The Seattle Kraken expansion draft pick from the Tampa Bay Lightning will be a major one.
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 Tampa Bay Lightning.
If you are Kraken general manager Ron Francis, you have to be licking your chops when it comes to making a decision on who to take from the Tampa Bay Lightning. No team has more leverage on the back-to-back defending Stanley Cup Champions than the Kraken. With a number of excellent players to choose from and a number of ways to hurt the Lightning, the Kraken should make off great from their pick here.
There’s a number of options, so let’s take a look.
D Ryan McDonagh
If the Kraken is going to help the Lightning get off the hook with their intense salary cap problems, then taking Ryan McDonagh would be at the top of the list. Not only would they get a player who instantly becomes the likely favorite to be the first captain in the history of the team, but they would have to be getting some draft capital to take on such a contract and helped Tampa Bay out that much.
McDonagh is still a great player that can play to the level of his massive deal for at least the next few seasons but the Kraken does not need to help the Lightning. If McDonagh is not protected like many insiders believe he will not be, the Lightning may be willing to sweeten the deal with draft compensation or prospects to get the deal off the books. That being said, let’s look at McDonagh’s output as of late.
As a second-line defenseman for the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions, McDonagh has managed to be one of the best in the league still. His ability on the penalty kill remains stellar while his leadership cannot be overlooked either. McDonagh’s point totals have never been what told the story of his play so the numbers last year should not dictate how good he remains on the ice.
If the Kraken want perhaps the sturdiest and most solid player available to them in the draft, McDonagh would be the way to go.
F Ross Colton
Ross Colton is an interesting pick here. It would essentially be more to hurt the Lightning than anything else. Tampa Bay is going to have an assortment of players available that would all be top-line players for the Kraken, but taking someone with potential and cheap money like Colton would lead to the Lightning having to cut the salary cap in other ways.
The 24-year-old center showed a lot of promise in 30 regular season games and 23 postseason games as well this season. Not only did he prove that he could be a solid piece for the future for the Lightning but exemplified how great every line of their team was. At such a young age and being able to play big playoff minutes for the team, he would be an excellent addition to the Kraken this coming season.
F Ondrej Palat
Ondrej Palat is very good at the sport of hockey and really that’s all you need to know for this pick. Palat would slot in atop the Kraken lineup and be leaned on to get most of their offense going many nights. The selection of Palat is tempting in every sense because of what he’s proven to be as a player since the start of his career.
At the age of 30 years old, he would feel a lot like the selection the Vegas Golden Knights had in their expansion draft as they selected James Neal. A proven forward trusted to help the team around them and make them overall better. Neal, of course, only lasted one season and the selection of Palat may not even be for the Kraken to actually play him.
Palat would be a massive trade piece for the Kraken who could get back a haul from a playoff contender which is more tempting than anything else. Palat is great as a player who has scored over 50 points in a season three times in his career, but the potential of getting far more for him? Something Francis has to be considering come Wednesday night.