When Seattle picks their team on Wednesday, they’re expected to make several side deals like Vegas did back in 2017 to take on assets for staying away from a player, picking a specific player, or even in exchange for someone that was selected. In the latest DFO Podcast (audio link), Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reports that Florida will be one of those teams. While Chris Driedger is expected to go to Seattle, Seravalli adds that Frank Vatrano is also expected to be heading to the Kraken as well.
The 27-year-old winger has quietly found his scoring touch since moving from Boston to Florida, notching 58 goals in 206 games over the past three seasons including 18 tallies in 56 contests in 2020-21. Those numbers aren’t elite by any stretch but he has found his place as a capable secondary scorer.
To that end, it’s a little surprising that the Panthers appear to be willing to move on from Vatrano who is about to enter the final year of his contract with a reasonable $2.533MM AAV. They have some promising young forwards in Grigori Denisenko, Owen Tippett, and 2020 top pick Anton Lundell that could stand to benefit from a spot being created up front.
Alternatively, it could be a scenario where GM Bill Zito is looking to free up some cap room to make a more prominent addition or even a trade for someone that’s selected. Either way, it appears that Driedger may not be the only Panther acquired by Seattle on Wednesday.