Dallas Stars: Who will the Seattle Kraken steal from Dallas?

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

This summer the Dallas Stars get to experience a rare occurrence in the NHL. A 32nd team will be joining the league as the Seattle Kraken hold their expansion draft. The expansion draft will follow the same rules as the Vegas Golden Knights draft in 2017.

Seattle will select one player from each team (excluding Vegas) which must include at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goalies. Each NHL team will have a choice in how many players they can protect from being drafted. They will be allowed to either protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie or a total of eight skaters and one goalie.

The Dallas Stars are about to lose a very good player in the NHL Expansion Draft

Some players will be ineligible such as those having less than three years of professional experience and players with no-movement clauses in their current contract.

The Dallas Stars have some decisions to make after this season may have shifted who they choose to keep on their protected list. The Stars really only have one question mark on their list and it comes in one of the forward slots. Let’s take a look at everything that will go into their choices and who are the most likely players to be selected by Seattle in July.

Dallas Stars Projected Expansion Draft Protection List

F- Tyler Seguin

F- Jamie Benn

F- Alexander Radulov

F- Roope Hintz

F- Denis Gurianov 

F- Radek Faksa

F- Unknown 

D- John Klingberg

D- Miro Heiskanen

D- Esa Lindell

G- Ben Bishop 

Most of the names on this list are obvious choices for the Stars to protect. Their forward group contains their biggest stars as well as their young core. Their defense is one of the top in the entire league and they know that they need to protect the top-three. Jamie Oleksiak will be a free agent this summer so it is unlikely that Seattle will pick him. This means that Dallas can wait until after the expansion draft to try to re-sign him.

In goal, Ben Bishop has a no-movement clause on his contract which means he must be protected. Jim Nill told the media recently that they have not asked him to waive this clause and that he is a big part of the team. There are some concerns about his health after another long absence due to injury but he should be set to return when next season begins.

Other names such as Ty Dellandrea, Jason Robertson, Joel Kiviranta, Jake Oettinger, and many in the AHL (Thomas Harley) are exempt due to having less than three seasons of professional experience. This is a relief for the Stars as many of these names are big-time players on the current roster.

The 7th Forward

Where things get interesting is in that final forward slot. The Stars seemingly have two choices that could go on that list, Joe Pavelski or Jason Dickinson.

Dickinson has been the Stars’ most versatile player, able to play in every situation on the ice. He is a strong two-way forward, one of the teams’ best penalty killers, is strong on faceoffs, and gives the team more freedom as he can be slotted in any line combination with success. His offense is never his strongest attribute but he is good for about 20 points in a normal season and scored seven goals in 2021. Dickinson is also a Dallas favorite as his gritty, hard-nosed style of play won the hearts of hometown fans. He is only 25 years old and can be a large part of the teams’ future.

Pavelski is just about the opposite of Dickinson in every way. He has been an elite scorer for his entire career with multiple 40-goal seasons and led the Stars with 25 goals in 2021. He is a weapon on the power play and proved that with 13 power-play goals this season. After a slow start in his first season with Dallas, he has looked very comfortable producing at an elite level once again. Since his contract does expire at the end of next season and he is 35 years old, this choice seemed like an easy one just a year ago. However, after his dynamic 2020 playoff run and incredible 2021 season, that choice has been blurred.

I believe that Dallas will choose to protect Joe Pavelski. The Stars are in a win-now mode and truly believe that next season could be huge for the franchise. With many veterans returning and the contracts of Radulov, Pavelski, and Rick Bowness all expiring next summer, this may be the best chance for Dallas to make a run at the Stanley Cup in the near future.

"“It’s a huge season for the whole organization,” Tyler Seguin said. “We all bought into this group, we all love each other, and we have a real tight group. And if you sat down with a pen and a piece of paper and tried to write down all of the things we’ve been through the past two years, it would be quite the list. We all know how important this next year is. Today, we’re still disappointed, but we have high expectations of ourselves, and we’re going to have high expectations next year and we’re going to do everything we can to fulfill them.”"

With that being said, Pavelski would play a larger role than Dickinson. While Dickinson would be missed and is a big part of the future, Pavelski helps them win right now and provides a lot of offense on a team that needs to score more goals. It is typically easier to fill the defensive-minded forward spots with younger players than it is to replace pure goal-scorers like Pavelski. Dallas believes they have many young players that are ready to make the jump, (Ty Dellandra, Riley Damiani, Adam Mascherin) which also helps to make this decision a bit easier.

Who Will Seattle Select?

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The other aspect of this draft is Anton Khudobin. Khudobin will be exposed in the draft and seemed like the obvious choice after his run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2020. However, he struggled this season with a .905 save percentage and 2.54 goals against average. He is also one of the older goalies that will be available at 35 years old so it seems that Seattle will choose not to take the risk.

Dallas does have a three-goalie pile-up that could be solved if Seattle were to pick Khudobin. If the Stars believe that keeping Dickinson is worth losing draft picks or other pieces, they could entice Seattle by adding those to a deal along with selecting Khudobin in the draft. There are many factors that go into this but it is an option on the table.

Seattle Expansion Draft Pick Projection: Jason Dickinson, Forward

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Dallas fans, like the rest of the NHL, will be happy when this draft is over so they can look forward with the Stars’ roster. In 2017, the Stars lost a two-way forward in Cody Eakin to the Vegas expansion draft and it seems they may be losing a similar player this summer.

  • Published on 05/28/2021 at 11:01 AM
  • Last updated at 05/28/2021 at 11:01 AM