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Fantasy spin: Kraken NHL Expansion Draft

Most valuable Seattle players for inaugural season after roster selections

by Fantasy Hockey Staff @NHLFantasy

NHL.com identifies the most valuable players in fantasy hockey for next season who were selected by the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft presented by Upper Deck. For more fantasy coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy and subscribe for free to the NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast.

 

MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: Top 250 | Offseason tracker

 

NOTE: Players are listed in order of NHL.com fantasy rank.

 

KRAKEN FANTASY RANKINGS

Chris Driedger, G (from FLA) -- He was 21-8-4 with a .931 save percentage and four shutouts in 35 appearances over the past two seasons, a sample size big enough to suggest he could be the No. 1 starter for the Seattle Kraken to start the season. That said, Driedger's peripherals could decline with the increased volume of starts and likely not as much goal support as he had with the Florida Panthers (3.36 goals per game; T-4th in NHL) last season. Still, Driedger's efficiency (.929 save percentage in 38 regular-season games; best all-time among goalies to play more than 10 games) makes him a fantasy sleeper goalie pick in the middle rounds of a standard 12-team draft.

Jordan Eberle, RW (from NYI) -- He could have the highest point ceiling among Kraken skaters after being selected from the New York Islanders. Over the past two seasons, Eberle combined to score 73 points (32 goals, 41 assists) in 113 regular-season games, fourth on the Islanders in the span, and was also productive in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (25 points in 41 games over span) playing mostly on the top line with center Mathew Barzal. Eberle ranks fourth among NHL right wings in goals (241) and fifth at the position in points (551 in 779 games) since entering the League in 2010-11, highlighted by his career-high 76 points (34 goals, 42 assists) with the Edmonton Oilers in 2011-12. Eberle has joined NHL.com's fantasy top 100 forward rankings ahead of a likely top-line and first power-play role in Seattle's inaugural season.

Tweet from @NHLFantasy: #SeaKraken have 8 players in the fantasy rankings for next season after the Expansion DraftFantasy spin 🔁 via @NHLJensen on @NHLNetwork 🦑 ������ pic.twitter.com/wWlgSS7NEV

Vitek Vanecek, G (from WSH) -- Seattle could have a top 15 fantasy goalie tandem next season with Driedger and Vanecek, one of the most valuable rookies at the position last season with the Washington Capitals; he was 21-10-4 with a .908 SV% and two shutouts in 37 games. Vanecek had the most wins and was tied for the most games played among rookies with Kevin Lankinen (17 wins) of the Chicago Blackhawks. Vanecek, also part of a timeshare in Washington last season when Ilya Samsonov was healthy, could see his win total decline in the short term while competing with Driedger behind an offense with far less forward talent than the Capitals. That said, Vanecek remains a coveted fantasy goalie option in keeper and dynasty leagues and is also worth targeting in the first 12 rounds of a standard league draft.

Vince Dunn, D (from STL) -- He's a potential fantasy gem for Seattle ahead of likely his most prominent NHL role after being overshadowed by former St. Louis Blues teammates Alex Pietrangelo, Colton Parayko, Torey Krug and Justin Faulk over the years. Dunn, limited to 43 games this season because of injury, averaged an NHL career-high 0.47 points per game and could play on the Kraken's first power play and/or top pair at even strength. Dunn, who won the Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues in 2019, has joined the fantasy top 50 defenseman rankings and is a sleeper candidate with 45-point potential next season.

Mark Giordano, D (via CGY) -- The veteran defenseman has a strong fantasy pedigree having won the Norris Trophy in 2018-19 with an NHL career-high 74 points (17 goals, 57 assists) and 221 shots on goal in 78 games with the Calgary Flames. Giordano has not performed close to the same level over the next two seasons but has bounce-back potential with a change of scenery, especially with all the momentum surrounding the expansion Kraken. Giordano also has a high goal-scoring ceiling; he scored a career-high 21 goals in 2015-16, one of his seven seasons with at least 10, and nine in 56 games this season. He is ranked among NHL.com's top 200 overall players after being selected by Seattle.

Yanni Gourde, C/LW/RW (from TBL) -- The forward is expected to miss the start of next season after having shoulder surgery, general manager Ron Francis said Wednesday. That said, Gourde will likely be the Kraken's No. 1 center once he debuts after being selected from the back-to-back defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning. Gourde scored 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) in 56 games last season, a 53-point pace over 82 games, skating on mostly the Lightning's third line. Gourde's best fantasy season came in 2017-18, when he scored 64 points (25 goals, 39 assists) in 82 games.

Jared McCann, C/LW (from TOR) -- Traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday before being selected by the Kraken on Wednesday, McCann has sneaky fantasy upside next season with a chance to play center on the top line with Gourde out and remain in the top six at either center or wing upon Gourde's eventual return. McCann had the highest points-per-game average of his NHL career (0.74; 32 points in 43 games) and scored a career-high 10 power-play points this season with the Penguins. He was a must-add fantasy pickup when he was the No. 2 center behind Sidney Crosby during Evgeni Malkin's injury absence. McCann is worth targeting in the final rounds of standard fantasy drafts or off the waiver wire as a streaming option.

Joonas Donskoi, LW/RW (from COL) -- He was one of the most reliable secondary scorers for the Colorado Avalanche last season with 31 points (17 goals, 14 assists) in 51 games and five points (three goals, two assists) in 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games. Donskoi, who was tied for fourth on Colorado in even-strength goals (12), was a must-add fantasy player whenever he got top-six and/or first power-play usage this season and could be an intriguing choice in the final round of a standard draft next season after being selected by Seattle.

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Former teammates who could gain fantasy value from NHL Expansion Draft picks: Spencer Knight, G, FLA (after Driedger pick); Ilya Samsonov, G, WSH (after Vanecek pick); Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, NYI (after Eberle pick)

Tweet from @NHLJensen: Teammates of players lost in the Expansion Draft who have gained @NHLFantasy value:-#FlaPanthers Knight-#AllCaps Samsonov-#Isles Wahlstrom🏒 @NHLNetwork 📺 pic.twitter.com/cGtbp1qcMq

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