BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Seattle Kraken have selected defenseman William Borgen in the 2021 NHL expansion draft. Borgen, 24, was a fourth-round pick of the Sabres back in 2015. The right-handed defenseman has played in 14 NHL games and 140 AHL games with the Rochester Americans.
Borgen has not registered a point in the NHL, but is a strong in the defensive zone and boasts exceptional physicality.
The Sabres would've surely liked to keep Borgen within their organization, but were only able to keep three defensemen protected in the expansion draft (Rasmus Dahlin, Henri Jokiharju, and Rasmus Ristolainen).
Will Borgen is a solid player and I'm sure the Sabres wanted to keep him. He's not flashy, but he's got the potential to be a strong second or third pair defender that can play big minutes.
If the Kraken do take Borgen, it all comes down to a potential Ristolainen trade. If the return is > than Borgen, Adams made the right move. You can make the argument that the Sabres should’ve left Ristolainen unprotected, but once again, if there is interest, that’s very risky— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) July 21, 2021
So why didn't the Sabres protect him instead of Ristolainen? It all comes down to the potential return in a deal with Ristolainen. It's been widely speculated that the Sabres are shopping the 26-year-old veteran defenseman and hoping for a pretty substantial return.
If GM Kevyn Adams can flip Ristolainen for an asset or assets that they value more than Borgen, they made the right decision with their protection list. If Ristolainen returns for another season or they trade him for an underwhelming return, this will be a decision the Sabres regret.
I tend to believe the Sabres will be able to add a somewhat valuable pick and/or player for Ristolainen but only time will tell. Remember, the NHL trade freeze lifts on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. and with the NHL Draft beginning on Friday, we could be in for a busy few days.