Sunday, July 18, 2021

Blues leave Tarasenko, Dunn exposed for expansion draft

Cup winners among players left for selection for Seattle 
Kraken squad; pending UFA Jaden Schwartz also on list

ST. LOUIS -- Suspense over who the Blues would protect/leave exposed for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft is over.

And contrary over who would be on that protected list and who would be left off it several weeks ago changed courses over the past day or so.

What's not surprising is they chose to protect seven forwards, three defenseman and one goalie. They include forwards Ivan Barbashev, Jordan Kyrou, Ryan O'Reilly, David Perron, Brayden Schenn, Oskar Sundqvist and Robert Thomas; defensemen Justin Faulk, Torey Krug and Colton Parayko, and goalie Jordan Binnington.

Some of the names left exposed, well, the names alone might be a shock just seeing them there, but considering some of the big names left unprotected around the league and the direction the Blues are going in may not be so shocking. They include Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz and Vince Dunn. Others include forwards Sam Anas, Sammy Blais, Tyler Bozak, Kyle Clifford, Mike Hoffman, Tanner Kaspick, Mackenzie MacEachern, Curtis McKenzie, Austin Poganski, Zach Sanford, Nolan Stevens and Nathan Walker; defensemen Robert Bortuzzo, Niko Mikkola, Mitch Reinke, Steven Santini, Marco Scandella and Jake Walman, and goalies Evan Fitzpatrick, Jon Gillies and Ville Husso.

For Schwartz, he is expected to be an unrestricted free agent and makes sense to protect someone under contract, but for Tarasenko, this tells you all you need to know where the relationship between the two sides has gone since Tarasenko reportedly asked for a trade recently.

Instead of holding onto Tarasenko, who still has two years remaining on his contract, and continuing to try to work out a trade, which could still happen depending on who Seattle picks, but the Blues have basically left him in the list and should the Kraken choose him, it would eliminate the entire remaining $15 million in salary and $7.5 million cap hit per season off their books. Also, it was evident that the Blues could not work out a trade leading up to the 4 p.m. (CT) deadline Saturday for having to submit their protected/unprotected list.

Dunn's name is not a real surprise considering the Blues were going to protect Faulk, Krug and Parayko in the 7-3-1 format. And although the Blues would have liked to work out a trade for Dunn prior to the deadline, the restricted free agent defenseman is also available for free selection here, and is a likely target for the Kraken to pick.

Seattle, which will pick its team when the expansion draft commences on Wednesday at 7 p.m. (CT) on ESPN2, will have the pick of the litter when it comes to big-name players. Some of them include Montreal goalie and recent Stanley Cup finalist Carey Price, who was left exposed in order to protect former Blues goalie Jake Allen. Also on the list are longtime Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, forward Adam Henrique and former Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk; UFA's to be Taylor Hall and longtime Boston Bruins center David Krejci; Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano; Hurricanes defenseman and UFA to be Dougie Hamilton; Colorado Avalanche captain and potential UFA Gabriel Landeskog, who the Blues will pursue heavily should he hit the market on July 28; St. Louis native and Dallas Stars goalie Ben Bishop; Los Angeles Kings goalie and two-time Cup winner Jonathan Quick; Canadiens captain Shea Weber, who is not expected to play next season due to multiple injuries; Nashville Predators forwards Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen; New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban; Philadelphia Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk; two-time Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Blake Coleman, Yanni Gourde, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Oakville native Pat Maroon; Toronto Maple Leafs forward and pending UFA Zach Hyman; Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and former Blue and Winnipeg Jets center Paul Stastny, among others.

The Blues did not have to expose the following players, who are exempt from the list as first- or second-year players. They include forwards Nikita Alexandrov, Erik Foley, Dakota Joshua, Klim Kostin, Mathias Laferriere, Hugh McGing, Jake Neighbours, Evan Polei, Alexei Toropchenko and Keean Washkurak; defensemen Scott Perunovich and Tyler Tucker and goalies Colten Ellis and Joel Hofer. 

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