Expansion draft mega-thread!

(In all seriousness, if you don't want to geek out on Kraken team-building, mute this thread.)

First, our objectives:
- obviously, win as many games as possible over the next five seasons
- secondly, find players to flip for futures; we don't have a farm system yet and we're taking 30 NHL-ready pieces but only have room for 23 of them.

We'll go through this team-by-team, but we'll start by trying to find our key Year 1 building blocks:
- Two centres
- Three scoring wingers
- Two anchor defencemen
- No. 1 G

Pick 1: C Ryan Johansen, NSH.

He's overpaid, yes. He's also a 29-yo. 6'3" right-shot centre with a long track record of good possession and history on the PK. These pieces are hard to find; spend the money, even if it means passing on cheap & useful Calle Jarnkrok.

Pick 2: C Yanni Gourde, TBL

Tampa is absurdly loaded with good players. Gourde was their 3rd most-used F in the playoffs. He's a two-way demon signed at reasonable money for ages. The only argument against this is how good other Bolts are, but we need the centres.

Pick 3: LW Jason Zucker, PIT.

Pittsburgh has lots of options, and there's a case to pass on Zucker's money, but he's a quality two-way forward with real scoring chops. He's a great fit for either Johansen or Gourde in the top-six.

Pick 4: W Josh Bailey, NYI.

We're placing a priority on two-way talent and Bailey's a good 5v5 possession player, a PK'er and a PP option. His $5MM AAV contract isn't unreasonable and NYI's list is weak anyway.

Pick 5: LW James van Riemsdyk, PHI.

We've focused on two-way types, but we need a power play shooter and pure goal-scorer. Philly's list has some other secondary pieces, but it's worth spending some money here. It was either this or Tarasenko (more on that shortly.)

Pick 6: LD Mark Giordano, CGY

Giordano's still a 5v5 possession machine, still a quality PKer, still good on the PP. He can provide leadership, big minutes and possibly be flipped for futures at the deadline. Gravy: this hurts a division rival.

Pick 7: LD Vince Dunn, STL

Tarasenko's tempting, but grabbing a key young D and sticking a spoke in a division rival's tires is too good to pass up. He's young, probably gets $3MM or so on his next deal, and is a long-term top-four piece.

Pick 8: G Chris Driedger, FLA

Assuming reports on Carey Price's knee & hip are accurate, he's a non-starter. Normally we'd skip a pending UFA, but reports suggest that Driedger is game to sign in Seattle, so let's assume that's true. He's probably the best G option left.

We've got a skeleton of a team forming, with two forward pairs, a scorer for a sheltered 3rd line, two defensive mainstays and a starter in net:

We've already spent $40MM. Now it's time to fill out the top-9 F/ top-4 D and net, mostly with cheaper pieces.

Pick 9: W J.T. Compher, COL

It's a coin toss between Compher and Donskoi. Compher's younger, slightly cheaper, kills penalties and can fill in at centre as needed. He fits our focus on two-way players.

Pick 10: RW Mason Appleton, WPG

For $900K we get a player who is big, mean, kills penalties, wins possession at 5v5 in tough minutes and scored at a 37-point pace last year. It's still hard to pass on Dylan DeMelo, especially since WPG is already hurting for D.

Pick 11: RD Troy Stecher, DET

Weirdly, DET has not 1 but 2 useful pieces, with Stecher and F Vlad Namestnikov. Stecher's a harder piece to find, a defensively responsible RD who can handle tough minutes - and cheaply.

Pick 12: C/R Colin Blackwell, NYR

The Rangers didn't leave much exposed... except for a $725K centre/wing who can play both special teams and scored at a 38-point pace last year. He fits our two-way philosophy and is a great cap fit.

Pick 13: LW Jared McCann, TOR

Kerfoot, Dermott and McCann are the obvious choices. LD are plentiful, so nix Dermott. McCann's younger, bigger, cheaper and both scores and hits more than Kerfoot.

Pick 14: G Vitek Vanecek, WSH

Washington has so many good options. Vanecek's 25, has a six-figure contract, and works great as either a cheap No. 1B or a trade chip. It is hard to pass on the good defencemen the Capitals have exposed.

Pick 15: RD Connor Clifton, BOS

The Bruins have some decidedly useful parts, though the final choice probably comes down to one of their cheap D: Clifton, Lauzon and Zboril. Righties are harder to find and he's physical, if undersized.

Pick 16: C/R Morgan Geekie, CAR

Look, I know I'm supposed to take Bean. Or Niederreiter. But I don't need an LD, and there are plenty of $5MM wingers. Geekie, a cheap 22-yo 6'2" right-shot C fills a team need, both short-term and long-term.

Pick 17: LD Carson Soucy, MIN

Boy it's hard to pass on Kaapo Kahkonen. Soucy is such a perfect fit for team need, though: a D-first defenceman with size and PK experience. He's not too pricey and he's signed for two years.

