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

PIT: LW Jason Zucker

Really hard to pass on Aston-Reese, among others. But we need the scoring, and Zucker's a very good two-way forward on a reasonable two-year contract. He just hasn't fit in Pittsburgh.

No. 1 LW / PP1

NYI: F Josh Bailey

It's so tempting to take Koivula and leave the big contracts alone, but we do need top-six help. Both Bailey and Eberle are older/signed too long, but the money isn't bad. Eberle might be better, but Bailey can play C, PK and costs less.

No. 1 RW/PP1

COL: F J.T. Compher

Compher and Donskoi are tempting, but Compher's younger & cheaper. Crucially he can play centre. Last year COL had a 56 xGF% and a 16-8 edge in goals when he was in the middle and he won 50% of his 5v5 draws.

No. 2 C/PP2/PK2

CAR: RW Nino Niederreiter

With only one year left at a reasonable $5.25MM cap hit, Niederreiter is a low-risk bet and an instant fit inside our top-six. That value may well trump the upside of a Bean or Geekie.

No. 2 RW/PP1

TOR: LW Jared McCann

With so many LD out there, we can pass on Dermott. That leaves McCann and Kerfoot, and McCann's better across the board. The fact he can fill in at centre and PK if needed makes this even easier.

No. 2 LW/PP2

SJS: LW Ryan Donato

It comes down to Donato or Gambrell, and frankly we need the scoring, even if this saves SJS the embarrassment of not QOing him. He's a useful player coming off a bad SH% year; that happens sometimes.

No. 3 LW

NYR: C/R Colin Blackwell

NYR's list basically forces this choice, and that's fine. Blackwell's a very good third-liner, has a tiny contract, and can play centre or wing and both special teams. No-brainer.

No. 3 C / PP2

NJD: RW Nathan Bastian

Johnsson is a good rebound candidate; if he had only one year left we'd grab him. Bastian's cheap, a good bottom-six/PK type right now and has great metrics. That there's size/potential there is gravy.

No. 3 RW

NSH: LW Yakov Trenin

Lots of good options here. Let's skip Johansen/Duchene, on the grounds we could probably get them for free. Sissons isn't that good, so that leaves cheap and super-useful Jarnkrok, or Trenin: a cheap, good DZ player now with real upside.

No. 4 LW

ARI: RW Christian Fischer

He had a bad enough year that it's tempting to take Pitlick or Lyubushkin instead, but he's a young, cheap ($1MM AAV) physical winger with history in DZ starts and recent PK success.

No. 4 RW/PK1

EDM: C Jujhar Khaira

Kahun and Benson/Lagesson are tempting, but the truth is we need a good DZ centre/top penalty killer. If he had size, that would be good, too. Khaira fits the bill across the board.

No. 4 C / PK1

LAK: C Blake Lizotte

L.A. has a bunch of attractive end-of-roster pieces (Clague, Grundstrom, etc.), but we need another centre in reserve and Lizotte is cheap, PKs, and handles DZ work effectively.

No. 13 F

CBJ: C Kevin Stenlund

Domi's the name, but he's starting the year hurt, he carries a $5.3MM cap hit, and he's UFA in the summer. I'm not sure he'll be effective, and not confident in flipping him.

Instead, we'll grab Stenlund, who is big, young and cheap.

No. 14 F

VAN: LW Jonah Gadjovich

Vancouver has a ton of poor contracts, including Holtby, but we'll need to be bribed to take those. It comes down to Lind or Gadjovich, and Gadjovich is a better fit for our roster needs.

No. 15 F


1: Zucker - Gourde - Bailey
2: McCann - Compher - Niederreiter
3: Donato - Blackwell - Bastian
4: Trenin - Khaira - Fischer
5: Gadjovich - Lizotte - Stenlund

The bottom-6 isn't really 3/4 so much as OZ (Blackwell)/DZ (Khaira).

It's a good group. We could use a No. 1 centre - Eichel, perhaps? - but at least we have depth at the position. Compher is listed in the No. 2 slot but it could be Bailey or McCann, and both Lizotte and Stenlund are natural centres.

