Expansion Draft Hockey Hot Sauce x Healthy Skratch Draft NHL

Kraken Bait – Atlantic Division

(Photo credit – NHL.com)

Welcome to the second part of the Healthy Skratch, Hot Sauce and Life & Fantasy collaborative series! In it, we’ll breakdown each division in the NHL and make our picks for who will be fed to the Kraken! The L&F Starting Line up series has been absolute blast so why not double dip! You will hear from the full Healthy Skratch line up in Spence, Kris and Tyler along with fellow Hot Sauce writer Jon Eamon, and finally Life and Fantasy’s Jared Tweedie and Kaveh Ghidy – who will be drafting a team together.

The breakdown is pretty straight forward, using the NHL’s Expansion Rules each person must draft at minimum 14 forward, 8 defenseman and 3 goalies. Each team will have to fit within the current NHL salary cap (Cap ceiling $81.5M, give or take some savvy GM cap manipulating). There are no restrictions in terms of the minimum numbers of players nor salary cap per division. The only thing to remember is Rule #1:

Don’t talk about Fight Club.

If you missed our previous segments, here is our breakdown on the Metropolitan Division!

Kraken’s typically prefer to feast on the Pacific Division but every once in a while one veers off to take the path less travel and voilà they appear in the Atlantic. With that said here are our picks for the Atlantic Division!

Cap numbers provided by CapFriendly.com

Healthy Skratch – Spence Plamondon

Boston Bruins – Mike Reilly
Buffalo Sabres – Drake Caggiula
Detroit Red Wings – Dennis Cholowski
Florida Panthers – Chris Driedger
Montreal Canadiens – Jonathan Drouin
Ottawa Senators – Vitaly Abramov
Tampa Bay Lightnings – Cal Foote
Toronto Maple Leafs – Jared McCann

I really didn’t expect to be taking Mike Reilly, but he had a great year. He’s always shown promise – at his best, he’s great in transition with great skating ability and above average offensive instincts – but he’s been plagued by consistency issues. This year, we saw him consistently playing strong hockey, on bad teams and good teams, in prominent roles. Happy to snag him from Boston here.

From Buffalo, my pick is Colin Miller. A solid #5 D who will help bring some stability to the back end. He’s been through the expansion process with Vegas and elevated his game in the face of it. From Detroit, Vladislav Namestnikov comes in, hopefully getting the fresh start he needs to reboot his career. The centre options are limited, so he’d be in line to take on a big role.

Out of Florida, Chris Driedger comes in and signs what is currently rumoured to be a deal worth 3.5M per season. He’ll be one half of my goalie duo for the season. From Montreal, Jonathan Drouin is given a much needed fresh start for his immense talent. Though his future is up in the air right now, I feel like he could be a big part of Seattle’s offence.

Vitaly Abramov is my selection out of Ottawa. He’s got tantalizing skill – he just needs to figure it out at the NHL level. On a 900k deal, he’s worth the risk. Out of Tampa, Cal Foote. They’re not getting a helping hand from me. Looked long and hard at Yanni Gourde, and he is a great player, but the hockey fan in me just wants to see maximum chaos here. I’m fairly confident Gourde would be capable of playing in a Top 6 role, but I also don’t love the idea of throwing 5.16M at a guy for the next 4 seasons when he’s got 66 points in his last 126 games. Words that may age terribly.

From Toronto, I’m taking Jared McCann. Honestly feel like they should’ve protected him over Justin Holl, but it is what it is. I loved McCann’s season in Pittsburgh last year and I’m thrilled to get him here.

Healthy Skratch – Kristian Galvez-Johnson

Boston Bruins – Ondrej Kase
Buffalo Sabres – Colin Miller
Detroit Red Wings – Vladislav Namestikov
Florida Panthers – Chris Driedger
Montreal Canadiens – Phillip Danault
Ottawa Senators – Evgenii Dadonov
Tampa Bay Lightnings – Yanni Gourde
Toronto Maple Leafs –
Jared McCann

Ondrej Kase is such a enigma, when he’s not injured he looks like he can really take off but never seems to quite put it together. I’m still convinced he’s got it. I take him and hope he signs a reasonable deal as he’s an RFA.

