The Seattle Kraken can improve in a number of areas when they select from the Carolina Hurricanes in the upcoming 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 Carolina Hurricanes.
After finishing as the best team in what would normally be considered the Eastern Conference, it comes as no surprise that the Hurricanes will have several desirable players available for the taking in the expansion draft. When they were faced with the arrival of the Golden Knights in 2017, key players like Sebastian Aho and Jaccob Slavin were exempt.
This time around, they don’t get so lucky, as their entire core needs to be protected with the exception of breakout center Martin Necas. This leaves Canes management with some crucial decisions in an effort to keep the perennial playoff contender together.
F Jesper Fast
Age 29, 2 yr. left at $2 million AAV
While the Hurricanes could opt to keep Fast around, it seems more likely they protect 25-year-old Warren Foegele instead. In that case, the veteran provides the Kraken with a consistent middle-six winger who could help a young team from the beginning. While never a tremendous point-producer, Fast carries a reasonable cap hit and can help the depth of a team that will be looking for it. He is one of the best late-round draft picks in recent memory, being selected in the sixth round of the 2010 draft by the New York Rangers.
Fast spent parts of seven seasons with the Rangers before coming to Carolina in free agency last summer. He played his fewest games in a season since 2013-14 but managed 6 goals and 19 points in 46 appearances. His career-best season came in 2017-18 with New York, where he scored 13 goals and recorded 33 points. If Seattle does add Fast to the mix, they should expect modest point production coupled with all the intangibles you’d want in a leader.
D Jake Bean
Age 23, Pending RFA
Bean is probably the most exciting player available from Carolina for what former Hurricanes GM Ron Francis is looking to build in the Pacific Northwest. Still just 23 and a former draft pick of Francis, Bean could be a building block of the Kraken blue line. He hasn’t had many opportunities to carve out a role for himself among one of the league’s deepest and most talented defense cores.
A potential selection by the Kraken could help the former first-round pick live up to the top prospect expectations.
Bean entered the 2020-21 season with just two games of NHL experience to his name after playing two full seasons in the AHL with the Charlotte Checkers. After being held scoreless in the two games he appeared in during the 2018-19 season, Bean was able to make his mark this season in 42 games of action with the Canes. He scored his first NHL goal and added on 11 assists to total 12 points and a minus-2 rating. He was also able to record a goal in the playoffs to go with a minus-3 rating in 11 postseason games.
Now that he’s finally had a taste of NHL action, Bean could be worth a look for Francis, who knows a thing or two about the defenseman he drafted.
D Jake Gardiner
Age 31, 2 yr. left at $4.05 million AAV
Gardiner gives the Kraken another option for a left-hand shot defenseman, but who can also be a leader for a young team. While he carries a heavier cap hit than what can be negotiated with Bean, Gardiner can be of value if the team turns out to be very young.
A first-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks, Gardiner had appeared for only the Toronto Maple Leafs before signing in Carolina prior to the 2019-20 season. He appeared in over 500 games over his eight years in Toronto and was counted on as a leader despite never formally serving as an alternate captain.
Gardiner has shown capabilities in his offensive game but has struggled with defensive inconsistency. Once a 50-point producer with the Leafs, Gardiner has had his share of down seasons as well, like his minus-23 effort with Toronto in 2014-15 and a minus-24 rating during the 2019-20 season with the Canes.
With the surplus of right-handed defensemen likely to be available, Gardiner’s experience and leadership could be valued to sure up the left side of the ice.