Now the defence:

CGY: LD Mark Giordano

This is a no-brainer. Giordano is still a legitimate top-pair D, his $6.75MM cap hit is reasonable for the role and he can play all situations. We'll ease his special teams work and make him our 5v5 mainstay.

No. 1 LD/PP2/PK2

WPG: RD Dylan DeMelo

There isn't a bad choice between DeMelo and Appleton. It comes down to what you need. We've opted here for a great all-round D who should be a good partner for Giordano on our top pair.

No. 1 RD/PK2

STL: LD Vince Dunn

Tarasenko's goals are tempting, but Dunn's a cost-effective and potentially long-term fit on our left side. That this saves money and leaves the Blues with a disgruntled winger is just gravy.

No. 2 LD/PP1

PHI: RD Justin Braun

van Riemsdyk is very tempting, despite his contract. Yet we could really use a shutdown righty, and Braun is coming off a good year. He's cheap and can slot in as veteran minder on our second pair and top PK.

No. 2 RD / PK1

BOS: LD Jeremy Lauzon

Considered Ritchie and Zboril, but ultimately this came down to Lauzon v. Clifton. Clifton brings cost certainty and a RH shot, but Lauzon has greater upside. Tipping the scale: Lauzon has been a great PK1 option in BOS.

No. 3LD/PK1.

BUF: RD Colin Miller

With Girgensons missing the year and Borgen underwhelming, Miller's the obvious choice. He's a flawed but useful player who can move the puck in an offensive role and logged big minutes for Vegas, including on the PP.

No. 3 RD/PP2.

ANA: LD Haydn Fleury.

Fleury has played both LD/RD and has solid possession metrics; only just turned 25 and has $1.3MM AAV. Also good on PK.

Edges out Volkov (poor shot nos., meh AHL scoring history) and Stolarz (dirt-cheap and a sneaky good G option).

Perfect No. 7 D.

Our defence:

Giordano - DeMelo
Dunn - Braun
Lauzon - Miller

That's not bad. We're a little small - everyone but Fleury is around that 6'2/200 average - but there's a nice blend of skill, we don't cost much and there's lots of upside. One more No. 1 D would help.

Power play:

PP1: Zucker - Gourde - Bailey - Niederreiter - Dunn
PP2: McCann - Compher - Blackwell - Giordano - Miller

All of these guys actually have decent PP history, though again a top-end F/top-end D would help.

Penalty kill:

PK1: Khaira - Fischer - Lauzon - Braun
PK2: Gourde - Compher - Giordano - DeMelo

We have some very accomplished specialists on our top unit - guys with a history of great numbers. PK2 is more of a power kill; an aggressive look with top guys.

Now goalies:

FLA: G Chris Driedger

According to @FriedgeHNIC, the Kraken and Driedger are looking at a three-year contract worth $3.5MM. He's a nice bet, and well worth taking despite some other excellent pieces being exposed here.

No. 1 G

WSH: G Vitek Vanecek

The Caps offer so many good options, especially on D. This comes down to our need for a backup goalie, and Vanecek hits all the boxes: cheap, young, real upside.

No. 2 G

OTT: G Joey Daccord

If the Sens want to pay to get out of the Tierney or Dadonov contracts, we can talk about it. For now though, we need an AHL starter, and Daccord's waiver exemption & modest upside give him the nod over Forsberg.

No. 3 G

Driedger/Vanecek with Daccord in the AHL isn't bulletproof, but it's pretty good if Driedger plays anywhere near as well as he did last season.

Now, trade chips:

MIN: G Kaapo Kahkonen

You can almost justify Rask as a centre, but he's too expensive. Soucy's an attractive piece, but we like Lauzon/Fleury on LD. That leaves Kahkonen, an outstanding trade chip: he's a No. 2 now, might be a No. 1 later, and costs nothing.

Trade chip.

