While the official announcement of the Expansion Draft selections for the Seattle Kraken were set for 8 p.m., most of the players making the move to Seattle were already known through leaks and reports throughout the afternoon. After Seattle completed the selection process and submitted at 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning, reports started to surface in the hours following.
On the Flyers end, the selection was rather surprising. While many focused on names like Jake Voracek, James van Riemsdyk, Shayne Gostisbehere, Justin Braun and Robert Hagg, who were left unprotected, the Kraken selected forward Carsen Twarynski as their pick from Philadelphia.
Twarynski, 23, was a third-round pick of the Flyers in the 2016 NHL Draft. Following the final season of his junior career with the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL in 2017-18, Twarynski joined the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for five goals, scoring one goal and adding one assist.
In his first full AHL season in 2018-19, Twarynski scored 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points in 69 games. The next season, he made the Flyers out of training camp and scored his first NHL goal in his third game. He played 15 games at the NHL level that season, finishing with just the one goal, but also had seven goals and five assists for 12 points in 31 games with the Phantoms.
Last season, Twarynski spent a majority of time as part of the taxi squad, playing in just seven games at the NHL level and two at the AHL level. He recorded no points.
Other players selected by Seattle included Calgary Flames captain and defenseman Mark Giordano, Yanni Gourde from the Tampa Bay Lightning, Vince Dunn from the St. Louis Blues, and Jordan Eberle from the New York Islanders. The Kraken also signed unrestricted free agent defensemen Adam Larsson and Jamie Oleksiak and goalie Chris Driedger to new contracts after selecting their rights from their respective teams.
Ultimately, Seattle’s selection from the Flyers did not give the desired cap relief that they seemed to want. With Voracek, van Riemsdyk, and Gostisbehere all still on the books, the Flyers still have approximately $9.3 million in available cap space.
They still need to sign restricted free agents Carter Hart and Travis Sanheim and fill other holes on the roster, either internally or with outside acquisitions, but it leaves them with very little cap space to do so. The team needs to sign a backup goalie, whether it’s Brian Elliott in return or another potential free agent. They also would like to make improvements with another defensive signing and a middle-six center.
Of course, this is only the beginning of the offseason. The flurry of activity last Saturday before the expansion roster freeze – which produced the Flyers trade for Ryan Ellis – was only the beginning of what could be a very busy stretch of days. The roster freeze ends at 1 p.m. on Thursday and teams will be looking to wheel and deal in the days ahead through the NHL Draft over the weekend and as free agency hits next Wednesday.
So while things may not have gone according to plan for the Flyers, their offseason is still far from over. It may now just require a little more creativity to open up the necessary space for more improvements.