The Chicago Blackhawks had a very interesting unprotected list for the Seattle Kraken to choose from in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. It seemed pretty clear that one of Nikita Zadorov or Calvin de Haan was going to be selected but that was not the case. Instead, they took a forward but it wasn’t one of the forwards that you would expect either. They decided to go with John Quenneville as their selection from the Blackhawks. That is straight out of left field.
Quenneville was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft. He never really succeeded there so they traded him to the Blackhawks in exchange for John Hayden. It was pretty much one team’s bad player for another team’s bad player. With Chicago, Quenneville never got much better.
He played nine games with the Hawks in 2019-20 and had no points. In 2021, he didn’t lace them up once for the NHL club. That is why this selection by Seattle is so interesting. Quenneville has been an unproductive player in his NHL career so far yet they took him over some pretty good players. None of the players that the Hawks left unprotected are stars but there are a few that are worlds better than Quenneville.
Yes, John Quenneville is the cousin of former Blackhawks head coach, Joel Quenneville. Coach Q was long gone by the time New Jersey and Chicago completed the trade. It is a nice connection but it just brings back the pain of the team firing the legendary coach.
The Chicago Blackhawks may have gotten a little bit lucky with Seattle’s selection.
In all likelihood, Seattle has more up its sleeve. Making a selection like this leads you to believe that. It doesn’t sound like the Hawks and Kraken have a trade to announce any time soon but you never truly know. Quenneville isn’t going to go there and just find the magic and Seattle has to know that.
It is possible that they just want to be careful with their salary cap situation. If they would have taken Zadorov, they would have had to sign him as an RFA. If they took de Haan, they would have his cap hit to deal with. Either way, it will be interesting to see if a reason for this selection ever becomes public. As of right now, it is fair to assume that the Kraken will be a pretty good team right out of the gate but they didn’t take the best player available to them from every team.