Expansion Draft Hot Sauce x Healthy Skratch Draft

Kraken Bait – Pacific Division

(Photo credit – NHL.com)

Welcome to the inaugural edition 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 are our breakdowns:

Metropolitan Division
Atlantic Division
Central Division

Now that the Kraken has develop a taste for NHL franchises, it has returned home with a new passion to attack the entire West Coast. Today marks the Kraken’s first day of terror in the Pacific Division!

Cap numbers provided by CapFriendly.com

Healthy Skratch – Spence Plamondon

Anaheim Mighty Ducks – Haydn Fleury
Arizona Coyotes – Christian Fischer
Calgary Flames – Mark Giordano
Edmonton Oilers – Tyler Benson
Los Angeles Kings – Blake Lizotte
San Jose Sharks – Kurtis Gabriel
Vancouver Canucks – Jalen Chatfield

After playing in a sheltered, third pairing role on a stacked Carolina D corps for 35 games this season, Haydn Fleury’s ice time jumped a full 7 minutes to 20:39 a night in his 12 games with Anaheim after a trade at the deadline. He’ll have a good opportunity to seize with the Kraken.

Christian Fischer, like many on the Coyotes, is in need of a fresh start. He’s got a great frame and good tools, but it just ain’t happenin’ in Arizona for him. Depth player with Top 9 upside. Coming from Calgary, Mark Giordano becomes the front man of this D corps. He’s definitely approaching the end of the road and he might fall off a cliff when he gets there, but there’s good hockey left in the tank and he’s in a contract year.

Tyler Benson is my pick out of Edmonton. With Oscar Klefbom’s career in jeopardy, I didn’t want to pass up on Benson. His career has been sidetracked by injuries multiple times, but the talent is there and he’s proven all there is to prove at the AHL level. Very smart player who still has Middle 6 centre potential in my eyes.

From LA, Blake Lizotte gets a fresh shot. A 5’7 centre with a ton of energy. Solid depth with a little upside. Kurtis Gabriel comes in from the Sharks offering size, energy and grit in a depth role. Seems to be an excellent teammate and is a well known ambassador for the game. Finally, with my last pick, Jalen Chatfield from Vancouver. A hard-nosed depth defenseman, Chatfield is a fan favourite due to his grit and work ethic. Just what I’m looking for.

Healthy Skratch – Kristian Galvez-Johnson

Anaheim Mighty Ducks – Haydn Fleury
Arizona Coyotes – Christian Fischer
Calgary Flames – Mark Giordano
Edmonton Oilers – Oscar Klefbom
Los Angeles Kings – Carl Gundstrom
San Jose Sharks – Ryan Donato
Vancouver Canucks –
Travis Hamonic

Haydn Fleury was in a tough lineup to crack in Carolina. Anybody would have trouble finding good minutes behind the guys they have there. I watched a lot of him and this guy is an NHL player. Easy choice.

Christian Fischer is not game breaker but he is a decent enough player to pick at 1M a year. The coyotes are a team a would like to use a “no thanks” pick on.

Mark Giordano is no longer effective as he once was. He remains a very useful player but at his age I would try and move him to a team at the deadline. He could be the fun “old guy without a cup” to cheer for and recoup good assets for.

Oscar Klefbom is hurt, long term most likely. LTIR to the rescue here, but if he is able to come back, that’s a hell of a player to have.

Carl Grundstrom does not seem to be trending towards his projections when he was a Leafs prospect but I don’t think his play for the Kings is something too much to read into.

Ryan Donato is a traveling man. Depth, depth, depth, depth. He’s fine but San Jose is not giving us much value to pick from.

Travis Hamonic is serviceable and right handed. Try and get him to stay for cheap. If he leaves, nobody is losing sleep over that. Plus there’s no reason to take one of the terrible contracts on the Canucks, let them suffer.

Healthy Skratch – Tyler O’Connor

Anaheim Mighty Ducks – Haydn Fleury
Arizona Coyotes – Christian Fischer
Calgary Flames – Mark Giordano
Edmonton Oilers – Devin Shore
Los Angeles Kings – Blake Lizotte
San Jose Sharks – Dylan Gambrell
Vancouver Canucks –
Madison Bowey

From the Anaheim Ducks I would select Haydn Fleury. A very good skater, with pretty high potential. Was pushed out of Carolina due to the depth on their blue line, but he was drafted by Ron Francis in 2014, so the connection is already there.

From the Arizona Coyotes I would select Christian Fischer. A very competent middle 6 forward.

From the Calgary Flames I would select Mark Giordano. He’s getting up there in age, but with only 1 year remaining on his deal, he’s still very much worth the money. He’s still a high-quality d-man. He’d most likely be their captain too.

From the Edmonton Oilers I would select Devin Shore. A perfectly competent depth forward.

