Winnipeg Jets’ Mason Appleton, 2 Manitobans taken in NHL Expansion Draft

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff called their expansion draft decisions a calculated risk, but the gamble paid off.

The Seattle Kraken picked forward Mason Appleton in the NHL Expansion Draft and not defenceman Dylan DeMelo, allowing the Jets to keep their blue line intact. And the Jets didn’t even have to make a side deal to keep one of their top defencemen.

The 25-year-old Appleton is coming off a career-best season with 12 goals and 13 assists in 56 games. He’s entering the final year of his contract at a bargain basement price, with Appleton scheduled to make $900,000 next season.

Appleton was the Jets’ sixth round draft pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Read more: Winnipeg Jets to lose forward Mason Appleton in Seattle Kraken expansion draft

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The Jets protected the younger and more affordable Logan Stanley instead of the veteran DeMelo, presumably because they felt Stanley would be more attractive for the fledgling franchise.

Stanley will soon be a restricted free agent after earning a little over a million dollars last season, while DeMelo is five years older, he’s under contract for three more seasons with an average annual salary of $3 million per season.

Three other players with Manitoba connections were also selected by the Kraken.

Read more: Winnipeg Jets hockey boss Kevin Cheveldayoff prepares for busy ‘GM’s week’

Seattle selected Winnipeg’s Chris Driedger from the Florida Panthers. The 27-year-old played two seasons for the Panthers after breaking into the NHL with the Ottawa Senators.

The Kraken took Strathclair’s Morgan Geekie from the Carolina Hurricanes. Geekie is just 23 and tallied three goals and six assists in 36 games as a rookie.

Former Jet Brandon Tanev is also headed to the pacific northwest after being selected from the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 29-year-old Tanev played two seasons with the Pens after four seasons with the Jets.

The Kraken picked 30 players on Wednesday, one from every team except for the Vegas Golden Knights who were exempt after entering the league four years ago.

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Seattle opted not to select Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price, but their picks also included forward Jordan Eberle of the New York Islanders and Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano.

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