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2021 NHL Expansion Draft: Seattle Kraken select Gavin Bayreuther from the Columbus Blue Jackets

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The surprise pick was a pending UFA

Nashville Predators v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images

This will be your open thread for discussing tonight’s expansion draft festivities and tomorrow’s post-draft trades and signings. Remember that we can expect a number of trades over the next day, as Seattle flips some players they have chosen for other assets. We will also learn about what side deals were made to protect certain exposed players. It’s been a wild week of transactions already in the NHL, and this will only add to it.

Tonight at 8 p.m. on ESPN2, the NHL will reveal the selections of the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. GM Ron Francis submitted the list at 10 a.m. this morning, with one player chosen from each team in the league except Vegas. The list will included a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goalies. A number of Seattle sports legends will help announce the picks.

The full list of protected and exposed players can be found here.

Hours before the announcements, however, multiple reports have confirmed that defenseman Gavin Bayreuther will be the Seattle Kraken expansion draft pick from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Bayreuther was set to be a UFA on July 28th.

The pick comes as a surprise to most in the hockey world. In a move that upset many in Columbus, the Blue Jackets decided to expose Max Domi to Seattle. Also available to the Kraken were Kevin Stenlund and Dean Kukan. Most people believed the pick would be one of those three.

Bayreuther was signed as a free agent in 2020 and played mostly for the AHL Cleveland Monsters. He played in 19 games for the Dallas Stars, but only played 9 games in a Columbus sweater. He recorded one goal and no assists in that time. Personally, I was impressed by what I saw in those nine games. He had positive possession stats (CF% of 52) and was generally effective at moving the puck up the ice.

The Seattle Kraken had a period where they could negotiate contracts with exposed RFAs and UFAs. Seattle taking Bayreuther means the two parties have likely already agreed to terms on a new contract.

The good news in Columbus today is that Max Domi, Kevin Stenlund, and Dean Kukan remain Blue Jackets. Best of luck to Gavin in Seattle!