With the ending of the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft Wednesday night, the Seattle Kraken is now officially the 32nd team to join the league with a full roster. Seattle’s selections were revealed at 8 pm Eastern Time and lasted roughly ninety minutes. There were many leaks throughout the day as Seattle had to submit their NHL expansion draft list at 10 am ET.
Now that the draft is official, the public can view Seattle’s selection of players from the other 30 participating NHL teams. The Vegas Golden Knights were allowed to opt-out of this year’s expansion draft through a deal they made during their 2017 NHL appearance.
NHL Expansion Draft: Seattle Kraken’s top 5 highest-paid selections
This analysis will examine the top five highest-paid players that the Seattle Kraken chose to pay for the 2021-22 season. Although it is not certain that these players will play for Seattle, as there are still chances for trades during the off-season, these five players will definitely have an impact on the 32nd NHL team.
Mark Giordano (Salary cap of $6,750,000)
From the Calgary Flames, the Seattle Kraken selected defenseman, Mark Giordano. It is assumed that the 37-year-old veteran will become the very first captain for Seattle as he was the captain in Calgary for eight straight years. Giordano has played his whole 15-year career for the Flames, making this his first-ever season in a different jersey. With 56 games played last season, the veteran scored a total of 26 points and blocked 110 shots. He will certainly hold a leadership role as this new team tries to find its identity.
Jordan Eberle (Salary cap of $5,500,000)
From the New York Islanders, the Seattle Kraken selected forward, Jordan Eberle. This is a huge deal for Seattle and a great loss for New York. Eberle had a big impact in last year’s playoffs for the Islanders, creating 11 points in their 19-game run. Eberle has been in the league for 11 years and has never had a season with less than 30 points.
Yanni Gourde (Salary cap of $5,166,666)
Another big-name playoff player joins the Seattle Kraken; forward Yanni Gourde from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Gourde just recently won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay and hopes to start the chase again with this new franchise. The 29-year-old has a total of 187 points in his 310 NHL games, all with the Lightning. The team may also lean on Gourde if they make the playoffs as he has played in a total of 69 playoff games.
Joonas Donski (Salary cap of $3,900,000)
From the Colorado Avalanche, the Seattle Kraken selected froward Joonas Donskoi. The Finland-born player is coming off a hot season with 31 points scored in 51 games and a career-high +/- of 14 points. Although the Avalanche lost in the conference semi-finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Donski is also a playoff veteran with a total of 69 games played in the playoffs. Having Donski and Gourde side-by-side creates a pair of elite playoff leaders.
Brandon Tanev (Salary cap of $3,500,000)
From the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Seattle Kraken selected forward, Brandon Tanev. The heavy hitter will be a big loss for Pittsburgh as Tanev has had a solid two seasons with the Pens. Tanev was always there to set the tone for his team, coming up with an astounding 984 hits in his 295 NHL games. With a total of 100 regular-season games with Pittsburgh, the 29-year-old came up with a total of 41 points. Tanev is also a two-time winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy (2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons), an award for the forward who demonstrates the best defensive abilities.
Looking back at the NHL expansion draft
For this 2021 NHL expansion draft, the Seattle Kraken had a total salary cap of $81,500,000. These five selections will cost Seattle a total of $24,816,666 for the 2021-22 season, 30.5 percent of their salary cap. At the end of the draft, Seattle selected a total of 15 forwards, 12 defensemen, and three goalies. The average age of their 30 selectees is 26 years old.
When the Vegas Golden Knights held their expansion draft in 2017, they ended up going to the Stanley Cup Finals during the 2017-18 season. It will be exciting to see if the Seattle Kraken will follow in their footsteps and make a long run in their inaugural season.