Dear Red Wings: Closer look at players left exposed in Seattle expansion draft

Defenseman Troy Stecher is strong candidate for Seattle’s pick from Detroit

Detroit Red Wings' Troy Stecher (70) clears the puck against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, April 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker) (Karl B DeBlaker, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The Detroit Red Wings are protecting seven forwards, three defensemen and a goalie in the Seattle Kraken expansion draft on Wednesday.

The protection lists were announced Sunday. Seattle will be able to draft one player from 30 NHL teams on Wednesday -- the Vegas Golden Knights, the league’s most recent expansion franchise, are exempt from losing a player in this expansion draft, which is standard practice in NHL expansion history.

The Kraken have to choose 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies. Twenty of those players must be under contract currently.

The Red Wings are protecting the following players:

Notable Red Wings left exposed:

D Troy Stecher

Defenseman Troy Stecher appears to be ripe for Seattle’s picking. With one year left on his contract he costs just $1.7 million against the cap. He’s only 27 years old.

Stecher signed a two-year deal with Detroit in October 2020. He immediately helped improve the Red Wings defense with his quickness and skilled puck-moving ability. He also is coming off of a really strong international tournament for Canada. He could help the Kraken form their top six, perhaps their top four.

F Vladislav Namestnikov

Vladislav Namestnikov, 28, also first signed with Detroit in October -- a two-year deal with a $2 million cap hit each season. This season was a bit of a struggle for him with just 8 goals and 9 assists through 53 games played. But he was part of a team that struggled to find offense from, well, everyone. Namestnikov could slide into another team’s top nine to play either the wing or center.

D Dennis Cholowski

Dennis Cholowski is likely a long shot for Seattle to pick, but if they are looking for a younger defenseman with size and potential then Cholowski is a good option. He’s just 23 years young but already has 104 NHL games on his resume. He is a restricted free agent, meaning Seattle would have to try to negotiate a deal with him during the 48-hour negotiation period that started Sunday morning and ends Tuesday. The Red Wings would have a chance to match anything Seattle offers.

F Frans Nielsen

Let’s imagine Seattle is somehow desperate to get 20 players that are under contract, then Nielsen fits the bill. The 37-year-old center/winger has a year left on his contract at $5.25 against the cap. His performance has declined quite dramatically over the past couple of seasons. He’s not the solid two-way center he once was.

Here’s the full list of Red Wings players left exposed in this expansion draft:

  • Riley Barber (F)
  • Kyle Criscuolo (F)
  • Turner Elson (F)
  • Valtteri Filppula (F)
  • Sam Gagner (F)
  • Luke Glendening (F)
  • Darren Helm (F)
  • Taro Hirose (F)
  • Vladislav Namestnikov (F)
  • Frans Nielsen (F)
  • Bobby Ryan (F)
  • Evgeny Svechnikov (F)
  • Dominic Turgeon (F)
  • Hayden Verbeek (F)
  • Alex Biega (D)
  • Dennis Cholowski (D)
  • Danny DeKeyser (D)
  • Christian Djoos (D)
  • Joe Hicketts (D)
  • Dylan McIlrath (D)
  • Marc Staal (D)
  • Troy Stecher (D)
  • Jonathan Bernier (G)
  • Kevin Boyle (G)
  • Kaden Fulcher (G)
  • Calvin Pickard (G)

A healthy amount of these players do not have contracts -- they are RFA or UFA. Seattle can try to negotiate a new contract with them before the draft.

The expansion draft will be broadcast on Wednesday, July 21, at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN2, SN, SN NOW, TVAS).

The actual draft later this week

Once we get through the expansion draft we move right into the 2021 NHL Entry Draft on Friday.

The Red Wings have the following 11 picks:

Here’s the overall NHL first-round 2021 draft order:

  • Buffalo
  • Seattle
  • Anaheim
  • New Jersey
  • Columbus
  • Detroit
  • San Jose
  • Los Angeles
  • Vancouver
  • Ottawa

View the rest of the picks here.

📅 Coming up:

  • Wednesday, July 21 -- NHL Expansion Draft
  • July 23-24 -- NHL Entry Draft
  • July 28 -- Free agency begins


About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.