Colling Miller skates, passes, and defends his blue line well in transition. He was a hot commodity before he got to Buffalo, as are most players. Plus he’s right handed. I like this player a lot.

Vladislav Namestikov is one of the more skilled guys available. Not exactly a point producer but he can help a second unit power play and slot up the lineup in case of injury.

I hate picking UFAs but getting a goalie like Dreidger signed before free agency is a coup. Legitimately ready to be a starter I take him from Florida and make sure he knows he’s my guy.

Montreal exposing Price is maximum chaos, if Seattle took him I’d party just to watch hockey twitter burn. I don’t think it makes much sense long term and honestly nobody on Montreal’s available list screams worthy of an immediate pick. Danault being signed early is a good get for a guy who will be an awesome 2C for a while. I would take a long look at Hudon as well. I think there’s a player there. I was surprised Vegas didn’t take him.

Dadanov is good, but expensive. Ottawa has the cap space to make it work, but I could see getting decent assets for him. Can play on your top line if he isn’t traded.

Yanni Gourde is the easiest pick in the entire expansion draft. Could be a first liner on most teams, signed to a cheap deal. Shuts the opposition down and can score, plus we know he’s a playoff beast which can be luck if its one playoff run, but he’s done it back to back, playing more minutes than any forward. Easy choice, sad for Tampa but as Seattle I’m in heaven.

Ah the joy of Leafs fandom. So pumped to trade for McCann only for him to be swooped by Seattle. Easy choice between him and Kerfoot. Though I am sure they take a long look at Dermott, young cheap and Hakstol knows him well.

Healthy Skratch – Tyler O’Connor

Boston Bruins – Curtis Lazard
Buffalo Sabres – Colin Miller
Detroit Red Wings – Vladislav Namestikov
Florida Panthers – Chris Driedger
Montreal Canadiens – Brett Kulak
Ottawa Senators – Evgenii Dadonov
Tampa Bay Lightnings – Yanni Gourde
Toronto Maple Leafs –
Alex Kerfoot

From the Boston Bruins I would select Curtis Lazar. He has never really lived up to the hype that came along with being picked 17th overall, but he is still a solid depth player nevertheless, who plays a real “thorn in your side” style of game.

From the Buffalo Sabres I would select Colin Miller. I completely fine middle pair defenceman, who can bump up in the pairings, if need be, in a limited role.

From the Detroit Red Wings I would select Vladislav Namestikov. I very solid middle 6 winger with some flare to his game. He’s got a good sense around the net and can help on the powerplay.

From the Florida Panthers I would sign Chris Dreidger. Now, to be fair, signing him would still be a bit of a gamble considering the sample size, however, there seems to be a real consensus that he’s got a very bright future ahead of him.

From the Montreal Canadiens I would select Brett Kulak. A criminally underrated d-man who comes with a very friendly cap hit. He seems to fall in and out of favour with Habs management for one reason or another, but he’s an extremely capable puck moving defenceman who deserves more credit than he gets.

From the Ottawa Senators I would select Evgeni Dadonov. He’s one of the more talented offensive players available to the Kraken so I would be stunned if they passed up on the opportunity. Would slide right in on their first line.

From the Tampa Bay Lightning I would select Yanni Gourde. Look, they won their two cups, so every move they made was well worth it. That being said, we all knew that this would end up happening. That they would eventually have to give up some very good players and Yanni Gourde is one of them. An incredibly responsible forward who knows how to play in all three zones who also happens to be an absolute nuisance to play against (that’s a compliment). Tampa is surely going to feel his absence, and Seattle would be extremely silly to pass on him.

From the Toronto Maple Leafs I would select Alex Kerfoot. He would slide in perfectly as the third line centre. An extreme pain to play against, who can chip in offensively as well.

L&F – Jarred Tweedie & Kaveh Ghidy

Boston Bruins – Jeremy Lauzon
Buffalo Sabres – Drake Caggiula
Detroit Red Wings – Vladislav Namestnikov
Florida Panthers – Lucas Wallmark
Montreal Canadiens – Carey Price
Ottawa Senators – Ryan Dzingel
Tampa Bay Lightnings – Pat Maroon
Toronto Maple Leafs – Travis Dermott

From Boston, we’re taking Jeremy Lauzon. He’s cheap, plays both left and right D, and he’s still young with upside. From Buffalo, we’re taking Drake Caggiula and signing him to a 700k deal. An energy depth player who’s got more to give than he’s shown in the past two seasons. Just needs some stability and a winning environment.

