Earlier today, it was reported that the Seattle Kraken had selected John Quenneville from the Chicago Blackhawks in the Epxansion Draft. During the broadcast of the Expansion Draft on ESPN2 and Sportsnet, the pick was made official: it’s John Quenneville.
— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) July 22, 2021
Quenneville did not play in the NHL this past season for Chicago and recorded just nine NHL games last season. He has spent the majority of his time with the Blackhawks organization with the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL. Over the past two seasons, he’s skated in 52 AHL games with 14 goals and 24 points.
With players like Calvin de Haan, Nikita Zadorov, Adam Gaudette, and Malcolm Subban available, the Kraken go very off the board with the pick of Quenneville. While Scott Powers of The Athletic says that the Kraken and Blackhawks have no side deal in place, it’s puzzling why Seattle would be satisfied with a pending free agent who is not proven at the NHL level.
— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) July 22, 2021
With their full slate of players picked, the Kraken barely reached the salary cap floor, coming in with a projected salary of $49.5M. The NHL roster freeze is lifted at noon CT tomorrow, so if there are any side deals and trades to be had, we will find out about them then. I have a hard time believing the Kraken took Quenneville without something on the side of it.
If it truly is just Seattle taking Quenneville straight-up, the Blackhawks are left with an interesting situation with their defensive group. For the longest time, it was assumed that de Haan would be the pick for Seattle. Then that evolved into potentially being Zadorov. Either of them would have kept around $4.5M off of the Blackhawks’ books for the 2021-22 season. Now both players are back in play.
It’s better for the team’s competitiveness to have de Haan back, but it would have been easier for them to have Zadorov become Seattle’s problem. The 26-year-old Russian defenseman is reportedly asking for near north of $5M per season in a longer-term deal and I just don’t see the value that Zadorov brings to Chicago to warrant that price tag.
Again, the roster freeze in the league gets lifted tomorrow, the NHL Entry Draft is this weekend, and Free Agency opens in one week. There is a lot of opportunity for moving parts to find their place for the organization in the coming days.