Welcome to 2021, where a fish tells us who’s Kraken. (It was a rehearsal, but it also may have been one of the best promo ideas in recent memory.) We’re less than 24 hours from unveiling Seattle’s expansion picks, and here’s what’s out there:
• It’s strikingly quiet. Those who worked through the 2017 Vegas expansion say that process was “much louder” than this one. There’s been much less communication with other teams from Seattle than there was from the Golden Knights. Does that mean Seattle has fewer trades planned? We’ll see. But, they’ve definitely not been as active across the league.
• They’ve targeted some free agents. What’s going to be interesting is if that means those players are going to be Seattle’s selection from other NHL teams, or the Kraken are going to know they have a deal “in the drawer,” and take a second player from certain clubs. Two teams to watch for — Florida and St. Louis. The Kraken are locked-in on Panthers goalie Chris Driedger. Do they also add someone like Frank Vatrano, or is Driedger the pick? They’re also interested in Jaden Schwartz. If they’re convinced they’ve got something, do they add Schwartz now, or take Vince Dunn and add the winger later? No confirmation on this, but a couple teams think the Kraken like Blake Coleman, too.
(Wednesday morning update: there are some legs to this free agency theory. The Kraken pursued both Adam Larsson and Jamie Oleksiak. Again, do these count as the picks from Dallas and/or Edmonton? Or do they add a second player?)
• On Carey Price: boy, this is so close to call. They’ve done their deep dive and know everything there is to know. The Canadiens seem to think it’s possible they lose a defenceman (Cale Fleury, Brett Kulak) instead. What a wild story this turned into. At the very least, the Kraken wanted Montreal to sweat and if they’d pay to keep Price.
• One NHL player offered to bet Monday night that Mark Giordano would be Seattle’s first captain. I didn’t take it.
• The momentum is gaining with Boston and Taylor Hall. Word is Hall wants to stay and the Bruins want to keep him. Nothing is done until it’s done, but there’s a path.
• Mentioned the other day about the possibility of Patrik Laine playing for his $7.5 million qualifying offer in 2021-22. That process is begun. The only hurdle might be if there’s any chance the Blue Jackets move him.
• Out of the NHL, Dave Cameron is coming back from Europe to replace Arizona’s Andre Tourigny as coach of OHL Ottawa. He’ll also replace Tourigny as the World Junior coach for Canada.
• Looking forward to tomorrow. Should be fun.