUTER


          • Daryl

            @Michael “Vaccines work”

            Not true story!!! If they work then why were 40% of new positives from fully vaccinated people in the UK? If they work, then we’re so many NHL personnel missing from the Cup Finals and playoffs? If vaccines work then why are fully vaccinated still testing positive or even worried about those who are not???

            CDC had come out and said that if contracted covid you already have antibodies in your system AND they aren’t sure as of right now the difference in antibodies from fully vaccinated people and those who already had covid.

            Better come at me with something better!!!

        • Daryl

          While this is in the UK, per Dr
          David Samati, 47% of the new COVID cases are from vaccinated people. How’s that vaccination working out?

        • Daryl

          Another thing… members of Pelosi’s staff, two who fled Texas on a bus so they couldn’t have a vote, have tested positive for COVID. Both subjects were fully vaccinated

          Karma is a bitch!!! lol

          • Tyler Durden

            And they probably won’t have symptoms or die, which is the exact reason to get vaccinated. They flew on a plane btw, and are trying to preserve everybody’s right to vote, do you have a problem with every American having the equal opportunity to vote? David Samati corrected the fact about the covid cases,

            But apparently you were one of the ones who fell for and spread the erroneous report

            But nice throwing your cards on the table for everyone to see what type of person you are, ie; unvaxed, uninformed and a selfish sob, aka 39% of Americans

          • Daryl

            @Tyler….. Did I hurt your little liberal ass??? Maybe you can come explain to my neighbor how she lost her husband to covid after being fully vaccinated. Maybe you can explain how close to 40% of the new COVID cases are from those who have fully been vaccinated? While being vaccinated might help if you get covid, it didn’t prevent death or hospitalization. There have been several who have died after being fully vaccinated. Tell me, why don’t they require vaccinations for the flu? Exactly, you can’t!!!

            And guess what, I and my wife both got covid and we are just fine afterward, no issues.

            As far as voting, I’m still waiting for someone to explain how showing proof of ID is stopping anyone from voting. If you are afellon, then no you shouldn’t have a right to vote. If you are an illegal then you absolutely have no right to vote!!! If they flew on a plane, then why did they post a pic themselves on a bus? Bus or plane, it really didn’t matter.

            So yeah I’m one of those sobs and there isn’t anything your little pansy ass can do about it

    • THE hockey GOD

      no worries Seattle will be playing on wet ice in their new global cooling, opps, they keep changing it every few years (like the weather) , global warming

      rinky dink

  4. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    Boy, Hg is really on his game.

    Giving us info, about the Kraken’s, that most of us have known for couple years now!

    But he’s on top of that old info! 😉

    • THE hockey GOD

      not everyone is up to date like you duck

      opps, i mean doc

      • DOC (Go Knights Go)

        YOU sure aren’t hockey dud … opps i mean hockey g.

  5. Vic

    Horrible name for a team, and an even worse name for an arena. The ‘No More Climate Arena’ where kids will be taught we have to eliminate ‘climate’. I thought Dollar Loan Shark Arena was bad. On the other hand, with all the players available they may do very well indeed. Hopefully they keep the thugs from burning down the No More Climate Arena. Maybe there are still some legit law enforcement folks around.

    • ulf

      I’m with you on the team name but good on Seattle for coming up with a big step towards making sustainability a factor in sports arenas. Climate Pledge Arena sounds very good to me thanks.

      • THE hockey GOD

        anyone one with a brain knows global cooling/warming/climate change is hoax science. The earth has been warming for the past 10,000 years. The sun is main driver, and to think man can “change the weather or climate” is ludicrous. 31,000 scientists signed a petition a few short years ago saying it was all BS.

        Sustainability in name of false science is a false flag.

        • Daryl

          I agree… And all those climate warmer theorists want to get rid of all the cows in the world. What the hell is wrong with those people? You aren’t getting rid of my beef!!!

          • THE hockey GOD

            people put out more emissions than cows, do they want to get rid of people too? Liberalism = mental disorder.

    • THE hockey GOD

      i agree Vic, and did you see their uniforms !! IUPCHUCK|

      why do these northwest teams have this putrid looking uniforms every team repeatedly has same look

      the people who design these things must be color blind, or smoking too much of that stoner week 24/7

  6. TheChosenOne

    The VGK have a good name… it would be great if the “Golden” was omitted from the name!
    Vegas Knights!! Now that sounds good.

    Sadly. the Knights name was already taken so we had to choose a different name.

  7. Daryl

    VGK proved you can’t buy a Cup. If Seattle follows the path of VGK they will be good for a couple years then be in Sept just like VGK. They will then degrees as they have run out of money and will have to rebuild, which is what they should have done from the start. Forget winning the Cup in the first few years and plan on doing so in the 7-10 year mark.

    • Chris

      7-10 year mark? Why wouldn’t you want your team to be competitive and given the options for the Kraken I think it’s more like the 3-5 year mark I agree with you on not putting yourself in a position where your up against the cap I wouldn’t be selecting Jeff skinner or Carey price but there’s a lot of reasonable options With a lot of upside.

    • THE hockey GOD

      did TB Bolts prove that you can’t buy a cup ?

      did all those 23 montreal hab SC’s prove you can’t buy a cup ?

      • Daryl

        Not sure the revelence? So the Habs won the Cup in the first 25 years of existence? That is impressive!!!

        • THE hockey GOD

          montreal had a dynasty, everyone growing up in Canada (Quebec) wanted to play for them. The French Canadians are the BEST hockey players in the Canada, no the WORLD, no the SOLAR SYSTEM, no .
          Wait a minute, I lost it there for a minute.

          I will support management until they no longer deserve it. I did not like GG lack of flexibility and disdain for eastern European players.

          I am disappointed so far in this expansion draft dealing that they did not take advantage of many good players available. Let’s see if that changes.

      • Daryl

        Look, we all know you are a huge fan of the GM, and the coach. You can keep defending them and their spending. It makes them a good team but not a great team, not a Cup team

  8. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    YOU sure aren’t hockey dud … opps i mean hockey g.

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