Kraken should target these three Bruins players in expansion draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The 2021 NHL Expansion Draft for the league's 32nd team, the Seattle Kraken, takes place Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET, and there are many quality players available.
On Sunday, the other 30 teams (Vegas is exempt) submitted their protected lists for the expansion draft. The Boston Bruins have a few good players exposed to the Kraken. Which ones should Seattle target?
U.S. & World
Here are three that the Kraken should seriously consider taking from the B's.
2020-21 Stats: 1 G, 6 A in 44 GP
Clifton would be an excellent third pairing defenseman for the Kraken.
He's a good skater, he plays with plenty of physicality and has shown some offensive upside. He's also played in 36 playoff games despite having logged just 94 regular season games with the Bruins in his three NHL seasons. That kind of experience would be valuable to an expansion team such as the Kraken.
But the primary reason to take Clifton is his contract. Clifton is signed for this coming season and 2022-23 for a very team-friendly salary cap hit of $1 million.
Defensive depth is so valuable, and given Clifton's talent, age and contract, he's easily the best option for the Kraken among the Bruins players available to them.
2020-21 Stats: 1 G, 7 A in 41 GP
Lauzon had a regular role in Boston last season for the first time in his career. At times he was a solid shutdown d-man who played well on the penalty kill. Other times he was poor defensively and made foolish decisions with the puck. This kind of inconsistency was frustrating for Bruins fans to watch.
Similar to Clifton, he has a pretty team-friendly contract with a salary cap hit of just $875,000 for this season before he can become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2022.
Losing Lauzon would take away another left-shot defenseman from the Bruins' blue line -- an area the team needs to address even if Lauzon remains after the expansion draft.
Position: Center/Right Wing
2020-21 Stats: 7 G, 6 A in 50 GP (between Bruins, Sabres)
Surprised not to see Nick Ritchie on this list? Ritchie had a good 2020-21 season for the B's, but after a red-hot start to the year, he really cooled off from a scoring perspective. His playoff production -- two goals in 19 games over the last two years -- also has been disappointing.
Lazar was a good trade deadline pickup for the Bruins and would be an equally solid addition for the Kraken. He brings valuable versatility to the lineup with his ability to play center or on the wing.
Lazar could see a minutes boost for the B's next season if fourth-line center Sean Kuraly leaves in free agency. Lazar has more offensive skill than Kuraly and plays a physical game without taking many penalties. In fact, Lazar had zero PIM in 2018-19, nine PIM in 2019-20 and just six last season.
His contract also carries a team-friendly cap hit of just $800,000. A cheap, reliable fourth-liner with six years of experience who can provide offense and play multiple positions might be an enticing option for the Kraken.