The Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft is five days away. The Boston Bruins and every other team in the NHL, except for the Vegas Golden Knights, and will lose one player. Who that player will be is anyone’s guess, but whoever it is, how big of a loss will it be?
The Bruins, along with the rest of the teams have to submit their protection lists to the NHL tonight. The NHL is expected to make the lists public Sunday.
The Bruins protection list is expected to be pretty straightforward with the common 7-3-1 method being used. Seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie.
If that’s the case, then the Bruins are expected to leave some of their young players exposed and could lose a defenseman or forward. It would be stunning if the Kraken selected the Boston goalie, which is expected to be Dan Vladar, but hey, stranger things have happened.
If the Bruins lost a blueliner, it’s expected that either Jeremy Lauzon, Connor Clifton, or Jakub Zboril would be the obvious choice for Seattle. If I was selecting for the Kraken, I would take Lauzon. He is 24 years old, but is a valuable penalty killer, could play a second pairing depending on who else is on the roster, and is a tough player that is not afraid to be physical. Of the three defensemen mentioned above, he has the most upside.
Clifton would bring more experience, but he is the older of the three and his upside is not as high as Lauzon’s. Clifton has done a nice job of filling in on defense for the Bruins between the Toronto 2020 playoff bubble and this past season when he was pressed into 42 regular-season games because of injuries.
Zboril is someone that would be an interesting selection by the Kraken, but despite making the Boston roster out of training camp this past season on the third pairing with Kevan Miller, who announced his retirement this past week on Instagram, the 2021 56-game shortened season was a struggle for Zboril.
Between injuries and inconsistent play, he found himself on the outside looking in during the playoffs, even when injuries continued to pile up for coach Bruce Cassidy’s crew. It’s been six years since the Bruins selected Zboril 13th overall in the 2015 Entry Draft and his development to this point is not what Boston had hoped for.
As far as the forwards go, that’s where the protection list gets interesting. Is Trent Frederic protected and if not, does Seattle pick him? Is Nick Ritchie or Ondrej Kase two players that the Kraken would take a flyer on? What if Jake DeBrusk is left unprotected? I doubt he’s left unprotected, but would be someone that Kraken wants to build their forwards around?
There’s no doubt that someone from the Bruins roster who played a role last season will be selected. Who will that be? Who would be the biggest loss? We will see Wednesday night.