I hope everyone is doing well today! Its an exciting time in the NHL. There are lots of interesting names of players around the league who were or were not protected for the upcoming expansion draft. Here is a list of the Capitals protected players:
1. Nicklas Backstrom
2. Evgeny Kuznetsov
3. T.J. Oshie
4. Anthony Mantha
5. Tom Wilson
6. Lars Eller
7. Daniel Sprong
1. John Carlson
2. Dmitry Orlov
3. Trevor Van Riemsdyk
1. Ilya Samsonov
1. Protecting Sprong – In my last article, I actually tried to predict the 7th forward the Capitals would protect and I ultimately landed on Sprong. He is one of the best players in the league in G/60 and he seems to have found a fit here in D.C. His cap hit is only $725K. This protection selection was made equally because of Sprong's offensive potential in a larger role, as well as his low cap hit. The move also exposes guys like Sheary, Dowd, and Hagelin on offense.
2. Trevor Van Riemsdyk– While not completing surprising, it should be noted that TVR was the third defensemen protected. The writing was really on the wall on March 31st when the Capitals re-signed TVR mid-season for a two-year deal worth $1.9M. TVR had only played nine of his 20 games played last season when that deal was signed. While not ultra productive offensively, TVR passed the eye test and certainly can play his role for defense. This is another good move for future cap considerations without compromising skill on the ice. The odd men out on defense are Justin Schultz, Brenden Dillon, and Nick Jensen. If I had to put money on it, Id say the Kraken are certainly going to select a Dman from the Caps at this point. If I were the Kraken, I would take Justin Schultz.
3. Ilya Samsonov Gets the Nod – I don’t think this comes as a surprise either. While there has been some fan rumblings and campaigning for Vanecek to get protected, the Caps ultimately went with Samsonov. Both Samsonov and Vanecek were up and down last season. For goalies who had a minimum of 10 starts, Vanecek was ranked 31st in SV% and 37th in GAA. Samsonov ranked 45th in SV% and 38th in GAA. Vanecek holds the advantage over Sammy in both categories. Statistically speaking, the argument to keep Vanecek over Samsonov was certainly there. Between COVID and injuries, Samsonov was in and out of the lineup all last season. But man when Sammy was on...boy was he on! I feel we still have not seen the best from Sammy. I am confident he will shine in a full season if he can stay healthy. I am happy the Caps protected Samsonov. I think with Vanecek’s numbers last season and the temptation of other more proven players on the Capitals squad, I think the Kraken steer clear of Vanecek. The Kraken could look to draft other goalies like Price, Kähkönen, Driedger, or Quick. Maybe if they are really considering cap, they would look more closely at Vanecek but I just dont see it happening.
SO....Which Player From the Capitals Will the Kraken Select in the Upcoming Expansion Draft?
Here is the Poll:
Which Player From the Capitals Will the Kraken Select in the Upcoming Expansion Draft?