With the Stanley Cup playoffs officially over, attention turns to the offseason and there is no bigger 2021 summer hockey storyline than the Seattle Kraken expansion. Joining the NHL as the league’s 32nd team, the Kraken are set to begin play in the 2021-22 NHL season.
The Kraken can shop for some of the league’s biggest free agents, but the main method of filling out their roster is through the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. This summer’s expansion picks will be made on July 21, 2021, and, as the Vegas Golden Knights did, Seattle will get to select a player from every other NHL team (except Vegas). Each team can protect a set number of players but must expose at least two forwards, one defenseman and a goaltender. Teams must submit their protection lists by July 17.
Seattle Kraken Prop Bets: First Season Wagers
Bovada has also provided prop bets for Seattle’s inaugural season in the NHL. We’ve included those bets and our picks below:
In the 2017 NHL expansion, the Vegas Golden Knights completed 10 pre-draft trades to acquire players, picks and bad contracts. Due to the immediate success of the Golden Knights and some of the prime assets they got out of their pre-draft deals (Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault, Alex Tuch), teams may be scared to deal with the Kraken.
While some organizations might still try to work out a deal with Seattle prior to the draft, most teams have learned from 2017 and most GMs will refuse to trade with the Kraken, making UNDER 7.5 the smart play.
In the last full season of NHL hockey (2018-19), only one team failed to reach 30 wins. If you expect the Seattle Kraken to be one of the worst teams in the league, then wager on the UNDER for this bet.
Most modern expansion teams, however, attempt to be at least relatively competitive in the first season to appease a new fan base. Expecting Seattle to go on a run like Vegas did in 2018 would be ridiculous, but reaching 35 wins is certainly an attainable level of competition for the new squad.
Where to Find NHL Expansion Draft Odds?
Bovada has provided full selection odds for which player will be taken from each NHL team, and those can be found below.
Odds as of June 29 at Bovada
NHL Expansion Draft Odds: Who Will Seattle Take?
At just 23 years old, former first-round pick and top prospect Sam Steel would be the obvious choice for the Kraken if the Ducks leave him exposed. Steel’s +120 odds imply a 45.45 percent chance he will be Seattle’s selection.
As he is a pending UFA, the Kraken would have to offer Annti Raanta some cash, or a starting job at the very least, to entice him to stay. Therefore, the Kraken will more likely select a bottom-six winger on a cheap contract like Johan Larsson (+140) or Tyler Pitlick (+300).
If left unprotected, the 25-year-old Nick Ritchie can bring a physical goal-scoring prescence to a Kraken team that will quickly need to establish an identity.
Selecting Cody Eakin worked out well for another recent expansion team, but if the Sabres leave 22-year-old Casey Mittelstadt unprotected, he’s the obvious choice. With 22 points in 41 games last season, the center was recently seen as a potential savior for the Sabres’ depth scoring issues.
Derek Ryan is a pending free agent and Milan Lucic is on an anvil of a contract, so stay away from those two markets when betting on the Flames selection. If the organization leaves its captain, Mark Giordano, exposed, it could be hard for Seattle to pass on the veteran, but young defenseman Oliver Kylington presents the best NHL expansion draft odds value at +250.
At EVEN money, the books seem to think Warren Foegele is the obvious choice for Seattle and they aren’t wrong. The 25-year-old winger has hit double-digit goals in each of the last three seasons and had over 120 hits in 2018-19. Young defenseman Jake Bean offers some value at +250, but Foegele, if unprotected, is likely the choice.
|Calvin de Haan||+250|
Though Seattle has to find its goaltending somewhere, I’m not convinced they’ll spend a netminder pick on Subban. With a career .901 save percentage at age 27, the Blackhawks backup is aging out of his once high potential. At +140, 24-year-old depth forward Adam Gaudette is the best bet.
As one of the most loaded teams in the NHL, the Avalanche will lose a quality player to the Kraken. Nabbing a top young defender like Ryan Graves, who led the league in plus/minus in 2019-20, would be a steal for the Kraken, and at +400, he should provide equally good value to expansion draft bettors.
Max Domi is a well-known asset who would catch a lot of eyes on this list, but it’s unlikely the Kraken take a risk on a high-paid player who will miss much of next season after shoulder surgery. Nyquist, too, is recovering from a major injury, leaving the lesser-known Eric Robinson and Dean Kukan as Seattle’s best options.
A year ago, Anton Khudobin’s value could not have been higher, leading the NHL in save percentage (.930) and winning 16 games in 26 starts. After a tough 2021, the Kraken may stay away from the well-paid 34-year-old goaltender and instead opt for mid-20s forward Jason Dickinson.
As one of the worst teams in the NHL, the Red Wings aren’t at risk of losing a significant pro asset. Vlad Namestnikov has been passed around in recent years and Danny DeKeyser’s value isn’t what it once was. This is a market I'd stay away from, but if you are betting on a Red Wings pick, just grab the best line in Dennis Cholowski at +400.
