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Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft Predictions: Winnipeg Jets

The Seattle Kraken expansion draft is on the horizon. How are the Jets looking ahead of the Expansion Draft?

All NHL teams (with the exception of the Vegas Golden Knights) will be examining their roster and trying to determine who they should protect, who they can afford not to, or who they’ll need to try and save via a side deal with the NHL’s newest franchise, the Seattle Kraken. Each team can either protect seven forwards, three defenseman and a goaltender, or eight skaters and a goalie.

All players with no-movement clauses at the time of the draft, and who decline to waive those clauses, must be protected, while all first and second-year professionals, and all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection.

With the NHL Expansion Draft on the horizon, I thought it would be interesting to look at what the Winnipeg Jets will be doing for this draft.

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Winnipeg Jets: The Forwards

The Winnipeg Jets will be protecting seven forwards, The forwards that are guaranteed to be protected are as follows : Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler (NMC), Kyle Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers and Pierre-Luc Dubois as all are a part of the Jets future. Even without a no-move clause, Wheeler is the team captain so, I wouldn’t expect them to expose him.

We are left with two forward spots to fill. The forwards on the current roster left to protect are Mason Appleton, Andrew Copp, Adam Lowry, Paul Stastny, Mathieu Perreault, Jansen Harkins, Trevor Lewis and Nate Thompson. Of these I can say with confidence that they won’t protect Perreault, Stastny, Lewis and Thompson are all UFAs that expire in the off-season. You can also add Harkins since he is an expendable bottom-six forward.

Adam Lowry Winnipeg Jets
Adam Lowry Winnipeg Jets

This leaves three players left for the two spots remaining. These three players are Adam Lowry, Andrew Copp and Mason Appleton. You can add Lowry to the expansion protection list because they recently signed him to a five-year $3.25M AAV contract.

This leaves Copp and Appleton left to battle it out.

I give the edge to Appleton. He is younger than Copp and I think Appleton is the kind of player the Jets need more. They need a guy who can play well defensively to account for how bad they can be defensively with their current core. Copp on the other hand could be a solid middle-six scorer for the Kraken if they were to pick him.

Winnipeg Jets: The Defense

The Jets will be able to protect three defensemen. Of the six defensemen in the current top six, only Ville Heinola is exempt. This leaves the defenseman able to be protected Neal Pionk, Josh Morrissey (NMC), Dylan DeMelo, Logan Stanley, Derek Forbort, Jordie Benn, Tucker Poolman and Nathan Beaulieu.

You can guarantee that Neal Pionk will be predicted, same with DeMelo. Morrissey may be asked to waive his No-Move-Clause (NMC). If so, we could then see the three being DeMelo, Pionk and Stanley.

But, that is not guaranteed so in this scenario we will protect DeMelo, Pionk and Morrissey.

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Winnipeg Jets: The Goalies

In the net, the Jets have an easy decision when it comes to protecting their goalie. They will be protecting their franchise goalie, Connor Hellebuyck. This would leave Laurent Brossoit exposed, which would let Seattle pick him in the draft.

Seattle Kraken: The Final Pick

This is a tough pick for Ron Francis and his team. The three most likely picks are F Andrew Copp, D Logan Stanley and G Laurent Brossoit.

Copp is a young middle-six scorer who may be looking for a top-six role if he were selected by Seattle. He is having a career year this season with the Jets. Not only is he producing on the score sheet, but he has been able to play top-line minutes on a night-to-night basis. He is at a Points/60 of 2.45, which is his career-high, his next closest is the 2018-2019 season with a Points/60 of 1.79.

Andrew Copp Winnipeg Jets
Andrew Copp Winnipeg Jets

On the analytical end of things, Copp ranks 8th in Even Strength Offense Goals Above Replacement (EVO), 19th in Even Strength Defense Goals Above Replacement (EVD), 4th in Power Play Offense Goals Above Replacement (PPO) and 4th in Shorthanded Defense Goals Above Replacement (SHD) (ranks among all skaters in the 2020-2021 Season).

Logan Stanley, the “Pleasant Surprise” had a great start with the Jets but, hasn’t gotten as much ice time as his play warrants since Benn and Heinola came into the lineup. You can already see that he is being pushed out of the lineup and may want to go to Seattle. His analytics look good among all Jets defensemen. He ranks 1st in EVO, 2nd in EVD and 3rd in SHD. These ranks are among all Jets defencemen this season.

Laurent Brossoit has had a great rebound after a rough 2019-2020 campaign. He currently has a Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) of 0.96, this means that he has saved 0.96 more goals than expected using expected goals. This GSAx ranks 26th among all goalies which is ahead of Carter Hart, Carey Price, Kevin Lankinen and Joonas Korpisalo

With these potential selections, The Kraken can’t make a wrong choice and they will select F Andrew Copp.

Next: Frederik Andersen’s First AHL Game Leaves Leafs With Questions



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