Brett Howden emerging as the Seattle Kraken’s most likely selection from the Rangers

rangers expansion draft
Feb 18, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers center Brett Howden (21) carries the puck against Philadelphia Flyers left wing Michael Raffl (12) during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a lot written across the hockey landscape about the upcoming Seattle Expansion Draft on July 21. Back in December, several mock drafts were run with many boiling it down to ether Libor Hajek and Brendan Lemieux up for grabs from the New York Rangers.

That was before Tony DeAngelo got himself excommunicated from Broadway and Brendan Lemieux demanded a trade out of NY. Those two moves alone have a huge impact since it was originally assumed DeAngelo would be protected, and Lemieux was going to be a tough decision to protect or not.

Rangers and the Seattle Expansion Draft

The best way to start off is to drop the expected protected list. Jeff Gorton will likely go with 7 forwards, 3 defenseman, and one goalie. Remember some players are exempt and others must be protected if they have a no move clause in their contract to meet the criteria.

Protected Forwards:

Protected Defensemen and Goalie:

Exemption list: Alexis Lafrenière, Kaapo Kakko, Vitali Kravtsov, Adam Fox, K’Andre Miller, Igor Shesterkin.

Brett Howden emerging as Seattle’s likely pick

brett howden
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Kraken will have a nice group to select from. While the list of exposed Rangers will include DeAngelo, Brett Howden, Kevin Rooney, Julien Gauthier, and Keith Kinkaid it will be a decision between the first two.

While some believe Julien Gauthier to have the most upside on the list, it is just that – upside. Seattle isn’t building a team on promise, that’s what the Entry Draft is for. Ultimately the Kraken will go with the 23 year-old center, Howden. He will be cost controlled, and could develop into a solid third liner for the Kraken over the years.

If the Kraken wanted an immediate impact player, they would select DeAngelo and they still might. Even with the PR baggage he comes with, ADA is just 25 years of age and can run the power play on defense. Of course, Seattle knows he will be bought out and they could sign him for considerably less in free agency.

That’s why Howden is the pick. The folks over at The Athletic agree as well.

The Rangers look a little like the Leafs did at the Vegas expansion, with most of their top young players exempt from the expansion draft, a list which includes Adam Fox, Alexis Lafrenière, Kaapo Kakko, Vitali Kravtsov and goalie Igor Shesterkin. Four players have no-move clauses: Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider and Jacob Trouba. One name that wasn’t protected before but likely will be now is Colin Blackwell, who has had an excellent season. He bumps Brett Howden down the depth chart, and almost by default, will be the pick.

The Athletic

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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