Nick Ritchie, who scored 15 goals this past season for the Bruins, will be available to the Seattle Kraken in Wednesday’s expansion draft, as will Boston defensemen Connor Clifton and Jeremy Lauzon. Alex Brandon/Associated Press

There were no surprises on the Bruins protected list when the NHL released who the Seattle Kraken will have available for the expansion draft on Wednesday. Each team except for Las Vegas will lose exactly one player.

The biggest name the Bruins left unprotected is Nick Ritchie. The Bruins protected Jake DeBrusk and Trent Frederic among their seven forwards. Ritchie, who is an unrestricted free agent and arbitration-eligible, is unlikely to be taken because he could get a pretty good payday from an arbitrator after amassing 15 goals and 11 assists in the shortened 2020-21 season. The Bruins might not tender him a contract if he isn’t taken. That would avoid arbitration, but also make Ritchie an unrestricted free agent.

Danton Heinen, who the Bruins traded to Anaheim for Ritchie, was left unprotected by the Ducks.

Defensemen Connor Clifton and Jeremy Lauzon are the most likely Kraken targets from Boston’s unprotected list. Both are young and cheap, and have both promise and playoffs experience.

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price could become the face of the NHL’s 32nd franchise if General Manager Ron Francis and his staff decide to take on one of the biggest contracts in hockey. Price agreed to waive a clause in his contract to be exposed so that Montreal could protect cheaper backup Jake Allen, but his goaltending ability, off-ice marketability and ties to the Pacific Northwest could make Price an attractive option, even with a salary cap hit of $10.5 million for five more years.

The 2015 MVP and Vezina Trophy winner is the biggest star left unprotected for the Kraken to select, but there’s plenty of other talent available.

St. Louis winger Vladimir Tarasenko is an option, two years removed from hoisting the Stanley Cup, after asking the Blues for a trade. Calgary exposed captain and 2019 Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Mark Giordano. And Carolina surprisingly made forward Nino Niederreiter available.

Price is the most intriguing possibility for Seattle, and the location likely helped convince the soon-to-be 34-year-old to waive his no-movement clause. He played junior hockey not far from Seattle for the Western Hockey League’s Tri-Cities Americans, and his wife, Angela, is from Kennewick, Washington.

That could make Price a natural cornerstone for the Kraken to build around like the Golden Knights did with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who was fresh off winning the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh. Price and the Canadiens lost to Tampa Bay in five games in this year’s Stanley Cup final.

The back-to-back champion Lightning have easily the deepest pool of available players. Top-line winger Ondrej Palat, longtime forward Alex Killorn, third-line center Yanni Gourde and young defenseman Cal Foote are all exposed. Squeezed by the cap that’s remaining flat at $81.5 million, they could also work out a side deal with the Kraken to take Spokane native Tyler Johnson and his $5 million price tag for three more seasons.

Seattle has all the leverage and the benefit of cap space.

“The one thing that we think is extremely, extremely valuable in this environment is cap space,” Francis said Saturday. “We’ve got $81.5 million of cap space to play with, so that’s certainly something that we want to make sure we try and take advantage of moving forward.”

Seattle has certain minimums it must meet in the expansion draft, including selecting at least 20 players under contract for next season with salaries totaling at least $48 million. The Kraken must pick at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders.

There’s no shortage of options.

Beyond Price, Dallas’ Ben Bishop, Florida’s Chris Driedger and Washington’s Vitek Vanecek are among the available goalies. Driedger is a pending free agent, but the Kraken have an exclusive negotiating window until Wednesday to sign him and others to a new contract.

Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog, Toronto’s Alex Kerfoot and newly acquired Jared McCann, Pittsburgh’s Jason Zucker and Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk join the Lightning trio, Niederreiter and Tarasenko as the most productive forwards available.

Vince Dunn of the Blues, New Jersey’s personable P.K. Subban and Washington’s Justin Schultz are among the unprotected defensemen – a position not quite as deep in high-end talent. That’s by design.

“Teams knew we were coming, and they’ve had four years to prepare,” Francis said.


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