The Seattle Kraken are about to fill their roster in the NHL’s expansion draft Wednesday, and they could be doing the Maple Leafs a financial favour in the process.
If the Kraken select Alex Kerfoot, they will remove $3.5 million (U.S.) from Toronto’s salary commitments, and the Leafs desperately need the cap space.
That is one of the angles involved for the Leafs when the Kraken take shape Wednesday night. Here’s a look at the leading candidates to be Seattle’s choice off the Leafs roster:
2020: 56 games played, with eight goals and 23 points; posted 17 takeaways (eighth on the Leafs), and 30 giveaways (ninth); 118 total shot attempts in all situations.
Why the Kraken might like him: Kerfoot is a seasoned forward who can play up and down the lineup, but essentially in the bottom nine. He can also play centre and wing, and kill penalties.
Why they might pass on him: The 26-year-old has a $3.5-million (U.S.) cap hit for the next two seasons. He does not play above the value of that hit.
What we expect: According to Twitter prognosticators — at least those that have watched a video of the Seattle Market guys throwing a fish — the Kraken are taking Kerfoot. You can’t argue with that.
2020: 43 games played, with 14 goals and 32 points, fifth in Penguins’ scoring. Averaged 14:07 ice time, and was second on the team with a 53.6 per cent Corsi rating.
Why the Kraken might like him: The latest Leaf is a better bang for the buck than Kerfoot — bigger, younger and cheaper.
Why they might pass on him: There might be a side deal in place for Seattle to take Kerfoot, made before or after the Leafs traded for McCann.
What we expect: He stays with the Leafs and fills the role vacated by Kerfoot.
2020: 51 games played, two goals and six points; averaged 13:13 ice time, and was seventh on the team with 35 blocked shots. His 44 hits were 10th.
Why the Kraken might like him: Dermott is a cost effective, young defenceman with four years of NHL experience. He just signed a two-year extension with an average annual value of $1.5 million.
Why they might pass on him: The are plenty of good, veteran defenceman available in the expansion draft. The Leafs roster seems to be a place where the Kraken look at a forward.
What we expect: Dermott stays with the Leafs.
The long shot
Wayne Simmonds’ value is undisputed; he’s a character player who stands up for his teammates. He comes in at $900,000 (U.S.) for the next two seasons and would be a solid, gritty sparkplug for a new franchise. And the fans would love him.
Mark Zwolinski is a Toronto-based sports reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @markzwol