Vladislav Namestnikov is our pick out of Detroit. A talented guy who’s best suited for a secondary role on a good team, we hope he’s gonna be rejuvenated playing on a competitive team again. Out of Florida, we’re going with Lucas Wallmark and signing him for 850k. He’s got untapped potential and damnit, we’re gonna wring it out of him!

Montreal? Carey Price, come on down. Price in nets and Ovi up front; need we say more? From Ottawa, Ryan Dzingel comes in and signs a 1.25M show-me deal. We like his upside and versatility. From Tampa, Pat Maroon comes on board to guarantee us a Stanley Cup victory in year one. Long live the Pat parade. Toronto hands over Travis Dermott, who we’ll gladly add to the fold.

Hot Sauce – Jon Eamon

Boston Bruins – Nick Ritchie
Buffalo Sabres – Colin Miller
Detroit Red Wings – Taro Hirose
Florida Panthers – Chris Driedger
Montreal Canadiens – Phillip Danault
Ottawa Senators – Evgenii Dadonov
Tampa Bay Lightnings – Cal Foote
Toronto Maple Leafs –
Travis Dermott

Nick Ritchie seemed like a locked and loaded pick at first glance, but to my surprise I am the only one that picked him. A hard nosed straight line player with the skill to play on the Power Play was too good to pass up. He will require a new contract and I think that the recent Goodrow contract is a good comparable. From Buffalo I went with Colin Miller, the options weren’t great and the Kraken will need some stability on the back end. Miller provides that as an ideal 3rd pairing defenseman who has the ability to move into the top 4 when need be.

Taro Hirose comes in as the unorthodox pick that no one is talking about, but I really like his game and he is on the cusp of becoming a full time NHL player. Admittedly my decision was partially swayed by the fact that I recently met a couple of his buddies from his days at Edge Prep School and all of them had glowing reviews of him. Of course this is not unique to Hirose but it was enough to get me to dig a little deeper on him and he has been a play making machine at every level he’s played at. This past season he finished first on Grand Rapids (AHL) in assists, goof for 6th in the AHL. With very little to pick from out of Detroit, I take a chance on this kid every day.

Chris Driedger is the only fore gone conclusion in this draft, at least if we are to believe all the rumours. I think he would make a great tandem with a couple of the other goalies left exposed including Price, however I see Seattle going in a different direction. Seattle signing Danault is a great way for them to get a top-6 Center who is proven to be an elite shut down player who still provides offensive from a micro-stat perspective. For a team as heavily invested in analytics as Seattle, you have to think that they took a long hard look and Danault’s underlying numbers. Yes I know that these ‘rumours’ were shut down but I’m sticking with my gut.

From the Sens, Evgenii Dadonov is a no brainer pick as a perenial top-6 winger who has scored 25+ goals in every season. Last season he would have come a little short of 25 based on his pro-rated stats, however he still would have scored 20 and it would be foolish to pass on that despite your opinion on his contract.

Originally I had Killorn penciled in from Tampa, but as I made my way through the rest of the NHL, it was clear that there is no shortage of Winger depth available. Instead I shifted gears to Cal Foote who if on any other roster than Tampa would have played a full NHL season last year. Seattle should be able to get him on a cheap bridge deal as he becomes more acclimated to the NHL or at the very least use Foote as leverage to get more assets out of Tampa to take a bigger contract.

Despite the leaked video of Seattle taking Kerfoot, I am sticking to my pick of Travis Dermott. He is capable of playing top-4 minutes and he comes with a cap hit of just $1.5M. I can see Dermott and Demelo forming one of the most underrated pairings of forgotten outcasts that provide solid depth and valuable minutes for Seattle.

Check back in soon for our Central Division, followed by the Pacific division tomorrow leading up to the NHL’s Expansion Draft. Who’s team do you like best so far? Is there a player we missed? Let us know in the comments and check back in tomorrow!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Hot Sauce Family and visit our Youtube channel for all the latest podcasts and videos! This week on Weekly Sauce Terry and Alex are joined by Montreal Alouettes OL Tony Washington to talk CFL, pre-game routine, his favourite city and food!

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