This “mock draft” was supposed to get easier once the NHL teams revealed their players protected from the Kraken in Wednesday’s expansion draft.
Until the Montreal Canadiens denounce goaltender Carey Price. How often can a new franchise add a goalie who just led their team to the Stanley Cup Final with a playoff-dominant performance reminiscent of the peak years?
Add Price playing junior for the Americans from Tri-City and his wife, Angela, being from Kennewick. He’s an instantly recognizable franchise face to the team’s 13,500 season ticket holders and even to the casual fans who will rally behind for his remaining five years of contract.
But Price will be 34 next season, and it’s uncertain whether he’ll be able to repeat his playoff performance. His contract is for an annual salary cap of $ 10.5 million, with Price retaining a lock-in clause and representing about 13% of a payroll limited to $ 81.5 million.
Still, Price came close to winning a Cup supporting a Canadiens team that no one saw coming. If you are spending a lot, a goalie is the place to go. And the Kraken is being built from the ground up, making it easy to achieve this massive deal. So it’s not the money that should make you think as much as Price’s ability to repeat his elite performance.
Already we are hearing rumors that he may need knee surgery.
In an interview in March, then goaltending coach Stéphane Waite told TSN Radio that the Canadiens felt Price’s accumulated injuries meant he couldn’t play every night anymore.
Substitute Jake Allen has been signed to ease Price’s workload. But Price’s numbers have always gone down.
Yes, there will inevitably be comparisons to Marc-André Fleury, the Vegas Golden Knights’ goaltender chosen from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the previous expansion draft four years ago.
But they are not the same.
Fleury has barely been injured throughout his career, and Price continues to rack up nagging injuries from throwing his 220-pound muscular body like someone 40 pounds lighter. This made it impossible for Price to play more than 60 games per season.
Waite felt Price was always the best at playing game after game, where his reflexes took precedence. Notably, his best recent performances have been in the playoffs at the start of every game.
So, hoping that Price’s last playoff streak would be repeatable on an 82-game schedule, the Kraken would rely on their reflexes to stay sharp despite playing him much more sporadically.
I guess the Kraken is passing. Instead, he should make a play for Montreal free agent center Phillip Danault.
So here is my fictitious draft 2.0. The Kraken must take at least 14 forwards, nine defenders and three goalkeepers, plus four remaining players at any position. At least 20 must be under contract next season with a cap of $ 48.9 million.
Anaheim ducks: Hayden Fleury. Left-handed defenseman and former No. 1 draft pick Francis is only 25 years old and affordable. Salary limit reached: $ 1.3 million.
Arizona Coyotes: Tyler Pitlick. Scratch Adin Hill, my previous pick, which was traded to San Jose. Right wing Pitlick, 29, has decent forward depth. Cap reached: $ 1.75 million.
Boston Bruins: Jérémy Lauzon. Lauzon, 24, can play the blue line on the left and right sides. Cap reached: $ 850,000.
Buffalo sabers: Will Borgen. As Rasmus Asplund has protected himself, we will choose 24-year-old right-handed defender Will Borgen on a low budget. Definitely: free agent.
Calgary Flames: Marc Giordano. Giordano, 37, brings great leadership and can still play D. Cap reaches: $ 6.75 million.
Carolina Hurricanes: Jake Bean. Going a lot of money elsewhere, so going from unrestricted free agent defenseman Dougie Hamilton to restricted defenseman in Bean Inexpensive, 23. Slap: Free agent.
Chicago Blackhawks: Calvin de Haan. At 30, presence of a veteran on the left side of the blue line. Cap reached: $ 4.55 million.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Max Domy. We left with Dean Kukan until the left wing Domi was available. At his best, Domi, 26, is the disruptive striker the Kraken want. Cap reached: $ 5.3 million.
Colorado Avalanche: Gabriel Landeskog. Tyson Jost has been protected, and there’s a more valuable forward on display in free agent captain Landeskog, 28. This is where the Kraken should use money and space to land their franchise player. Hats off: Free agent.
Dallas Stars: Adam Mascherin. Forget our original plan, because Jason Dickinson was traded to Vancouver. Go cheap with the left wing Mascherin from a slim list of choices. Hats off: Free agent.
