After the Tampa Bay Lightning claiming the Stanley Cup on July 7, the NHL offseason hit the ground running. The expansion draft for the Seattle Kraken took place on July 21 and the NHL Draft came to a close on Saturday.
This means there are big moves happening this offseason, with each team losing at least one player from their roster but also adding new blood into their lineups and development programs with the NHL Draft.
The trade freeze was lifted Thursday and free agency opens this Wednesday, setting the pace for what appears to be a buzzing offseason.
Headlines From the Expansion Draft
The Kraken now have their roster set and are ready to hit the ice in Climate Pledge Arena. Of those selected to be a part of the inaugural lineup, Mark Giordano was one major headliner of the draft. The defenceman played fifteen seasons for the Calgary Flames and served as captain for eight of those years, making many suspects he will be named the Krakens’ first captain.
Chris Driedger will guard the net for the Kraken. The 27-year-old was a pending unrestricted free agent for the Florida Panthers. Last season, Driedger accounted for a 14-6-3 record, a 2.07 GAA, and boasted a .927 save percentage. Like a bow on top of this exciting package for the Kraken, Driedger even put up three shutouts in his final season as a Panther. Driedger should be a strong first goalie for the 32nd NHL team.
Another big scoop-up for the Kraken was Jordan Eberle. The former Islander was a part of the top line with Mathew Barzal and Leo Komarov, putting up big numbers with 16 goals and 17 assists in 55 games. Eberle put up consecutive 60+ point seasons from 2013-2015; the 31-year-old will be an important asset for the Kraken.
The Kraken used up only $53 million of their $81.5 million salary cap with the draft and only made one trade immediately following the expansion draft. They sent Tyler Pitlick, a forward, to the Flames for a fourth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.
Top Stories From the NHL Draft
Turning to the biggest event of the offseason, the NFL Draft opened with round one on July 23 and ended on July 24. In round one, the number one overall pick went to the Buffalo Sabres who selected defenseman Owen Power from Michigan. From the same school, Matthew Beniers went second to the Seattle Kraken. The center put up 10 goals and 14 assists in 24 games played.
Michigan had another player, Kent Johnson, selected in round one at number five. The three teammates became the first trio in the first round to come from the same school, showing that Michigan is the current number one producer of NHL players.
Goalies were not forgotten in this draft. Two goalies, Sebastian Coassa and Jesper Wallstedt were selected in round one marking the first time two goalies were selected in round one since 2012.
On the more questionable side of the draft, the Montreal Canadiens chose Logan Mailloux 31st overall despite Mailloux withdrawing from the draft. The defenseman for the London Knights was convicted in Sweden and posted a statement on social media ahead of the draft asking NHL teams not to select him.
It is unclear whether Mailloux will even play for the London Knights next season, making the Canadiens’ choice puzzling for multiple moral and business reasons.
What Is Ahead?
All of this excitement and movement has taken place already this offseason and free agency is inching closer. There are some big names listed as unrestricted free agents, including Alex Ovechkin, setting up the NHL offseason to be eventful. Although there will, unfortunately, be nothing happening on the ice until October 12, there will be plenty of movement and conversation happening off the ice to keep fans entertained.