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Why Is Seattle Selecting Alex True?



The expansion draft won’t be televised until tonight, but San Jose Hockey Now has confirmed that the San Jose Sharks have lost Alexander True to Seattle.

Pierre LeBrun was the first to break the news.

The Kraken submitted their expansion draft selections to the NHL and the NHLPA at 7 AM PT this morning. Each NHL team, except for the Vegas Golden Knights, will lose one player to the expansion club.

At first glance, True’s selection was off the board. Most speculation centered around the San Jose Sharks losing Dylan Gambrell, Radim Simek, or Ryan Donato. SJHN thought that Matt Nieto would be the best pick.

Between Gambrell, Simek, Donato, and Nieto, that’s a lot more NHL experience than True’s 19 NHL games.

But reading between the lines, it’s clear that Seattle did not love San Jose’s exposure list.

The Kraken weren’t likely to do the Sharks a favor and eat Simek’s contract. The bottom-pairing defenseman has three years left at $2.25 million per. Donato can score, but the RFA’s qualifying offer has to be for over $2 million — too rich for a player of his caliber. Meanwhile, Gambrell and Nieto are considered marginal NHL players.

True may also end up being a marginal NHL player, but the 24-year-old does have some upside and is also solid organizational depth. In contrast to say fellow center Gambrell, True is cheaper and likely to be signed to a two-way contract, while providing a similar level of play. Gambrell is making $1.1 million, regardless of where he plays, while the RFA True made $700,000 in the NHL, $70,000 in the AHL in his last contract.

You can shuttle True back and forth between Seattle and your AHL affiliate without much risk of the 6-foot-5 centerman being claimed off waivers.

That’s my guess, at least. It doesn’t sound exciting, but it’s probably more a condemnation of the San Jose Sharks’ organizational depth than anything.

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