Offseason Update: Oct. 6, Day 1 of NHL Draft

Welcome to Emerald City Hockey’s Offseason Update. Throughout the offseason, I’ll post updates examining what’s happening around the NHL and how it affects the Kraken. Make sure to keep checking in as the page will be updated as more news breaks.

Last update: October 6th, 9:46PM

Buyouts

The day’s news began with a pair of buyouts. The Detroit Red Wings will buy out the remaining three years of winger Justin Abdelkader‘s contract and the Montreal Canadiens will buy out the remaining two years of defenseman Karl Alzner‘s contract.

While neither of those players will be on Seattle’s radar, one thing Kraken fans should look for with these buyouts is how they can free up immediate cap space which teams can then trade for assets.

Let’s use Detroit’s Abdelkader buyout as an example. The Red Wings didn’t have to buy out Abdelkader this year. While Abdelkader’s buyout frees up $2.44m in cap space (according to capfriendly.com) for Detroit this coming season, they were never in any danger of exceeding the salary cap. In fact, waiting to buy out Abdelkader would seem to be advantageous. If the Red Wings waited until next year to buy him out, his buyout would only be on their payroll for four years instead of six. Why do it now then?

The answer lies in how that $2.44m in extra cap space can be used. Although the Red Wings don’t need it to fit under the cap, they can leverage that cap space to take on other team’s undesirable contracts, for a substantial fee of course. They’ve already done it once this offseason when they took on the final year of Marc Staal’s contract last week, gaining a 2nd round pick in the process. Detroit GM Steve Yzerman must believe the assets he could get for that cap space will outweigh the cost of the buyout.

Detroit’s actions could provide a template for Seattle’s plans next summer. The Kraken will have more free cap space than anyone and will surely take advantage of that position.

Domi – Anderson Trade

The first notable trade of the day came two hours before the Draft began. The Montreal Canadiens acquired right winger Josh Anderson from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for center Max Domi and a 2020 3rd round pick.

At first glance, it appears that the Blue Jackets got the better end of the trade. Domi is a more productive player than Anderson which makes me question why Montreal was the team to add a pick. That said, the trade can’t be properly evaluated until both players sign contract extensions. They’re both restricted free agents and will need new contracts. It’s likely that Domi’s cap hit will turn out to be much higher than Anderson’s. If it is, maybe Montreal will get more bang for their buck.

This trade doesn’t change Seattle’s outlook for the Expansion Draft. Both players will almost certainly be protected by their teams and therefore unavailable for the Kraken to select.

Brendan Dillon Re-Signs with Washington

Brendan Dillon signed a four year extension with the Washington Capitals with a cap hit of $3.9m. The former Seattle Thunderbirds defenseman was acquired in a trade deadline deal with the San Jose Sharks.

The Dillon extension adds to an already crowded Capitals blueline that could be a target for the Kraken in the Expansion Draft. Washington now has six valuable defensemen under team control past the Expansion Draft: John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov, Brendan Dillon, Jonas Siegenthaler, Nick Jensen, and Michal Kempny. They can only protect three.

Although Caps forward TJ Oshie is a fan favorite target from Washington, the Kraken will have some good defense options to choose from too.

More Talent in the Pacific Division

Six Pacific Division teams made picks in the first round of tonight’s draft. Expect to see a lot of these players playing for Seattle’s future rivals over the next decade:

The Los Angeles Kings picked Quinton Byfield 2nd overall. The 6’4 center became the highest drafted black player in NHL history. He projects as a #1 center with superstar upside.

The Anaheim Ducks selected defenseman Jamie Drysdale 6th overall and right wing Jacob Perreault 27th overall. Drysdale is a two-way defenseman with excellent skating who many thought would be the first defenseman selected in the draft. Perreault, son of former NHLer Yanic Perreault, has one of the best shots in the draft class and could be a steal at pick 27.

The Edmonton Oilers drafted left wing Dylan Holloway with the 14th pick. Holloway is a two-way forward who scored 17 points in 35 games in his freshman season with the University of Wisconsin. The Oilers likely envision him playing on Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl’s wing in a few years.

The Calgary Flames took center Connor Zary with the 24th overall pick. The Flames originally owned the 19th pick but traded down twice, first to pick 22 then again to pick 24. The Flames acquired two 3rd round picks in the process as Flames GM Brad Treliving smartly added two high value picks while only moving down five spots. Zary has a great shot and put up an impressive 86 points in 57 games for the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers last season.

The Vegas Golden Knights selected center Brendan Brisson with the 29th pick. Brisson’s father, Pat Brisson, is the most powerful agent in hockey with active clients’ contracts valuing over $1 billion. Brendan grew up around hockey his entire life and projects as a top-2 center in the NHL.

With the final pick in the 1st round, the San Jose Sharks selected Ozzy Wiesblatt. In a very classy gesture, Sharks Director of Scouting Doug Wilson Jr. signed Ozzy’s name in ASL as he announced the pick so Wiesblatt’s deaf mother could share in the moment.

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