The Devils need to be smart when the Seattle Kraken do their expansion draft.
In 2017, the Vegas Golden Knights couldn’t really hurt the New Jersey Devils in their expansion draft. They went with the option of protecting eight skaters and one goalie, which is really all they had after a terrible 2016-17 season. Now, despite the team not having that great of a year in 2019-20, the Devils have a lot more young talent than they did back then. There are some pessimistic people that probably believe things are the same now as they were then, but that is simply not true.
The Golden Knights took Jon Merrill from the Devils in that expansion draft and that was one of the few picks that weren’t all that great for them. They did well with pretty much everyone else’s picks and became an instant Cup contender. In fact, they made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in year one before they were defeated by the Washington Capitals.
Now, we are going to have to do that all over again. Seattle joined the NHL family back in December. On Thursday, they announced that they are going to be called the Seattle Kraken. Their name, logos, and sweaters are very cool. Hopefully, their selection from the Devils in the expansion draft isn’t as cool. It is a year from now so we don’t know where the Devils are going to be by then but it is never to early to start thinking about that stuff.
There are a lot of details that are going to need to be worked out as far as who each current team can protect so it is hard to predict who will be selected. We know who is not getting drafted but outside of those three or four players, it could be anyone. There could also be trades involving the selections as well.
The thing that needs to be practiced by the organization is their decision making and scouting. The Devils don’t want to be the team that trades a guy with six goals before he finishes development and then see him go on to score 40 with the expansion team. They need to make sure that they do their homework and don’t let someone like that slip away. That type of scouting and discussion should start now.