From the Los Angeles Kings I would select Blake Lizotte. A young capable forward, who comes with a cheap price tag. Is not the biggest guy on the ice, but can skate well.

From the San Jose Sharks I would select Dylan Gambrell. Nothing flashy. Wouldn’t carry his line, but he’s perfectly fine. Just fine. You could do worse filling a roster spot.

From the Vancouver Canucks I would select Madison Bowey. A decent defenseman who does make the odd mistake here and there, but who doesn’t. Just like many of the guys on this list, you could do much worse.

L&F – Jared Tweedie & Kaveh Ghidy

Anaheim Mighty Ducks – Haydn Fleury
Arizona Coyotes – Christian Fischer
Calgary Flames – Nikita Nesterov
Edmonton Oilers – Dmitry Kulikov
Los Angeles Kings – Austin Wagner
San Jose Sharks – Ryan Donato
Vancouver Canucks –
Travis Hamonic

From Anaheim we’re going Haydn Fleury. He’s gonna get a shot at cracking this D corps. Christian Fischer is the popular pick out of Arizona and that’s where we’re going too. From Calgary, Nikita Nesterov comes in on the cheap to offer some solid, realizable depth.

Dmitry Kulikov signs for the same as last season and joins the mix. Some of these guys are gonna get moved, it’s all about who fits into the plan. Time will tell for Kulikov. Austin Wagner brings speed and energy from LA, exactly what we’re looking for in the Bottom 6.

Ryan Donato gets a fresh start after failing to carve out a role in San Jose. He’s got talent – here’s hoping we can get it out of him. Finally, from Vancouver, Travis Hamonic comes in to join the wild bunch on the back end. He, like many others on the team, might get traded. But he’s a solid asset to add, and that’s what it’s all about for us here in fakeSeattle.

Hot Sauce – Jon Eamon

Anaheim Mighty Ducks – Haydn Fleury
Arizona Coyotes – Christian Fischer
Calgary Flames – Oliver Kylington
Edmonton Oilers – Oscar Klefbom
Los Angeles Kings – Blake Lizotte
San Jose Sharks – Kurtis Gabriel
Vancouver Canucks –
Brogan Rafferty

In the Pacific Division there was a clear trend for my team to acquire young promising player’s who are worth taking a gamble on. Not to mention they come with low cap hits to round out this roster. Hayden Fleury kicks off this list out of Anaheim, who has yet to live up to expectations but still has potential to be a top 4 defenseman quickly.

Christian Fischer was an easy pick from the Coyotes. He has scored double digits goals twice in his career and would appear to be the perfect candidate for a fresh start. The same can be said about Oliver Kylington who has had some lofty expectations after being drafted by the Flames. He struggled to get into the line up last season but again, with his contract he is a gamble worth taking in the hopes that the collection of young defenseman the Kraken will take will all push each other in a fight for playing time.

Some may see Klefbom as a lose/lose scenario but I am not one of them as I see no downside to this selection. If Klefbom is able to get back to form then Seattle will steal a mobile puck moving defenseman who can QB a Power Play. If he remains injured he can be shifted to LTIR for cap space.

Blake Lizotte was an unfortunate odd man out for the Kings as he has shown a lot of promise in his small sample size to date. The Kings have plethora of young talent so they can afford to lose one guy who will be a great fit with an expansion team. Kurtis Gabriel is the final player selected out of California and how can you not want this guy on your team. The Sharks have little to offer but Gabriel is a player who will run through a wall for his teammates and that has not gone unnoticed. That is the type of attitude you want on an expansion roster.

Finally out of Vancouver I went a little off the beaten path in Brogan Rafferty who is another player worth rolling the dice on. He finished third in scoring among defenseman in the AHL two seasons ago and should make a push for the starting 6 in Seattle.

Admittedly the roster I put together will require a lot of work from GM Ron Francis. 11 player I selected are UFA/RFAs and require a contract while an additional 11 players will be in their contract year, but this is what I was going for, for two reasons. The first being all of the latter 11 players will be competing not only for a spot on this year’s roster but a contract for the future.

The second and more important factor is that this will give the Kraken a lot of trade bait material for contending teams should they stumble out of the gate. Seattle will not get the same treatment Vegas got in their expansion draft in terms of assets acquired to not pick certain players. One way to force that argument for the Kraken is to control the trade market at next year’s deadline in order to position themselves for the future.

Thank you for joining us for what hopes to be the first of many successful collabs between the three! Who’s team do you like best? Is there a player we missed? Let us know in the comments and enjoy the Kraken feeding frenzy!

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! If you enjoyed our Expansion Series you have to check out this week’s episode of Healthy Skratch. Spence, Kris and Tyler break down everything in the NHL since Tampa Bay won the Stanley Cup including a few more spicy takes on the Expansion Draft!

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