The Seattle expansion draft is set for this summer after a Stanley Cup Champion is crowned. The Kraken will be allowed to pick one player from the Maple Leafs to add to their roster.
The draft allows you to either protect 7F/3D/1G or 9 skaters (9F/D/G) The Leafs don’t have an abundance of solid forwards with some term (outside of the big four). For those reasons, I would go with 9 skaters using it either with 4F/4D/1G or 5F/3D/1G.
Starting with 4-4-1
Forwards: The obvious are the big four, no need to explain that
Defensemen: I presume you could predict who I would protect. Rielly, Brodie, Muzzin and Holl would be my choice and the obvious ones.
Goaltending: Now this gets interesting. Frederik Andersen is on the last year of his contract and is the best G the Leafs have. Jack Campbell’s contract ends in 2022 and would be my choice to protect. If the Leafs plan to keep Frederik Andersen past this season, it’s pretty much guaranteed that Dubas and Pridham would choose to sign him after the draft. It’s unlikely that Seattle picks Andersen as a free agent. Jack Campbell has proven to be a great backup Goaltender and leaving him unprotected could lead to his departure to Seattle.
Who I would protect if the Leafs choose to
Matthews, Tavares, Marner, Nylander
Rielly, Brodie, Muzzin, Holl
Second choice: 5F/3D/1G
Forwards: Again, you obviously protect the big four and you might be leaning towards also protecting workhorse Zach Hyman. While Hyman is a great player, the same goes for him as it goes for Andersen, contract wise. I 100% believe the Leafs want to keep Zach but he’s also currently on the last year of his contract. I would leave him unprotected and sign him after the expansion draft. Now, who’s the 5th forward you protect? Enter, mystery forward... Elliotte Friedman has said multiple times that the team will likely acquire a top 6 forward prior to the trade deadline. If the Leafs choose to acquire a rental (ex: Mikael Granlund), you could do the same thing as you would do with Hyman and leave him unprotected and sign him after the expansion draft (in that case, we would protect 4-4-1). If we decide to acquire a top 6 forward