The Seattle Kraken have made their selections in their Expansion Draft. They have plucked one player from each of the 30 eligible teams to give them a head start on establishing their inaugural roster. The Blackhawks were one of those teams. How did the Kraken’s selection affect them?
Going into the Expansion Draft, there was a lot of discussion around who the ‘Hawks would protect, and who they would expose to the Kraken to be potentially selected. Ultimately, they submitted their list, and then the conversation started about who the Kraken would select from the available talent.
There were rumors that they like Nikita Zadorov. There were other rumors that said they would take Calvin de Haan. I even read one that said they would select Ryan Carpenter. Others claimed that the potential and upside of Adam Gaudette would be tantalizing to the Kraken, or that Malcolm Subban would be a solid choice as a backup goaltender.
I am pretty sure that no one predicted that the Kraken would take John Quenneville. The 25 year-old former first-round pick came to the ‘Hawks in a swap of forwards who needed a change of scenery, with John Hayden going the other way to New Jersey in 2019.
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He played a total of 9 games for the ‘Hawks in the regular season (0 points), and 2 playoff games in the bubble (0 points). Because he had not accrued the minimum amount of games by age 25, he qualified as a Group 6 Unrestricted Free Agent. This means he is not under contract, and has not shown enough in his limited time to be of much use to the Kraken.
So why take him? Why not take a flyer on Adam Gaudette, or take an experienced D-man in Zadorov or de Haan? My only guess at this point is that they wanted to check the box that they took someone from the ‘Hawks, but have no interest in signing him or keeping him around unless it’s on an AHL contract.
So how does this affect the Blackhawks?
The simple answer is it doesn’t. I’m sure the Hawks wouldn’t have minded if the Kraken took de Haan’s $4.5M salary off their books, or removed a potential headache in Zadorov (reportedly asking for close to $5M in his next contract), but outside of that, they only lose a player who was a UFA, and likely not to be brought back anyway.
Stan can breathe a sigh of relief, and get ready for the next test: The NHL Draft, which starts Friday at 7pm CST.