Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft – Dallas Stars Edition

Feb 24, 2021; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (3) celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the first period at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 24, 2021; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (3) celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the first period at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

We are 146 days from the Seattle Kraken NHL expansion draft and it has never felt so close. While I understand that is actually reality, it feels like its practically in our backyards now with this season humming along. For most teams at least.

READER NOTE: There are many rules and regulations that pour into the expansion draft that have no value in this article. Feel free to research any information you may have questions about.

NHL clubs have two roster options for protecting players:

  • 7 forwards, 3 defenders & 1 goaltender
  • 8 skaters & 1 goaltender

There is one rule or regulation I am going to cover as it is relevant to this Dallas Stars roster.

NHL clubs must protect all players provided with a No Movement Clause (NMC). Dallas is one of three NHL clubs to feature four or more players with a NMC. Those players are Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Ben Bishop and Alexander Radulov.

Long Shot Selections

Jamie Oleksiak

Few NHL players embody their nickname like Jamie Oleksiak. Known as ‘The Big Rig’, he fits the description with his physical body; alongside, as well, his play on the ice. However, it is unlikely that the Seattle Kraken will get their hands on the only non-protected Stars Top-4 defender in the expansion draft.

One reason. Miro Heiskanen. Also, he is a UFA (Unrestricted Free Agent) following this season. So, two reasons.

Dallas has played to their defensive strengths well over the past two seasons, much of this praise to the pairing of Oleksiak with the talented Miro Heiskanen. This duo led the NHL last season in xGA/60 (Goals Against per 60 minutes) of those serving a minimum 400 minutes together. They have visible chemistry on the ice.

Alongside Heisknanen and in part to Dallas’ offensive/defensive schemes, Oleksiak has seen an increase in his ability to jump into the offensive zone since joining the Stars; a part of the game he covets.

This strongly matters because following the current season, Oleksiak is a UFA. This means that upon being selected by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft, he would field contract offers from all outside teams in concurrency with the Kraken. Including the Dallas Stars.

Nick Caamano

With Joel Kiviranta and Jason Robertson protected by service time exemptions, Nick Caamano is the most experienced, youngest skater that Dallas could potentially offer in the expansion draft. However, he comes with a set of rules all his own. This is going to sound like a math problem, apologies.

This COVID season is 56 games long. Caamano has to play in 40 games to qualify for the expansion draft. This equals 71.4% of total games played.

While Caamano currently fulfills that request on the head (10/14), BlackoutDallas does not predict that he will qualify for the expansion draft.

He is a full ice skater and a more polished all around presence than Jason Robertson, though you could argue Robertson’s value to this team is best served one dimensionally at the moment, but Caamano will find minutes hard to come by as Dallas squeezes out further off the Injured Reserve.

Possible Selections

Joe Pavelski

Put a √ mark next to the protected slot for Joe Pavelski. Pencil it in.

BlackoutDallas has Captain America occupying the seventh forward slot of their protection roster. To be honest, its not a complicated affair.

Dallas has not solved their offensive riddles of the 2019-2020 season. At 36-years-old, Pavelski is far and alone the Dallas Stars top offensive contributor to date this season. With a question mark surrounding the scoring output of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin moving forward, Dallas does not have the firepower to wave Pavelski off. He spent much of last season settling in and with this being a shortened season, the idea of a full Western Conference campaign in ‘Victory Green’ excites greatly in 2021-2022.

Alongside recent line mate Alexander Radulov, he is slated to be a UFA following the 2021-2022 season. While it currently stings to think about, the Dallas Stars could benefit from having roughly 20% of their cap space open up in succession or, alternatively, the ability to choose which 10% to follow. Future circumstances considered.

Anton Khudobin

It is safe to say that the Dallas Stars would prefer the Seattle Kraken look the way of goaltender Anton Khudobin.

Cornerstone Ben Bishop holds a NMC (No Movement Clause) while rookie net minder Jake Oettinger is a whole teenager younger and almost certainly a steal at/under $1m in cap space upon becoming an RFA following next season. It is not out of the question, however.

Anton Khudobin led the NHL in save percentage (.930) just a year ago and is again sniffing around that mark this season (.928). He has a smaller frame but positions his body well to compliment his skill-set in net and is well versed at integrating into new systems, locker rooms. His contract runs through the 2022-2023 season at a flat cap rate of $3.33m, which hovers around market average for goaltenders available to Seattle.

BlackoutDallas predicts that the Seattle Kraken will look to Vancouver or Columbus for their starting goaltender. Both clubs trend to lack an unprotected tide-changing younger skater while both will offer one side of their goaltender duo with upsides across the board.

Predicted Selection

Jason Dickinson

Jason Dickinson fits the mold for an NHL expansion draft to a T.

Incoming teams have ample time to research third, fourth line NHL forwards – often not protected – and pluck them to serve larger, more conducive roles on a new squad. Dickinson has always played musical chairs in Dallas. Seattle could offer him a partner in crime – or two – via the draft, where his skills would be complimented nightly on the ice. BlackoutDallas covered this need recently.

Dickinson has become an opportunity creator over his time in Dallas. Seen on the fore-check consistently, known for heads up play on the ice. He served just six penalty minutes last season while suiting up for nearly a thousand total minutes.

Set to be an RFA at the end of this current season, this means that while the Seattle Kraken would have to structure a deal with Dickinson following the expansion draft, they have the rights to be heard first with any offer.

NOTE: Anaheim left-winger Sonny Milano, whom BlackoutDallas predicts will head to Seattle, would likely fit well into a line with Dickinson in the Pacific Northwest.

Protection Roster:

  • Tyler Seguin (NMC)
  • Jamie Benn (NMC)
  • Alexander Radulov (NMC)
  • Radek Faksa
  • Roope Hintz
  • Denis Gurianov
  • Joe Pavelski
  • Esa Lindell
  • Miro Heiskanen
  • John Klingberg
  • Ben Bishop (NMC)

Let us know your suggestions, comments below. You can always find BlackoutDallas on Facebook or Twitter; @BlackoutDallas.