Here's what your 2021-22 Seattle Kraken could end up looking like, barring any deals

T. Tadi
July 18, 2021  (1:27 PM)

The Seattle Kraken will have their pick of the litter 30 times over on Wednesday, July 21st - and if my mock draft is any indication, the team could be formidable, even without any side deals occurring.

First, I want to preface this article by stating that this team was assembled without taking into account any side deals that the Kraken could entertain. This is a team constructed purely on the list of players who were left exposed.
Second, I did my best to look at things from the perspective of Kraken GM Ron Francis and taking into account the player's perceived value, their potential value to the team, any risk associated with picking a certain player and the likelihood/unlikelihood of Francis doing other GM's any favours if the pick doesn't benefit him as much without additional compensation.
Third, I did not keep a running tally of cap calculations under the assumption that Seattle has the entire summer to become cap compliant if they exceed the cap with the allowable 10% margin over the summer.
F- Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)
F- Gabriel Landeskog (COL), sign 7 years, at 7M-8M
F- Max Domi (CBJ)
F- Frank Vatrano (FLA)
F- Blake Lizotte (LAK)
F- Colton Sissons (NSH)
F- Michael Dal Colle (NYI)
F- Colin Blackwell (NYR)
F- Evgenii Dadonov (OTT)
F- James van Riemsdyk (PHI)
F- Brandon Tanev (PIT)
F- Yanni Gourde (TBL)
F- Dominik Kahun (EDM)
F- Derek Ryan (CGY)
F- Kole Lind (VAN)
F- Ryan Donato (SJS)
D- Haydn Fleury (ANA)
D- Ilya Lyubushkin (ARI)
D- Jeremy Lauzon (BOS)
D- Dennis Cholowski (DET)
D- Ryan Murray (NJD)
D- Travis Dermott (TOR)
D- Dylan DeMelo (WPG)
D- Nikita Zadorov (CHI)
D- Jake Bean (CAR)
D- Jake McCabe (BUF), sign 5x5M
G- Ben Bishop (DAL)
G- Kaapo Kahkonen (MIN)
G- Carey Price (MON)
G- Vitek Vanecek (WSH)
Some rationale for a few of the names on this list is certainly needed to help put things in context.
From a goalie perspective, if you're Seattle, you take 3 or 4 of the best options and flip one or two to other teams as needed to collect additional assets and address roster holes in the top six. Note that I left Florida's Chris Driedger off of this list on purpose due to the fact that Seattle can just take a run at him in free agency if they so wish. For the purpose of this mock draft, however, there were more impactful names available that had a better chance to pay higher dividends based on volume of work, marketability and overall potential.
I went with a mostly young and promising defensive corps here rather than taking some of the higher priced veteran names like Calgary's Mark Giordano and New Jersey's P.K. Subban.
There are plenty of veteran dmen around the league who are looking for a fresh start and can likely be acquired through trade later on, potentially using some of the younger assets to maximize Seattle's return on deals to round out their roster. The same goes for adding up front. Some of the young, skilled blueliners can be used as potential trade chips to bring back players that can help the Kraken acquire a legitimate top-6 center, which is an asset that was seemingly difficult to acquire during the expansion draft process.
With the forwards, there's a good mix of veterans and younger players with room to grow who could benefit from increased opportunity. We saw this strategy pay off in Vegas during their inaugural season.
Of course, the most notable names are Tarasenko and Landeskog. While Tarasenko is almost certainly a member of the Seattle Kraken this season, there are no guarantees that Landeskog wants to sign in Seattle, so this pick is a bit of a risk for sure. That said, if offered a long-term deal somewhere in the $7M-$8M range, perhaps the security outweighs the curiosity to see what else is out there. Truth be told, I don't know if anyone knows what Landeskog is thinking right now except the player and his agent.
Assuming Landeskog signs, the lineup could end up looking something like this (prior to any potential moves, of course):
Landeskog - Domi - Tarasenko
van Riemsdyk - Sissons - Dadonov
Gourde - Donato - Vatrano
Lizotte - Ryan - Tanev
Lind, Blackwell
McCabe - Murray
Lyubushkin - DeMelo
Dermott - Zadorov
Cholowski, Lauzon
*=possible trade chip to use involving a team who requires a starting goalie. If Price, salary retention is likely required.
Seattle also holds the 2nd overall pick in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, which means that a player like Matt Beniers, Owen Power or William Eklund could be thrown into the mix for a roster spot as well, depending on conversations between the player and the team and which development plan is deemed the best option.
While the center depth is not ideal, to me, that roster looks like it can definitely compete in the Pacific Division as it is, even without drastic augmentation.
Time will tell what the actual roster looks like when the dust settles, but one thing appears likely here - and that is that the Seattle Kraken are likely going to have a pretty good team right off the hop.
July 21st cannot come soon enough for those whose curiosity is peaked.
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