Pick 18: RD Colin Miller, BUF

There aren't enough RD on the board. Miller has decent size, averaged almost 20:00 per game for VGK successfully, and Buffalo doesn't have much else. He's worth a flyer, even at $3.88 MM.

At this point, we have three full lines and a 4th line C, along with six defencemen and two goalies.

The rest of the way, we're rounding out the roster courtesy of a bunch of teams that didn't expose very much at all.

We've spent just $59MM to mostly fill the roster.

Pick 19: LD Haydn Fleury, ANA

Fleury's the perfect piece to round out our defence corps. He can play either side, adds needed size/PK ability, and the Ducks aren't exposing much anyway.

Pick 20: W Christian Fischer, ARI

Arizona has some decent depth options, but Fischer stands out. He's young, cheap, big, physical, kills penalties and has some scoring ability. A perfect fourth-line wing.

Pick 21: LD Nikita Zadorov, CHI

This is a trade play. If de Haan fetches more, grab him instead. We have the cap room not to be scared of Zadorov's arb hearing, and big D always have value - and especially so this year. If we wanted a player, it would be Gaudette.

Pick 22: C/R Kevin Stenlund, CBJ

Columbus has exposed nothing of real value save Max Domi - and it's going to be hard to flip him for assets when he starts the year hurt. Stenlund's the best of a weak lot.

Pick 23: LW Adam Mascherin, DAL

The Stars too have basically nothing exposed. If they want to pay us to take on Comeau's deal, great; otherwise a second-tier prospect is the best we can do.

Pick 24: LW Tyler Benson, EDM

This would be a good place to extract extras in exchange for taking on salary - say a 50% retained Koskinen. Failing that, Benson or Lagesson is the best combination of upside/low cap hit.

Pick 25: LD Kale Clague, LAK

The Kings have a bunch of handy fourth-line/spare defencemen types kicking around. There are a half-dozen roughly comparable players, so it probably makes sense to go with the most valuable trade option, whoever that might be.

Pick 26: LD Brett Kulak, MTL

Again, this is a trade play. With Price's injury status uncertain and with Drouin's status period uncertain, it comes down to Kulak or Cale Fleury. I'd imagine someone would offer a mid-round pick for Kulak.

Pick 27: RW Nathan Bastian, NJD

Andreas Johnsson has some actual upside, but costs too much coming off a terrible year. P.K. Subban would be a useful player but also costs way too much. With that in mind, it makes sense to grab a big end-of-roster type with some upside.

Pick 28: G Anton Forsberg, OTT

The Sens’ list abounds with overpriced vets and not-very-good prospects. The play here is to get them to pay for us to take on a bad contract, like Tierney or Dadonov. Failing that, there’s no harm in getting a No. 3 goalie for next season.

Pick 29: C Dylan Gambrell, SJS

Gambrell could play a depth role, or LD Radim Simek could be a trade chip. Given how difficult it’s going to be to move money, let’s go with the cheap right-shooting centre, and leave our division rival with another lower-case cap headache.

Pick 30: LW Jonah Gadjovich, VAN

The Canucks have almost nothing useful exposed. They also have probably 5 bad contracts they’d like pay to move. Failing that, we’re taking a depth piece/fringe prospect.

Projected roster:
- Zucker / Gourde / Bailey
- McCann / Johansen / Compher
- Van Riemsdyk / Blackwell / Appleton
- Fischer / Gambrell / Geekie
(Benson, Bastian)

- Giordano / Miller
- Dunn / Stecher
- Soucy / Clifton

Driedger / Vanecek

Trade chips: Zadorov, Stenlund, Mascherin, Clague, Kulak, Gadjovich

Total cap hit: Roughly $68MM after signing Driedger, Dunn and Benson leaving $13.5MM to take on bad contracts in exchange for sweeteners and/or go after free agents.

It's a decent group. The top-six can play against anyone, the third line is well-suited to scoring against bottom-six opponents and the fourth line can eat defensive zone starts.

The defence is a little shaky and on the small side. The goaltending duo is reasonable.


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More from @JonathanWillis

20 Jul
One last Seattle Kraken mega-thread!

I wanted to incorporate some changes/feedback and place a greater emphasis on cap space.

Please mute if you're not interested; it's going to be long.

Overall goals:
- competitiveness, obviously
- acquisition of trade chips
- a cap hit of around ~$60MM for maximum leverage

Let's start with the forwards.

TBL: C Yanni Gourde

We'd love to take a half-dozen of these guys. Gourde was TBL's 3rd most-used F in the playoffs; he's a fantastic two-way talent who has good totals at EV, PP and PK. He's instantly the most important forward on our team.

No. 1 C / PP1 / PK2

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