The Toronto Maple Leafs made a move recently, landing Alex Galchenyuk from the Carolina Hurricanes. The Seattle Kraken could end up the biggest beneficiaries from this trade.
Far from being a bad deal, this one could actually pan out very nicely for the Maple Leafs and likewise the Seattle Kraken.
They gave up a journeyman AHL defenseman and a Russian winger on the cusp of (likely) fourth line minutes. Not only that, they rid themselves of a contract giving themselves greater flexibility. All the while, without impacting their salary cap too much at all.
Alex Galchenyuk is now on his seventh NHL club, which isn’t a great look for him.
However, he is only a few seasons removed from a 30-goal campaign and managed consistent 19-goal campaigns after that. Aside last year, he’s always looked good for 40 points thereabouts.
Why is this good news for the Seattle Kraken?
Why, might you ask, is this good news for the Seattle Kraken; the answer to that is quite simple.
Should Alex Galchenyuk experience a revival in his fortunes; it will end up meaning the Maple Leafs have a huge challenge on their hands in selecting who to expose to the Expansion Draft.
Already, the impressive play of Justin Holl has muddied the waters. Right now, he’s making a strong case for the Leafs to opt into the eight-skater model or make a side deal with the Seattle Kraken to protect him.
Another spanner could be thrown in the works if the Leafs succeed in revitalizing Galcheyuk’s career. Even if the Leafs opt into protecting seven forwards and three defensemen from the Seattle Kraken, it’s no guarantee he’s one of them.
After all, the likes of Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander and Zach Hyman will be at the head of the queue.
That leaves the likes of Wayne Simmonds, Jason Spezza, Joe Thornton, Alex Kerfoot, Pierre Engvall, Jimmy Vesey and Nic Petan battling it out for a couple of remaining spots.
An Alex Galchenyuk revival makes that an even bigger challenge for the Leafs General Manager, Kyle Dubas.
If the eight-skater model ends up proving the path of least resistance; there is 100% going to need to be a side deal. The Seattle Kraken would be fools, under such a scenario, not to take Zach Hyman straight up.
The plot thickens as we are moving ever closer to the Seattle Kraken’s Expansion Draft.