At the moment, it would seem that Connor Clifton and Jeremy Lauzon are not a part of protection plans for the Boston Bruins. Which of these two young defensemen could end up on the Seattle Kraken?
Today, an announcement was made by the NHL confirming the 2020-2021 season will officially begin on January 13th, 2021. It’s as if all of the NHL team owners are at a Christmas party, rejoicing about the gift of a new hockey season. Then, there is the Seattle Kraken’s General Manager, Ron Francis, in the corner, sipping on his drink.
“I’m just here to take your favorite player.” – Ron Francis, probably.
Just one season away from the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, the Boston Bruins have a couple of defensemen to salivate over. Assuming that the Bruins protect three defensemen, those protected seem crystal clear. At the moment, the three defensive players Boston has locked in are likely Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk, and Brandon Carlo. Two juicy, young defensemen sound the Kraken’s alarm.
Jeremy Lauzon and Connor Clifton
Before Torey Krug signed with the St. Louis Blues, Grzelcyk may have been unprotected. If Grzelcyk may have been unprotected before, Lauzon and Clifton definitely were. Now, Grzelcyk is protected, still exposing Lauzon and Clifton. So, Seattle now is ready to talk shop.
Let’s assume that there was an outside chance that Lauzon and Clifton would be protected. They’re both 25-years-old or younger. Those are two players with their prime ahead of them. Between the two, how will Francis dissect drafting one of them?
Lauzon received his call up from the Providence Bruins in 2019-2020. He only played 19 games in 2019-2020, three more than his rookie season. Comparing the two seasons, Lauzon excelled in 2019-2020 in both points and plus-minus rating. Where he faltered was during the postseason, scoring no points in six games with a -3 rating.
Clifton had to battle through injury, presenting adversity in his young career. He played 31 games in 2019-2020, displaying a physical brand of hockey while showing off his defensive stick skills. When Clifton is on the ice, he’s forcing turnovers, not giving up the puck. Both are equally solid defenders, but Clifton excelled in the postseason.
A Defensive Decision
While both players provide the same sort of skill set, Clifton would be the better selection for the Kraken. In two postseason efforts, Clifton has shown he can produce against the NHL’s best. He knows what it feels like to be in the Stanley Cup Finals. That is something that’s hard to find in youth. Seattle should consider Clifton when Boston is on the clock.