The Seattle Kraken reportedly pulled off a stunner. Frank Seravalli has indicated that 23-year-old Carsen Twarynski was selected as the choice from the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL Expansion Draft.
Twarynski has only 22 games of NHL experience under his belt. He was been a fringe roster player for the Flyers over the past two seasons under head coach Alain Vigneault. It was thought that prospect Connor Bunneman was higher on the organizational depth chart.
The logic of the Kraken is likely based on salary. Twarynski is a restricted free agent entering 2021-22, and he will likely cost less than $1 million in average annual value. The possibility of this strategy did lead the Flyers to protect winger Nicolas Aube-Kubel.
He was drafted by the Flyers in the third round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, while recently hired Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol was still behind the bench in Philadelphia. The connection likely played a part in the decision. Indicators about the opinions of Hakstol surrounding other players he formerly coached being selected were very mixed.
The move might be also an indicator that other transactions are imminent. Rumors swirled about potential picks heading into today. Most of them surrounded veterans Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk, and Shayne Gostisbehere. All three are on the roster, and general manager Chuck Fletcher will forced to maneuver in order to improve the flexibility in regard to the NHL’s flat salary cap at $81.5 million.
Most mock drafts indicated that the three previously mentioned veterans were the most likely to be picked while defensemen Justin Braun and Robert Hagg were possible sleeper selections. Twarynski is a move off the board that very few, if any, saw coming.
The thought was that the Kraken might choose a more formidable NHL player with more experience, but Seattle general manager Ron Francis opted for a 23-year-old who has spent the majority of his professional career in the AHL while only recording a grand total of one NHL point.