We’re under 100 days away from the NHL’s expansion draft and a new mock draft has the Seattle Kraken taking forward Tyler Benson, or defenceman Caleb Jones from the Edmonton Oilers.
The mock draft, conducted by The Athletic’s Ryan Clark and Eric Duhatschek, is the sixth the pair have done this year.
In the main mock, the pair chose Benson. Here was their reasoning:
The Oilers have one of the more fluid situations with regard to the expansion draft, because they’ve got a whole series of questions that may or may not be answered before the Seattle expansion draft, beginning with 1. Can they get Ryan Nugent-Hopkins signed to a contract extension (he is UFA this summer) before the Seattle expansion, in which case they might protect him and shift to the 7-3-1 model? 2. Can they get Adam Larsson signed to an extension in the same time frame, because if they did, they would protect him as well? 3. What to do with Tyson Barrie, who has been a good addition on a budget contract to quarterback the power play, but they have Evan Bouchard coming and there will only be so many dollars to go around? Oscar Klefbom was their No. 1 defenceman a year ago but has missed the entire season because of shoulder surgery. The Oilers will likely have clarification about his health status before they have to file their protected list officially. Ideally, the Oilers would love to see Seattle scoop up Zack Kassian or Kyle Turris, though that seems unlikely. Ultimately, the choice may come down to selecting a safe, low-budget blueliner, either Caleb Jones or William Lagesson, or go off the board and roll the dice on a minor-league foward, such as Tyler Benson, who is having a strong AHL season and may just need an NHL door to open. Let’s do that for him.
They’re not wrong in their thought process here. Edmonton’s going to be an interesting team to follow when it comes to the expansion. Based off the reasoning above, Edmonton following the 4-4 method protecting forwards Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Kailer Yamamoto and Jesse Puljujarvi up front, while protecting Darnell Nurse, Ethan Bear, Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson on the back end.
This could all change, too, depending on what the team does ahead of free agency.
In the same mock draft, Clark suggests Caleb Jones could be an option to take, too.
It’s really tempting to side deal the hell out of the Oilers. But that will only happen if Oscar Klefbom is healthy and they re-sign Tyson Barrie and Adam Larsson, What is certain is that Caleb Jones and his team-friendly cap hit will be there. Just know that all of this could change.
It’s still far too early to get a good feel on things, but I don’t think losing either Benson or Jones are the worst thing for the team.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.