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Deal the Kraken? Francis cant make official trades -- yet

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Just because the NHL can’t release the Kraken until October doesn’t mean Seattle wasn’t in the mix at close of trading.

General Manager Ron Francis cannot close any transactions until the property has made his final expansion payment to the league, but there is a precedent for him to close a handshake deal or two. That’s what George McPhee did with Pittsburgh four years ago, setting the table for goalkeeper Marc-Andre Fleury, who is said to be the face of the Vegas Golden Knights franchise.

If Francis made an agreement with another team, he doesn’t say so, even though Seattle was set for the move and tremors by the deadline and the rest of the league had the Kraken in mind with the July expansion draft.

“You always have the opportunity to have these discussions and make these agreements if both sides agree, “said Francis on Tuesday, about 26 hours after the deadline.” We are like everyone else on this trading session: We watch it We analyze things. When trades take place we update our list and see how that affects certain teams (like). "

Francis said that as of the cut-off date nothing surprised him and that Seattle had little direct influence because so few players had signed beyond this season. Maybe he scratched the available list. Defender Jonas Siegenthaler after a deal from Washington to New Jersey and striker Scott Laughton, for signing again with Philadelphia,but there was nothing earth-shaking.

Maybe that’s because executives learned a lesson. Doug Armstrong, general manager of the Stanley Cup-winning St. Louis, said teams are less likely to make Francis the “puppet master” manipulating the league like McPhee did.

“I think everyone was a little more aware of what to expect with the draft expansion,” said Armstrong. “When you look at whether you want to protect three defenders, seven forwards, OK, if I buy this player what is the purchase price and then can I protect him and what will it cost me?” the other side? ‘”

The Flyers were ready to risk Laughton,so maybe the great striker James van Riemsdyk and his sizeable deal for Seattle are on the board. After Vegas has had very few long-term high dollar deals, Francis will only share his philosophy to say that he’s, ‘I’ll evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

He also knows that his colleagues have a longer way to go on this expansion draft than they did before Vegas, figuring out how to minimize the talent that is being claimed. However, they didn’t think the salary cap would stay unchanged at $ 81.5 million for multiple seasons due to pandemic-related loss of income, and the Kraken could take advantage of those opportunities.

A big advantage for Seattle is that it can better assessWhich players they’ll have a chance on than ever after the dust settles at close of trading. There won’t be much movement until mid-July when protected lists have to be filed and drafting begins.

SMALL BUBBLE

“We have already looked at where we think we have been positively or negatively affected, and we’ll ‘I’ll look at and evaluate this further as we move forward here and regroup as a whole and start preparing from here through July” “said Francis.” We can do a mock draft 12 or six months ago, but until we get closer on that day, and until we see this final list, it’s difficult to project with 100% accuracy what we’re going to choose from. But we will look at all the different scenariosthat we believe will present themselves and be as prepared as possible. "

With about a month into the regular season, 12 of the 16 playoff spots are as good as completed a handful of teams vied for the rest. That helped separate buyers and sellers as of the cut-off date, although many were in the running pat.

Armstrong’s Blues were calm, thanks in large part to a three-game winning streak that put them in the West Division playoff position. Had they lost those three games Armstrong could have been a seller.

“When we thought about being a seller, we had a vision if we wanted to do something we wanted in return, “he said.

Instead, St. Louis jockeyed Arizona and San Jose for a playoff spot.With the top 4 in the east and north, the only other drama between Nashville, Chicago and Dallas is in the center.

Why has the league been divided into precisely defined classes this season? Washington general manager Brian MacLellan believes the curtailed schedule and strict virus protocols have resulted in inconsistent play across the league.

GAME OF THE WEEK

“Teams have periods when they look good, you have rest and they play well, and then they have periods when they work through things or play through games,” said MacLellan. “It’s been a difficult year maintaining a high level of play, and I think that’s why you We see lots of teams in groups. "

The Florida Panthers visit the Tampa Bay Lightning for games on Thursday and Saturday,which can make a decisive contribution to who wins the Central Division.

LEADERS (through Monday)

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goals: Auston Matthews (Toronto), 32; Assists: Connor McDavid (Edmonton), 46; Points: McDavid: 69; Ice Age: Drew Doughty (Los Angeles), 26:57; Wins: Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay) and Philipp Grubauer (Colorado), 25 each; Average goals: Petr Mrazek (Carolina), 1.47; Save percent: Filip Gustavsson (Ottawa), 0.946.

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Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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