If there’s one obvious requirement on the Bruins roster right now it’s size and hardness to the left of their blue line. And, according to a league source and multiple media reports, the Seattle Kraken will grab a piece of that precious commodity in Wednesday night’s expansion draft.
The Kraken are expected to select 6-foot-1, 205-pound left defenseman Jeremy Lauzon, leaving the B on the left, which currently has just one healthy established NHLer in Matt Grzelczyk. Then, there are Jacob Zaboril, Urho Wakanenen, Jack Ahkan and veteran John Moore, who missed almost all of last season after hip surgery.
Needless to say, GM Don Sweeney will have to do some work in the trade and/or free-agent markets, the latter of which opens for business on July 28 for the rest of the league. Who did the Kraken interact with for the first time? The league’s UFA and it appears another potential Bruin will take the target off the market. Seattle reportedly closed 6-foot-7 left defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, who, given his position, would have been a good target for B.
Bee’s will no doubt targeted left defenseman Ryan Sutter, who was surprisingly bought by the Minnesota Wild last week with Zach Parris. But there is a lot of speculation about the league that the pair may once again sign a package deal with the New York Islanders. The Paris was designed by Lou Lamoriello, GM of the Isles in New Jersey. There is also Vegas UFA Alec Martinez, who will turn 34 on July 26, but is still a top four D-Man.
The loss of Lausanne follows the retirement of another tough, stay-at-home right defender, Kevin Miller. The upside is that Kraken opted not to take on Conor Clifton, which gives Bee the right side of Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlow, and Clifton, at least for the time being.
Kraken assistant coach Jay Leach, former Providence Bruins head coach, developed Lauzon, Clifton, and Zaboril on the farm, so Seattle has a good idea of what he got in Lauzon and what he turned down in Clifton and Zaboril. gave. And what he’s got at Lausanne is a gritty, rugged D-Man who has been plagued by injuries in his youth career because of his style of play. In fact, he played in the Islanders Series, which B lost in six games, with a surgically repaired broken arm that he suffered in the previous series against Washington.
Lauzon was part of B’s highly anticipated 2015 draft class that included six picks in the first two rounds and more misses than hits. This landed them Carlo and Jake DeBrusk, but they were overtaken by the likes of Matt Barzal, Kyle Connor and Thomas Chabot, instead opting for Zach Senishin in the first round just before the three of them. Now another member of that class who established himself as an NHL player over the past two years is moving to Seattle.
Seattle also passed the B’s forward group that includes Nick Ritchie, a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, who could get a decent score from his 15-goal season, Curtis Lazar and Chris Wagner. Keeping Lazarus qualifies as good news for B, as he is not only a good player to play as a fourth-line center, but will come next season at an affordable price ($800,000).
Meanwhile, there were several reports that the B and UFA-to-B Taylor Hall were moving towards a contract extension. Frank Ceravalli of DailyFaceoff.com reports that the deal is expected to be in the neighborhood of four years, with an annual cap hit of $6 million, which would be a pretty fair deal for B. Sweeney and Hall both said at the end of the season that they had a mutual desire to continue the relationship.
Whether Hall continues her successful relationship with centerman David Crazy remains to be seen. Krazy is also a UFA and was deciding whether to return to his native Czech Republic or re-sign with B.
The ban for teams to re-sign their own players ends Thursday at 1 p.m.