The NHL’s maiden voyage with new U.S. broadcast partner ESPN had all of the snap and vigor of a Sunday afternoon ECHL game at the end of a three-in-three. The Seattle Kraken expansion draft was a cringy slopfest that lacked analysis or personality. Guest presenters mispronounced player names, the broadcast tried to pass off Kevin Weekes’ segments that announced the picks as “live,” but we knew from Instagram leaks, obvious logistics, and host Chris Fowler’s embarrassed tosses the segments were recorded on Tuesday. The Pittsburgh Penguins lost Brandon Tanev, as Seattle GM Ron Francis passed on nearly all big names available, but since the NHL trade market is closed until 1 p.m. on Thursday, the league refused to announce the Seattle side-deals during the broadcast.
Say nothing of the leaks that provided 29 of the 30 picks by mid-day Thursday. The reporters, especially Frank Seravalli, did a good job breaking stories, but that info should have been under lock and key. The NHL clearly sprang a leak that sank their ship even before the dubious broadcast.
A senior editor from a national publication texted me, “Are you watching this??” That’s probably all that needed to be said.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The Penguins traded Jared McCann to Toronto to avoid losing him. Then lost Brandon Tanev. The nearly $6.5 million saved won’t be enough to replace them, nor will it be enough to also address other needs. Did the Penguins and GM Ron Hextall outthink themselves?
And Seattle took Jared McCann from Toronto, so the Maple Leafs only lost prospect Filip Hallander in the process.
Seattle signed defensemen Adam Larsson and Jamie Oleksiak to free-agent contracts. We updated our story to include ALL 30 picks and the Kraken cap space.
Here’s the new Puckpedia Seattle Kraken roster and cap page.
NHL News & National Hockey Now…
Sportsnet: Kraken playing the long game–building for the future.
Boston Hockey Now: Could the Bruins make a run at Conor Garland? How about hitting the NHL trade market for a Milan Lucic return? Joe Haggerty likes the chances in his mailbag.
NYI: Our boys in Long Island sure like Long Island. We’ll question their sanity later. Stefan Rosner writes–are the Islanders becoming a destination team?
Philly: Losing Carsen Twarynski may not sound like much to fans outside of Philadelphia, but it could reroute the Philadelphia Flyers’ entire offseason. It was a big deal.
Even without a Penguins jersey, Ron Francis stuck it to the Flyers, who are stuck with their bloated contracts to Jakub Voracek, Shayne Gostisbehere, and $7 million to 32-year-old James van Riemsdyk.
Washington: The Pittsburgh Penguins’ rival Washington Capitals have some drama brewing. Sammi Silber tackles the NHL trade market for Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie’s role next season.
Detroit: The Red Wings. The ONLY team in the NHL to keep their expansion pick secret. It was the ONLY slice of drama in the NHL broadcast on ESPN. The Red Wings lost faded prospect defenseman Dennis Cholowski–probably good for both sides.
Florida: Goalie Chris Driedger toiled as a backup in Florida but broke through this season. He pushed aside the $10 million Sergei Bobrovsky for playing time. Now the former journeyman goalie has a team that is his; Driedger is excited to be a Kraken.
And last but not least:
San Jose: You may not have heard of Alexander True. Someone on the ESPN broadcast quickly slipped in the line, “He’s not guaranteed to be on the Kraken roster next season.” So who is Alexander True, and why in the world did Ron Francis select him?