October 4, 2023

Kraken surprise Flyers with their expansion draft pick


Photo by Bruce Bennet/Getty Images

Instead of selecting one of the Flyers’ bigger names in the expansion draft, the Seattle Kraken threw a surprise at everyone Wednesday by taking 23-year-old prospect Carsen Twarynski.

Twarynski, a 2016 third-round draft pick, went scoreless in seven games last season and has played a total of 22 games for the Flyers in his career. He made the club’s season-opening lineup in 2019-20 as a rookie and scored his only NHL goal in his third career game.

“[Kraken general manager Ron Francis] and his group in Seattle have put a lot of time and effort into their preparation and with Carsen they have added a good, young piece to their team,” Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said in a statement released by the team. “Carsen is a hard-working player who has grown considerably in his four seasons since he was drafted in our organization. We wish nothing but the best for him in Seattle.”

Twarynski is a restricted free agent this offseason, so he’ll negotiate a new deal with the Kraken. He’s coming off of his three-year entry-level contract, which had an average annual value of $925,000 ($775,833 cap hit), per CapFriendly.com.

Starting last Saturday at 3:00pm ET, an NHL trade and waiver freeze went into effect. It will be lifted Thursday at 1:00pm ET. Within that time period, teams can only make deals with Seattle.

The Kraken had the opportunity to snag one of the Flyers’ high-profile players. Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk (JVR), and Shayne Gostisbehere were among the most notable exposed by the Flyers. Voracek and JVR were tied with Claude Giroux for the team lead in scoring last season (43 points), while Gostisbehere led Flyers defensemen in goals (nine), was second on the club in power play markers (five), and has a 65-point season on his résumé.

All three have larger cap hits: Voracek at $8.25 million, JVR $7 million, and Gostisbehere $4.5 million. When constructing their protected list, the Flyers clearly had a focus on potential cap relief in this critical offseason amid a flat-cap world.

Dave Hakstol is the first-ever head coach of the Kraken. Twarynski had a strong showing in the Flyers’ 2018 training camp, when Hakstol was head coach of the club. The hard-working, north-south winger caught Hakstol’s eye and had an extended run in camp, but did not make the final roster.

Twarynski had an impressive camp in Alain Vigneault’s first season, as well, and played in the 2019-20 season opener in Prague, Czech Republic.

The Flyers have the entry draft Friday and Saturday, while free agency opens next Wednesday. The club picks at 13th overall Friday. Per CapFriendly.com, the Flyers currently have a little under $9.5 million in cap space. The deadline to submit qualifying offers to their restricted free agents is Monday of next week. Carter Hart, Travis Sanheim, and Connor Bunnaman are the club’s notable RFAs.

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