The NHL has released the expansion lists for Wednesday’s Seattle Kraken expansion draft.
Here is the Penguins’ portion:
Here is the Penguins' protected list:— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) July 18, 2021
Teddy Blueger (F)
Jeff Carter (F)
Sidney Crosby (F)
Jake Guentzel (F)
Kasperi Kapanen (F)
Evgeni Malkin (F)
Bryan Rust (F)
Brian Dumoulin (D)
Kris Letang (D)
Mike Matheson (D)
Tristan Jarry (G) https://t.co/tvXmsYpTrl
Most notably, Brandon Tanev, Jason Zucker and Zach Aston-Reese are available for selection. Of the main choices or questions, it looks like Pittsburgh has opted to favor centers in Blueger and Carter over wingers.
The Pens solved some of their expansion issue by trading Jared McCann to Toronto yesterday.
On defense, Seattle has the option to choose the four year contract of Marcus Pettersson.
One other item that stands out is the Pens chose to protect players with lower salary cap hits in Blueger and Carter (who count $2.2 million and $2.6 million, respectively to the salary cap), and they exposed players like Tanev, Pettersson and Zucker who are the the $3.5 million - $5.5m cap hit range.
Seattle could always take a cheaper option like Aston-Reese, but there is a reasonable chance Pittsburgh will clear out a player with a fairly significant salary.
In net, there was some chatter that the Pens might leave Tristan Jarry available to be selected and protect Casey DeSmith, but in the end the team elected to do the opposite. That’s at least a quiet first step for the off-season, it would have been quite telling as to Jarry’s future status if Pittsburgh didn’t even opt to protect him in expansion as to what their plans in net were.
But the real attention should for the Pens and expansion should always be the forward group. Will Pittsburgh lose a top-six winger in Zucker who hasn’t totally meshed with them? Or will it be the expensive but energetic Tanev? Or the defensive-minded Aston-Reese? Or a real wildcard surprise like Pettersson or even DeSmith? We’ll find out on Wednesday night.