The New York Rangers provide several promising choices in the upcoming Seattle Kraken expansion draft.
In the lead-up to the Seattle Kraken’s NHL Expansion Draft, we here at the Kraken Chronicle will look at all 30 teams and who could be taken from each. In this edition, we take a look at the New York Rangers.
The Rangers being a young up-and-coming team helps them as they approach the expansion draft. A number of their key players are exempt from the draft, including high draft picks Alexis Lafreniere and Kappo Kakko, as well as goaltender Igor Shesterkin. This puts less pressure on the Rangers front office to protect everyone, as they have more than enough spots to keep everyone that is essential to their future. With their most important assets easily able to protect, the Kraken might need to dig deeper to find value from New York.
C Brett Howden
Age 23, Pending RFA
If exposed in favor of Colin Blackwell, Howden could be a great low-risk choice for the Kraken. Still just 23 years old, Howden hasn’t yet broken out at the NHL level but could reach a new level with a larger role on the Kraken. A first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2016, Howden was a part of the Ryan McDonagh trade that brought him to the Big Apple in 2018. Since the trade, the center has been stuck in a bottom-six role on a young team trying to develop many core pieces.
Howden has three seasons of NHL experience, all with the Rangers. He has produced 16 goals and 49 points over 178 career appearances, coupled with a minus-29 rating. Despite the lack of production to this point, the fact that he is still just 23 bodes well for his potential to improve with a larger role in Seattle if they were to select him.
F Julien Gauthier
Age 23, Pending RFA
Gauthier provides the Kraken with another high-upside pick to add to their young roster. The 23-year-old was a first-round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2016, just six picks ahead of Howden. He was traded to the Rangers in 2020, and split the 2019-20 season between the two teams. Increased opportunities came his way in New York, but a larger role can still be carved out if he is given a fresh start.
Gauthier has only appeared in 47 NHL games, all but five of which came during his time with the Rangers. He scored his first two career goals this past season with the Rangers, and has a total of 2 goals and 11 points over his two NHL seasons to go along with a minus-5 rating. After being a point-per-game player in the QMJHL, Gauthier has the potential to be a consistent top-nine forward in the NHL, and that opportunity can come quickly if selected by the Kraken.
D Tony DeAngelo
1 yr. left at $4.8 million AAV
One of the most interesting players likely to be exposed to the Kraken, DeAngelo presents Seattle with a big decision. His skill set on the ice makes him one of the most talented defensemen available in the expansion draft. Off-the-ice issues plagued him this past season in New York, as he only appeared in six games before his contract was buried and the team resisted the urge to trade their once-promising blueliner.
During the 2019-20 season, DeAngelo came into his own as a player with the potential to be New York’s number one defenseman. He scored 15 goals to go along with 38 assists, finishing with 53 points in 68 games with a plus-12 rating. He struggled in his six games of action this season, recording just one assist and logging a minus-6 rating. Seattle doesn’t sound likely to take the risk of bringing DeAngelo in, but they would certainly be getting a player with a proven track record if they did.
Since they are most likely only going to lose a depth forward, the Rangers should escape the expansion draft mostly unscathed, while the Kraken could benefit greatly from their addition.