When Ron Francis selected the bulk of his club during the Expansion Draft, it was clear that the strength of the Seattle Kraken was going to be on defense.

Francis put together an experienced blue line with a mix of skill sets, including some big, physical guys. Seattle won’t be an easy out during the regular season which should help Philipp Grubauer and Chris Driedger in net.

Here is a look at who is on the roster, what you need to know about them, and where they project in the Kraken lineup.

Mark Giordano

  • 37 years old
  • Left-shot defenseman
  • 949 career games
  • .54 points per game

Perhaps the biggest name that the Kraken picked up in the Expansion Draft, it’s going to take some getting used to seeing Giordano in blue. All 949 games he’s played came with the Calgary Flames, and he will be a leader in Seattle as he was with the Flames. He’s got a trophy case that include a Norris (2019) and a Messier (2020). He brings leadership and offense to the Kraken blue line.

That offense is still there despite his advanced age. He averaged just under half a point per game last season with positive possession numbers and an expected goals (xG) of 52.6 percent. He was a mainstay on the Flames power play and chipped in for eight points.

Kraken projection: If Seattle chooses a captain in its first season, Giordarno will be in that mix. Look for him to be in the team’s top defensive pairing and manning the point on the power play.

Jamie Oleksiak

  • 28 years old
  • Left-shot defenseman
  • 369 career games
  • .20 points per game

You don’t have to consider his statistics to figure out what Oleksiak’s game is about. Just look at him. He’s big. He’s listed at 6-foot-7 and 255 pounds. While he’s not going to bring the Climate Pledge Arena crowd to their feet with end-to-end rushes, he might do so with a crushing hit along the boards. Oleksiak is a good, physical, stay-at-home type of defenseman and will be an imposing force.

He’s not a big scorer but did come up with some key goals during the Dallas Stars’ run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2020 when he scored five times. His underlying numbers are good and when he was on the ice at five-on-five play last year, the Stars generated more high-danger chances than they allowed.

“I’m here to win,” Oleksiak said at the Expansion Draft. “I like to have fun and fun for me is winning. I think we got guys here, the guys I’ve met so far, we’re all kind of in the same boat. We’re gonna do what we can to win and that’s the end goal, right?”

Kraken projection: Top-four pairing.

Adam Larsson

  • 28 years old
  • Right-shot defenseman
  • 603 career games
  • .22 points per game

Another guy who isn’t going to provide a lot of offense from the back end, Larsson has been a solid defenseman throughout his NHL career. Once traded for Taylor Hall, he survived six seasons with the defensively inept Oilers. His possession numbers suffered a bit for that, but when he was with the New Jersey Devils the previous five seasons his analytics were a notch better.

Can he regain that form in Seattle? On paper the Kraken appear to have a more stout defense than Larsson was a part of in Edmonton. That should help help him be an effective defender.

Kraken projection: Larsson is a right-handed shot and will have a chance of playing with Giordano on the top defensive pairing.

Carson Soucy

  • 27 years old
  • Left-shot defenseman
  • 108 career games
  • .29 points per game

The general theme surrounding the inaugural Kraken lineup is that it’s going to be a tough team to play against. Soucy adds to that feeling. He’s just scratching the surface of his NHL career, having just played two full seasons with the Minnesota Wild. Soucy is also scratching doorways and low ceilings as he’s listed at 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds. Like Oleksiak, he’s a physical player who also has an imposing presence on defense.

Soucy is an eyeball player. You notice him when watching him live, and he makes good plays, but his possession numbers so far in his career have been on the negative side of the ledger. Still, the upside is there and the hope is that he’s getting better with more experience.

Kraken projection: Most likely a third-pairing defenseman but could play his way into the top four.

Vince Dunn

  • 24 years old
  • Left-shot defenseman
  • 276 career games
  • .38 points per game

Dunn is young but already has 276 NHL games under his belt, which is impressive. He’s flashed offensive skill in the past – including a 12-goal, 35-point campaign during the Blues Stanley Cup season in 2018-2019 – and the Kraken are hoping he can do so consistently. As a restricted free agent, he filed for arbitration so there is still a bit of contract negotiation to get through, but he’ll be in Seattle this year, barring a trade.

Which version of Dunn will Seattle see? Will it be the Dunn who put up great xG percentages of 53, 59, and 53 over his first three seasons or the one who slipped to 45 this past year? The Blues as a team were not as strong last year so perhaps that down year was an anomaly.

Kraken projection: The talent is there for Dunn to be a top-four and power-play defenseman for Seattle.

Haydn Fleury

  • 25 years old
  • Left-shot defenseman
  • 170 career games
  • .15 points per game

A former first-round pick of Ron Francis and the Carolina Hurricanes in 2014, Fleury has shown flashes but has yet to play consistently in the NHL. He was a scoring defenseman in junior and during his rookie pro year in the AHL with Charlotte. There is skill there, but his inability to put it all together led to him being traded to the Anaheim Ducks at this past trade deadline. Francis must still see potential and drafted him again during the expansion process.

Fleury has been a good possession player throughout his short NHL career and posted positive numbers both in Carolina and Anaheim last season. Projected as a scoring defenseman when he was originally drafted, perhaps his role is ultimately as more of a two-way guy.

Kraken projection: Fleury will play and will be in the mix for the top four.

Jeremy Lauzon

  • 24 years old
  • Left-shot defenseman
  • 76 career games
  • .14 points per game

Lauzon is a young defenseman who played his first full season in the NHL last year with Boston. He hit the ice for 19 minutes a game and showed a lot of potential as a stay-at-home, physical defenseman. He’s never been a scorer at any level so you’re looking at a guy to retrieve pucks and make a good first pass up ice.

Kraken projection: Most likely a bottom-pairing guy at this point in his career. Part of the impressive depth Seattle has on defense.

Dennis Cholowski

  • 23 years old
  • Left-shot defenseman
  • 104 career games
  • .26 points per game

A former first-round pick with Detroit, Cholowski showed promise during his rookie season in 2018-19 with seven goals and 16 points. He hasn’t come close to that since and has been splitting his time between the Red Wings and the AHL.

There’s potential, which is a dangerous word, but if Cholowski can find the scoring touch he had prior to the NHL he could find a place in Seattle.

Kraken projection: Most likely AHL bound but could surprise with a strong training camp and preseason.

On the outside looking in

William Borgen is a 24-year-old right-handed defenseman who will most likely start in the AHL with Charlotte. He played 10 games with Buffalo last season and has just 14 NHL games so far in his career.

Cale Fleury is another right-hander who will have to impress in camp to crack the roster. He played in 41 games for Montreal in the 2019-20 season but spent last year in the AHL with the Laval Rocket where he recorded six assists in 22 games.