Though the 2021 Expansion Draft was scheduled for 5 p.m. PT, a number of their selections had been leaked from various reporters earlier this morning. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic first reported that the Seattle Kraken would select forward Alexander True from the San Jose Sharks.
The selection was confirmed during the live broadcast.
It was expected that the Kraken would select a forward from the Sharks, as pickings remained fairly slim after the protected lists were submitted. True, however, is a bit of a surprise, as forwards Ryan Donato, Dylan Gambrell and Matt Nieto were made available and have more experience at the NHL level. Donato, especially, was a favorite choice among analysts, who imagined he would be able to slide into the 2021-22 line-up.
The 24-year-old True has just 19 games of NHL experience, notching five assists and eight penalty minutes in a bottom-six role. At the AHL-level, however, he’s been excellent, playing 203 games with the San Jose Barracuda over the last four seasons, where he’s totaled 59 goals and 69 (nice) assists, as well as 106 penalty minutes.
If Seattle is looking to bulk out their fourth-line, True stands at 6-foot-5 and 201 pounds, even larger on skates. Unfortunately, he’s struggled with skating over his career, with his large frame slowing his feet.
The undrafted center was signed to a three-year, entry-level contract with the Sharks in July 2018, with an $800,000 average annual value. He is currently a pending restricted free agent, and Seattle has not yet negotiated a future contract.
While True is a Danish native, representing Denmark internationally as a top Danish prospect, the Kraken may frame this as a bit of a homecoming; True got his start in North America with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League, playing three seasons between 2014 and 2017, making it to the Canadian Hockey League’s Memorial Cup in his final season as the top WHL team. He also won the Thunderbirds’ Most Dedicated Player award in 2017.