The Seattle Kraken have decided to take forward Nathan Bastian from the New Jersey Devils in the expansion draft. I have made no secret that I am a fan of what Bastian brings and today hurts the Devils more than other teams would think. Sure he may not get many points but losing arguably your most physical player on a soft team is devastating.
The fourth line last year was consistently the best on the ice and made the team exciting to watch no matter what. Miles Wood is always ready to get physical, but Bastian’s absence may impact Michael McLeod after his break-out season. Besides being friends and long-time teammates, the young center always played harder and was far more noticeable with Bastian on the ice. This upcoming season is huge for McLeod and he has to prove whether or not he is a legit NHLer or just a flash in the pan.
Selecting the young forward also shows the value of two Devils in PK Subban and Andreas Johnsson. Johnsson looked like a steal at $3.4 million in Toronto and was a disaster in New Jersey, but it is a surprise that the Kraken did not go for a more proven player with some experience who could perhaps have benefited from a change in scenery.
The same can be said of Subban, who is one of the most overpaid players in the league, but would have helped them hit the cap floor with his one remaining year and is still a big name who probably would have gone over very good in a place like Seattle. Subban especially could have sold numerous jerseys so that is another factor that surprisingly did not tip the scales.
The Devils made fantastic strides to get better and tougher with Graves and need more talent all over but the need for some toughness is still dire. If they slot in a young skilled player who does not hit on the fourth line to play few minutes the team will suffer next season so hopefully, they can find a replacement who brings the same level of physical play.