With the Seattle Kraken expansion draft set to take place in just five days, SBNation conducted a fan poll to see who they think will be selected by the Kraken from their respective teams.
From the Pittsburgh Penguins, the player chosen by the fans to be one of the original members of the Kraken was Teddy Blueger. Now that may seem odd given the recent news of his extension with the Penguins, but signing that new deal in no way guarantees the Penguin protect him from the expansion draft to prevent him from being chosen.
In fact, getting Blueger under contract could make him a more attractive pick for Seattle should the Penguins leave him unprotected. His underlying numbers already make him attractive as a possible selection, but add in his new contract that comes with a friendly salary cap number could make him even more likely to be selected if he is exposed.
What’s perhaps worth even more regarding Blueger and his new contract extension is the fact that general manager Ron Hextall went through this same scenario when in charge of the Philadelphia Flyers in 2017 when Vegas was entering the league.
Just prior to the expansion draft, Hextall extended Pierre-Edouard Bellemare then left him unprotected for the expansion draft. Lo and behold, the Golden Knights selected the unexposed and recently signed Bellemare a few days later.
Just something to keep in mind over the next few days as the expansion process plays out across the league.
While Blueger won the fan poll for will be selected by the Kraken, he was far from the only option served up. Fellow forwards Jared McCann, Jason Zucker, and Zach Aston-Reese were all popular selections with Mike Matheson, Cody Ceci, and Marcus Pettersson all getting votes as defenseman.
Oddly enough, while Blueger and Aston-Reese both got votes, their fourth line partner Brandon Tanev was not selected as a possible option by any of the poll participants.
Whether or not Blueger is the one to be selected by the Kraken or if he’s even exposed at all will be determined in the coming days. Expansion lists are due to the NHL by Sunday and the Kraken will make their selections on Wednesday.
Along with Penguins fans, other fans of teams from across the league participated in the SBNation poll to vote on who they believe Seattle should select from their favorite team. Some of the names won’t come as a surprise while others may have you scratching your head a bit.
Here is the list of players who should be joining Teddy Blueger in Seattle according to fans from teams around the league.
How closely will the Kraken’s roster look to the one above? Likely not that close since a quick look at the salary cap impact of the roster listed above is just slightly over the maximum threshold set by the NHL.
Calling it slightly over the salary cap may have been a bit sarcastic given that the roster comes in nearly a whopping $12 million over the limit. This is likely a result of wishful thinking by some fanbases who are hoping the Kraken can rescue them from a bad contract for some cap relief.
As for Blueger, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he is the Penguins player selected by the Kraken next week. Even with the shiny new contract under his belt, the Penguins could still leave him exposed to selection and the Kraken could be enticed by that new contract and add him to their team.
On the other hand, the new contract for Blueger could be an early indication that the Penguins do plan to protect the center and leave a bevy of others exposed for Seattle to choose from. Many of those other options were names fans included when they voted in the poll.
The only certainty when it comes to expansion next week is whoever the Kraken do select from the Penguins they will leave a whole in the lineup that Hextall and Co. will need to fill in the coming week. Whether it be Blueger, Aston-Reese, Matheson, or someone completely off the radar, there will work to do for the front office once the offseason really gets rolling.