Columbus Blue Jackets, Gavin Bayreuther, News, NHL Expansion, Seattle Expansion Draft, Seattle Kraken

In the 2021 Expansion Draft, the Seattle Kraken have selected defenseman Gavin Bayreuther from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Mild surprise from #CBJ. The pick is not Max Domi.
#SeaKraken will be selecting D Gavin Bayreuther from Columbus.
@DFOHockey

About Bayreuther

Hailing from Concord, New Hampshire, the 27-year-old blueliner stands at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds. He was passed over three times in the NHL draft and signed as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Stars.

Prior to turning professional, Bayreuther spent four seasons with the men’s ice hockey team at St. Lawrence University in New York. He signed with the Stars in 2017 following his senior season and was assigned to Dallas’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate Texas Stars. He played two full seasons in the AHL before receiving a call-up midway through the 2018-19 season to replace an injured Marc Methot. In 19 NHL games that season, he scored two goals and five points.

Gavin-Bayreuther Columbus Blue Jackets Mathieu Joseph Tampa Bay Lightning
Gavin Bayreuther, former Columbus Blue Jacket (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Bayreuther spent the entire 2019-20 season with the Texas Stars before leaving the organization and signing as a free agent to a one-year, two-way contract with the Blue Jackets. In 14 AHL games, he managed three goals and 12 points, along with one goal in nine NHL games. He is currently a pending unrestricted free agent.

Contributions

Bayreuther is a fringe NHL defenseman who can provide depth to any team. Although he will likely never be a capable top-four blueliner in the NHL, he is a serviceable sixth defenseman and can step into the lineup when necessary. He is also a proven AHL scorer.

Related: THW’s Kraken Expansion Draft Tracker

If Bayreuther is indeed signed to a new contract by the Kraken, he will likely start in the AHL. He can provide scoring at that level as well as a call-up option in case of injury.

Players Not Picked

Although the Kraken chose to select Bayreuther, the Blue Jackets had several other options, the most tempting of which was forward Max Domi. Domi had a difficult first season in Columbus, but he is a well-established top-six scorer, only two years removed from a 70-point season with the Montréal Canadiens. His struggles this past season as well as some reported off-ice issues may have precluded Seattle’s management from selecting him.

Max Domi Columbus Blue Jackets
Max Domi, Columbus Blue Jackets (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Forward Kevin Stenlund was also an option. The young 24-year-old does not have very much NHL experience, but he can provide solid depth scoring and projects to be a solid bottom-six option.

Lastly, the Kraken could have chosen 33-year-old forward Nathan Gerbe. The diminutive center is well-known as one of the smallest players to ever play in the NHL, standing at only 5-foot-5. He began his career with the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes before spending two seasons in Switzerland’s top professional league. He signed with the Blue Jackets in 2018 and has been there ever since as a depth option. He is also the captain of Columbus’s AHL affiliate Cleveland Monsters.

Bayreuther is one of the less headline-inducing picks of the 2021 Expansion Draft. He has been a depth defenseman for his entire professional career and will likely remain one in Seattle, should they choose to sign him. It remains to be seen whether or not the Kraken will indeed retain him or if they will let him walk come the opening of free agency on July 28.

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