Recovering from an injury that held him out last year, and could force him to miss all of next season, Oscar Klefbom’s value has never been lower. But with scarce other options to add upside to their team, the Kraken could take a risk on the injured Oiler defender.
Anthony Duclair revived his career in Ottawa and continued his productive play last season in Florida. With 32 points in 43 games, the 25-year-old Duclair could immediately step into Seattle’s top six and provide a long-term forward solution.
The Kings are at a point in their competitive window that they aren’t exposing any of their veteran talent or future stars. Former top prospect Lias Andersson has moved around the league and failed to latch on to an NHL team but the Kraken could take a risk on the former seventh overall pick.
If the Kraken want a Day 1 starting goaltender on a reasonable contract who has performed like a starter for the last few years, Cam Talbot is their guy. Seattle could go young or very old at the goaltending position, but Talbot provides a happy medium with a career .915 save percentage and two years left on a $3.7-million AAV contract.
Jake Allen is another potential goaltending option for Seattle, but one of forwards Paul Byron or Jonathan Drouin will likely be a member of the Kraken if they choose to address goaltending elsewhere. Ben Chiarot was key in Montreal’s 2021 playoff run, but as a pending free agent it wouldn’t make much sense for Seattle to select him.
With heavy contracts still owed to Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene, the Predators may entice the Kraken to select one of the two veteran forwards with an additional trade piece or draft pick. With just three years left ($8 million AAV) on his deal, Johansen might be the easier sell. If Nashville doesn’t dangle a piece for Seattle to take one of their contracts, Jarnkrok is the obvious pick.
Even after a tough 2021 season, Andreas Johnsson provides the best value for the Devils pick, and perhaps some of the best value from the entire NHL expansion draft odds. A young, dynamic energy forward, Johnsson is the perfect hungry winger for an expansion team to add to its bottom six.
Josh Bailey or Nick Leddy would immediately step in and become a top-pair defender or first-line forward for the Kraken. If New York doesn’t offer Seattle a side deal, they can take their pick between the two.
Keith Kinkaid at +200 is a solid line to bet on Seattle’s backup or third-string goaltender, but the most important aspect of this market is a bet to avoid. Tony DeAngelo became persona non grata in New York last season due to fights within the team. It is hard to see Seattle taking a risk on a player whose former team is ready to buy him out due to off-ice issues.
Seattle is unlikely to take Nikita Zaitsev’s long-term contract, but both Chris Tierney and Logan Brown provide solid middle-six forward help and will be the Kraken’s likely options.
|James van Riemsdyk||+120|
Any of these Flyers could step in and become one of Seattle’s top assets. Patrick, the former No. 2 overall pick, would be an obvious upside selection if left unprotected, but James van Riemsdyk is likely to be exposed and could become the top scorer and top-line winger in Seattle’s opening-night lineup.
If Tristan Jarry is left available, the Kraken could become the latest expansion team to nab a starting goaltender from the Penguins. The more likely pick, as the NHL expansion draft odds indicate, is veteran scoring winger Jason Zucker.
Of the players listed here, Dylan Gambrell is the most likely Seattle pick to slot in on their fourth line. However, RFA Ryan Donato, unlisted in these odds, seems like the most likely future Kraken at this time.
There’s almost no chance the Blues lose their star winger in Tarasenko for nothing to Seattle, so his +800 odds aren’t worth considering. All of Sanford, Dunn and Sundqvist provide a capable young NHLer for Seattle to choose from. At +140, Dunn is the most likely selection due to the dearth of other top-four defensive options.
All four of these options showcased their value during Tampa’s back-to-back Stanley Cup runs the last two years. With 374 career points before his age 30 season, Palat could slide into Seattle’s top six on Day 1. Tampa could, however, try to entice the Kraken with a draft pick to help out their well-documented cap troubles and take a player like Tyler Johnson.
As one of the only minus-money favorites on this list, Alex Kerfoot is the clear Toronto selection for the Kraken. The only thing that can save Kerfoot from becoming a member of the NHL’s newest team is if Toronto deals him prior to the draft.
Vancouver signed Braden Holtby last season knowing they would have to expose him to Seattle this year, but after a shaky season for the second straight year, it is hard to see Seattle valuing him over other goalies around the league. The Canucks could try to prompt a Louis Eriksson pick, but at +200 Madison Bowey provides the best value.
|Trevor van Riemsdyk||+200|
On a reasonable $1.9-million AAV contract, Trevor van Riemsdyk could become the first player to be taken in back-to-back modern NHL expansion drafts. Seattle’s choice likely comes down to if they prefer TVR, or another cheap but productive defenseman in Nick Jensen.
With a stacked forward group, the Jets are likely to lose a winger or centerman to Seattle. Andrew Copp scored 39 points in 55 games last year and would be a solid middle-six C for the Kraken, if Winnipeg leaves him available to be taken.
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