Dear Red Wings: Patiently awaiting Seattle expansion draft picks

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

DALLAS, TEXAS - JANUARY 28: Troy Stecher #70 of the Detroit Red Wings during play against the Dallas Stars in the first period at American Airlines Center on January 28, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) (Ronald Martinez, 2021 Getty Images)

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

UPDATE: Leaked Seattle Kraken picks

UPDATE: Report: Seattle Kraken select D Cholowski from Red Wings

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 not to subject a recent expansion team to a new expansion draft.

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

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.