The St. Louis Blues left star winger Vladimir Tarasenko (91) unprotected for the Seattle Kraken’s expansion draft, which takes place Wednesday. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)

The St. Louis Blues left star winger Vladimir Tarasenko (91) unprotected for the Seattle Kraken’s expansion draft, which takes place Wednesday. (AP Photo/Joe Puetz)

Nick Patterson’s Seattle Kraken mock expansion draft 2.0

There are lots of changes following Sunday’s release of the actual protection lists.

Wednesday is the Seattle Kraken’s big day, as the NHL’s newest expansion franchise announces the results of its expansion draft.

To prepare for the event, last week I conducted my own mock expansion draft and invited readers to do their own using CapFriendly.com’s Seattle Kraken expansion draft simulator. Well, in the ensuing days there were a flurry of moves that changed the landscape, and Sunday morning the NHL released the teams’ actual protection lists, so here’s version 2.0 of my mock draft. And keep sending your own mock drafts to npatterson@heraldnet.com so they can be shared prior to Wednesday evening’s announcement. It’s a much easier process now, as CapFriendly.com has using the actual protection lists now, so you no longer have to input your own.

Anyway, here’s my new team. It’s incredible how much it changed following the series of trades and players waving their no-movement clauses. Just nine of my 30 original selections made their way onto this squad, as I had to completely change strategies based on who ended up available. Here’s the new team, and I’ll go through it afterward:

Center

Max Domi, Arizona

Chris Tierney, Ottawa

Dylan Gambrell, San Jose

Ross Colton, Tampa Bay

Adam Gaudette, Chicago

Left wing

James van Riemsdyk, Philadelphia

Jared McCann, Toronto

Yakov Trenin, Nashville

Kieffer Bellows, N.Y. Islanders

Tyler Benson, Edmonton

Right wing

Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis

J.T. Compher, Colorado

Mason Appleton, Winnipeg

Nathan Bastian, New Jersey

Julian Gauthier, N.Y. Rangers

Kole Lind, Vancouver

Left defense

Mark Giordano, Calgary

Haydn Fleury, Anaheim

Jeremy Lauzon, Boston

Jake Bean, Carolina

Dennis Cholowski, Detroit

Kale Clague, Los Angeles

Right defense

Justin Schultz, Washington

Colin Miller, Buffalo

Ilya Lyubushkin, Arizona

Mark Friedman, Pittsburgh

Cale Fleury, Montreal

Goaltender

Ben Bishop, Dallas

Chris Driedger, Florida

Kaapo Kahkonen, Minnesota

Cap hit: $66.2 million

So let’s start with goaltending. Of course, the big news was that Montreal’s Carey Price waived his no-movement clause and became eligible for selection. I was real tempted, and there were versions of this draft in which I picked him. But in the end I decided that Bishop was a better investment. The 33-year-old Price’s $10.5 million annual salary cap hit through 2026 was just too much for me when Bishop, who also waived his no-movement clause, is less than half the cost and has a contract that expires in 2023. I know Bishop is coming off a major injury, but if he’s healthy I think he’s a better goalie than Price. I also included Driedger even though he’s an unrestricted free agent, based on the widespread rumors that he’ll be signing with the Kraken. Kahkonen is a gift, as I’m shocked Minnesota decided to protect Cam Talbot, 10 years his senior and $3 million more expensive, over him. In total, I’m thrilled with the goaltending. Bishop is a difference maker if he’s healthy, and if he’s not Driedger and Kahkonen should be a solid pairing.

I don’t consider the defense to be particularly exciting. Two of the best defensemen who looked like they’d be available disappeared, as Minnesota was able to protect Matt Dumba after buying out Ryan Suter’s contract, and Colorado traded Ryan Graves to New Jersey, where he was protected. I would expect the veterans I selected to be decent, but nothing special. The hope is that one or two of the talented young players who have yet to receive a full shot (Bean, Cholowski, Klague) would step up to become legitimate top-four d-men when given ice time.

However, this team is considerably stronger up front than my original team. Tarasenko and Domi being left unprotected changed the calculus. Tarasenko was left unprotected by the Blues after demanding a trade, and although I know there’s risk involved following his multiple shoulder surgeries, he’s a gamebreaker if he’s right, and he only has two years left on his contract. Domi was a flop in Columbus, but he’s still just three seasons removed from a 72-point campaign, and he’s only 26. He could be the legitimate No. 1 center my previous team needed. With those two unexpectedly available (and with Philadelphia making a deal that allowed it to protect my original choice from the Flyers), I decided to go all-in and snag James van Riemsdyk to fill out what could be an excellent first line. The second line of Tierney, McCann and Compher isn’t special, but should be able to hold its own, and the rest of the forward group consists of young players who could break out.

All-in-all, if Seattle went with this team, I think Kraken fans would be satisfied. I don’t know if this team could match Vegas’ exploits in 2017-18, but it would win games.

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