Goalie Kaapo Kahkonen, who had a stellar rookie season is one of the Minnesota Wild players who potentially could be in a new uniform next season.
The Helsinki, Finland native, who posted 16 wins this season, was among the 21 players left exposed by the Wild for the incoming Seattle Kraken to select during this week’s NHL Expansion Draft.
The list of protected players for all teams were released by the NHL on Sunday morning. The draft will be held Wednesday and televised on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. central standard time.
The Wild protected Cam Talbot over Kahkonen and fellow goalie and pending free agent Andrew Hammond. Kahkonen won nine starts in a row from Feb. 18 to March 16 and finished with a 2.88 goals against average and .902 saves percentage.
Kahkonen, who finished tied for 15th overall in the Calder Memorial Trophy voting, shared time in net with Talbot early in the season but the veteran was the clear No 1 goalie through the majority of the season and started all seven games for the Wild in the first-round playoff series against Vegas. Talbot finished with a 19-8 mark with a 2.63 GAA and .915 SV%.
In addition, Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, one of the players that was speculated to be available for the expansion draft, was protected by the team, along with blueliners Jonas Brodin and Jared Spurgeon.
Carson Soucy was one of eight defensemen made available for the expansion draft, but he is the only one of that group that is not a pending free agent.
Soucy, who played four seasons at MInnesota-Duluth before he signed a two-way NHL contract in April 2017,, has appeared in 108 games in his Wild career. He had a goal and 17 points this season.
NIck Bjugstad and Victor Rask are the only two of the 11 forwards made available that are under contract with the Wild. Bjugstand, former Minnesota Golden Gopher player, signed a one-year, $900,000 extension with the Wild at the start of June.
Seattle will select one player from each team for a total of 30 players. The Vegas Golden Knights are exempt from the draft.
The Kraken roster from the draft will consist of s14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders. Seattle must selected a minimum of 20 players who are under contract for the upcoming season.
Minnesota Wild protected list:
Forwards (7) — Kevin Fiala, Joel Eriksson Ek, Jordan Greenway, Ryan Hartman, Nico Sturm, Marcus Foligno and Mats Zuccarello.
Defensemen (3) — Matt Dubma, Jonas Brodin and Jared Spurgeon
Goalie (1) Cam Talbot.