After a surprise sophomore season, the Seattle Kraken had little work to shore up their team this offseason. They lost a few players, namely Carson Soucy, Ryan Donato, Morgan Geekie, Daniel Sprong, and Martin Jones. That group only features names from the bottom of their lineup, though. Donato, Geekie and Sprong together formed the team’s fourth line last season. Soucy played third-pair minutes, and Jones served as the team’s backup goalie. They added three forwards and two defencemen via free agency themselves, but also turn internally for potential roster replacements. With a few names to watch, the Kraken hope some of their prospects come to camp focused on making the 23-man roster.
Kraken Prospects Looking for Roster Spots Next Season
As noted above, Seattle technically might roll into next season without a single roster opening available. They signed Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who filled the fourth-line centre role on every team he’s suited up for in the NHL thus far. Also, Kailer Yamamoto signed with Seattle too; he has tons of upside and should push for a middle-six role. Also, Marian Studenic signed with the Kraken, though he likely sits on the cusp as an AHL call-up candidate.
On defence, Brian Dumoulin brings a veteran presence to replace the minutes Soucy logged previously. He could exceed Soucy’s bar and be an upgrade overall, too. They snagged Connor Carrick as well, giving them additional depth at the position. The only position they didn’t go out and add to was in net. That said, Joey Daccord might not get the nod as their number two. He remains a strong Kraken goalie prospect, but Chris Driedger returned to health and wants to re-establish himself.
Although it seems like a tough roster to crack, the opportunity remains available. Seattle still lacks a bonafide superstar and needs everyone in their lineup contributing and playing strong within their systems. A young player with speed and creativity could do wonders for this roster.
When Jared McCann went down in the postseason with injury, Kartye made his NHL debut. Usually, call-ups start out on the third or fourth line, and the rest of the lineup shuffles up to fill the hole at the top. Kartye, however, got the nod to hop right into McCann’s slot on the first line. He responded with three goals and five points in ten games.
Considering this was his first NHL action, coming in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and against the defending champions right away to boot, his production surprised many. He only averaged 12:21 in ice time per game but proved himself as a legitimate option going forward. That vaults Kartye into the thick of the mix for next season. He’s arguably the most-likely Kraken prospect to crack the opening night lineup.
For much of 2021-22, Wright sat as the consensus number-one pick for the 2o22 draft. Then, he wound up falling to the Kraken at fourth overall. Seattle maximized Wright’s exposure to the NHL without burning the first year of his entry-level contract. He played eight games, tallying two points, including his first NHL goal. Since he stayed under ten games, his contract slides forward; that means he still has a full three years remaining on his rookie deal.
The Kraken prospect also played for Canada’s U20 team at the World Junior Championships over the holidays. He tallied four goals and seven points in seven games there. In an eight-game conditioning stint in the AHL, he posted four goals and six points. He returned to the OHL and tallied 37 points in 20 games, and then added three in four postseason contests.
After his squad’s season ended in elimination, Wright went back to the AHL and played 24 playoff games, collecting nine more points. The Kraken gave their prospect quite the season with all the moves from team to team. Instead of spending the whole season as a practice forward at the NHL level, he actually dressed for 71 total games (almost matching a full 82-game NHL schedule). He collected 64 points in that span too, between World Juniors, the OHL, AHL, and NHL. That could have him gnawing in training camp for an NHL opportunity in 2023-24.
Daccord inked a two-year extension to remain with the Kraken back on June 30th. He only played five regular season games at the NHL level in each of his first two years with the organization. However, his game took a major step forward at the AHL level in 2022-23. He played a professional career-high 38 games, with a .918 save percentage and 2.38 goals against average.
He also received honours as AHL Goaltender of the Month in March after going 6-1-0 with a .956 save percentage and 1.55 goals against average. Daccord backstopped the Coachella Valley Firebirds all the way to the AHL Championship, ultimately losing in emotional fashion; they dropped the championship in a Game Seven overtime contest. For a first-year AHL team, it was an enormous accomplishment even though it ended in bitter disappointment.
Though he’s 26 years old, goalies tend to develop later than forwards and defencemen. That puts Daccord right towards the end of his “prospect” tenure for the Kraken. Whether he gets an opportunity remains to be seen and likely depends on the goalies ahead of him. If Philipp Grubauer carries his strong playoff performance into next year, the starting job is all but locked up in his name. There’s more doubt behind him though, as Driedger returns from a full-year absence with injury. That could give Daccord a chance to carve out a meaningful NHL role, and his two-year extension suggests that might be the longer-term vision anyways.
Kraken Prospect Pool
Beyond the above names, Seattle boasts another 15 non-roster forwards, seven defencemen, and two goalies. Some of those players don’t truly fall into the “prospect” category, due to their age. But the majority sit between 18-21 years old. With another nine picks in next summer’s draft, that number should climb even higher. Considering this team only had three entry drafts thus far to assemble their prospect pool, the Kraken’s pipeline looks just fine.