Detroit Red Wings: Troy Stetcher. The right-handed defender, 27, can help the Kraken balance the blue line. Cap reached: $ 1.7 million.
Edmonton Oilers: Tyler Benson. It’s a low risk bet for a young left winger who can have the edge at just 23. Hats off: Free agent.
Florida Panthers: Chris Driedger. The Panthers have protected our previous pick Anthony Duclair and there is a report the Kraken will sign free goaltender Driedger, 27. A possible n ° 1. Hats off: Free agent.
Kings of Los Angeles: Brendan Lemieux. Picked forward Lemieux, 25, in the previous draft and is not changing now for the level of energy he brings. Cap reached: $ 1.55 million.
Minnesota Wild: Kaapo Kahkonen. Surprise, surprise, the Wild have protected veteran goaltender Cam Talbot, so we take exposed young Kahkonen, 24, in the net at a greatly reduced cap… uh, riding Kaap. Cap reached: $ 725,000.
Montreal Canadiens: Philippe Danault. My first choice, Joel Edmundson, was protected. Two-way center Danualt, 28, embodies what this team say they want to be and if signed as a free agent he would be a great mentor for center Matthew Beniers if he were placed second in Friday’s overall standings. Hats off: Free agent.
Nashville Predators: Jarnkrok Street. I was going to spend big on Ryan Johansen initially, but you can’t do it everywhere. Save money here by picking forward Jarnkrok, 29, and his only contract season remaining. Cap reached: $ 2 million.
New Jersey Devils: Nick Merkley. Yeah, I’m tempted to go for the big name of PK Subban, but the money again. … Stay with Merkley, 24, a restricted right-wing free agent. Hats off: Free agent.
New York Islanders: Josh Bailey. This is where we start to fill up with the cash, forgoing cheap initial defensive pick Sebastian Aho and taking top-six forward Bailey, 31, for his 50-point versatility, leadership and its durability. Cap reached: $ 5 million.
New York Rangers: Barclay Goodrow. They traded my pick of Brett Howden to Vegas and acquired Goodrow, 28, of Tampa Bay. Again, the kind of forward-shifting dynamic that the Kraken wants. Hats off: Free agent.
Ottawa Senators: Evgenii Dadonov. I originally picked Chris Tierney, but right winger Dadonov, 32, puts the puck more in the net and can help Kraken assistant Paul McFarland on the power play as he did in Florida. Cap reached: $ 5 million.
Philadelphia Flyers: Shayne Gostisbehere. We ditch the original pick James van Riemsdyk and go for defender Gostisbehere for less money. Cap reached: $ 4.5 million.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Brandon Tanev. Becoming cheaper than Jason Zucker’s original choice, albeit longer and taking 29-year-old Tanev for his speed, aggressiveness and shots on goal. Cap reached: $ 3.5 million.
Blues of Saint-Louis: Vince Dunn. We’ll pass Vladimir Tarasenko’s big sum on and stay with defenseman Dunn, 24, for the money, flexibility and growth potential. Hats off: Free agent.
Sharks from San José: Dylan Gambrell. The Bonney Lake front was my initial choice, and I’m not giving up on the local train now. Cap reached: $ 1.1 million.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Yanni Gourde. There’s probably a side deal here where the Kraken sort of takes on Tyler Johnson, but Gourde, 29, makes the most sense for his disruptive ways on the ice. Cap reached: $ 5.167 million.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Alexandre Kerfoot. I’m not sure why the Leafs traded for Jared McCann and then exposed it, so there’s probably a side deal where Kraken takes on Kerfoot, 26, my previous choice as a hard-hitting forward. Cap reached: $ 3.5 million.
Vancouver Canucks: Braden Holtby. Holtby, 31, is a potential No.1 if he returns to form. Cap reached: $ 4.3 million.
Washington Capitals: Vitek Vanecek. Keeping Vanecek, 25, as a young goalkeeper who can be prepared for first place or dealt easily. Cap reached: $ 716,667.
Winnipeg Jets: Dylan DeMelo. Mason Appleton looked stuck until right-handed defender DeMelo, 28, was surprisingly exposed. Cap reached: $ 3 million.
Totals: 16 attackers, 10 defenders, 4 goalkeepers. Twenty players under contract with a salary cap of $ 62,258,667.