CHI: LD Nikita Zadorov

CHI didn't expose anything we want to keep - Carpenter's useful but 30, Gaudette has one dimension & de Haan's metrics have cratered. That leaves Zadorov, & if you tell me there's no market for a 6'6" hitter I have a bridge to sell you.

Trade chip.

DET: RD Troy Stecher

Stecher's extremely flippable: a good two-way right-shot defender at 5v5 who has just one year left at a $1.7MM cap hit. We could use him too, but we're actually okay on the right side.

Trade chip

MTL: LD Brett Kulak

Price is hurt (and costs the moon). Drouin costs a bunch and his status remains uncertain. That leaves Kulak, a reasonably priced and very effective third-pair D or Fleury. The bet here is that Kulak has better value.

Trade chip.

DAL: LW Adam Mascherin

Dallas has done a great job of blocking access to anything useful. If Ben Bishop isn't healthy, we end up with fringey waivers-eligible prospect Mascherin almost by default.

Trade chip

Now our RFAs: Dunn, Donato, Khaira. That trio can probably be signed for between $6 - $6.5MM, with all on two-year deals.

The completed roster carries a cap hit of roughly $62MM, giving us $19.5MM in space to play with. Let's do that.

We're going to focus on three kinds of expensive player:
1. ones we can use, potentially with term
2. expiring contracts we can flip with retention
3. expiring contracts we can eat for a year for draft picks, then get space back next summer

Category 1: We could plausibly make a play for Eichel or Kuznetsov; either would fit our needs. Alternately, we could get Johansen/Duchene or Subban at some kind of discount. There's also Henrique, but the risk/reward factor is just too high there.

Category 2: Lots of goalies here; Koskinen and Holtby stand out as the main ones, though we can add de Haan and Tierney to this list as well. In each case, we'd try to get paid both ways: a pick to take the player, retain money and then get a pick for the player at 50%.

Category 3: Vancouver is our friend here. Eriksson, Roussel & perhaps Beagle all fit splendidly. Otherwise it's mostly lower end pieces like Borowiecki or Turris that aren't worth bothering with.

Personally, I don't think it makes sense to go all-in on an Eichel-type in Yr. 1. I want to see the team to make sure it works first. So let's take the asset-acquisition route.

I'd probably start with Johansen as the main target. He's a really good fit for our team needs, even if he is overpaid. If we can get him at say $6MM for negligible return (e.g. Mascherin) I think that's a reasonable approach. But let's assume that fails and go to Cat. 2.

Holtby and Koskinen are our main targets here. We need to stock the system, and both VAN/EDM are low on picks. So we're looking for a 2nd/3rd round-level prospect, and then we'll take both guys at full cap hit. So we're asking for guys like McDonough or Savoie.

This turns us into a goalie brokerage house: we'd have Holtby at $2.15MM, Koskinen at $2.25MM, plus Kahkonen at six figures. We should be able to get three good draft picks for all of them, while tacking only one year at $4.4MM in our ample cap space.
If we can do that, we'll have tacked $10.4MM on the books for two useful prospects, two late-2nd/early-3rd round picks, and a 1st two years from now. That should be somewhere in the range of reasonable, and we need the picks to stock our system.

If we got Johansen, we're pretty much done at this point, aside from doing low-key favours (e.g. getting Tierney for free, flipping him at 50%, taking Turris for an incentive and burying him) for low-key returns.

But if we didn't...

Dougie Hamilton is such a good fit for this team it's scary. He'd be our top RD, we'd push DeMelo and Braun down the depth chart and then we'd flip Miller at 50% retained for futures.

If we can get him, great. If not, we're content to rent out or cap space for picks.

The rest of our business is fairly quiet. Sign Zadorov short-term, flip. Flip Kahkonen. Flip Stecher, Kulak, Clague and Mascherin. Basically we're adding mid-round picks/low-key prospects to stock our empty system.

It's a reasonably good roster, with good prospects of loading up on futures, A year from now (assuming no Hamilton or Johansen) we have $50MM in cap space to play with, despite having 4 top-six F, 2 top-four D and our starting G under contract.


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More from @JonathanWillis

19 Jul
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

Read 38 tweets

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