There are no surprises with the Minnesota Wild’s protected list for the NHL expansion draft on Wednesday. General manager Bill Guerin, who shocked many by buying out defenseman Ryan Suter last week, will give the Seattle Kraken the opportunity to choose defenseman Carson Soucy, goalie Kaapo Kahkonen, center Victor Rask or winger Nick Bjugstad in the expansion draft on Wednesday night.
The Wild’s protected list became pretty clear once Zach Parise and Suter, who would have had to have been protected because they had no-move clauses in their contracts, were bought out. The Wild protected seven forwards, three defensemen and goalie Cam Talbot. Teams also had the option of protecting eight skaters and a goalie.
The Wild forwards who Seattle can’t touch include Joel Eriksson Ek, Kevin Fiala, Marcus Foligno, Jordan Greenway, Ryan Hartman, Nico Sturm and Mats Zuccarello. Defenseman Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba and Jared Spurgeon also were protected. The Wild did not have to protect Calder Trophy winner Kirill Kaprizov because he has less than three years of pro experience.
There was a feeling that Greenway wouldn’t have been protected if Parise and Suter had remained on the roster.
The best bet is that Seattle will take Soucy or Kahkonen. Soucy, who will turn 27 this month, has played two full seasons with the Wild and had one goal and 16 assists in 50 games this past season. Kahkonen, 24, was 16-8-0 in 24 games (23 starts) in his first full season with the Wild. He posted a 2.88 goals-against average and .902 save percentage.
The Kraken will select one player from each team with the Vegas Golden Knights being exempt from this process. Seattle will end up with 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders. At least 20 of the players taken by the new franchise must be under contract for the coming season.