The Seattle Kraken would obviously like to continue their trajectory, make the playoffs, and go as deep as they possibly can. They’d like to do that without sacrificing future opportunities and organizational depth.
Sounds obvious, but it’s a fine line. Fortunately for the club, Kraken General Manager Ron Francis has plenty of options with which to play.
Some of those are prospects who have already been drafted by Seattle, three of whom we’ve already profiled within these pages (names include links). Obviously some of it depends on what the other NHL club is looking for in a deal, and of course whether or not Francis is willing to give someone up.
Jagger Firkus is a talented scorer playing for Moose Jaw in the Western Hockey League and the Kraken’s 35th-overall selection in this past summer’s NHL Draft. So far this season the right-shot winger has 57 points in 44 games played.
A blueline option, Ryker Evans is a lefty playing and producing in the American Hockey League this season. Given that he’s tallied 23 points in 36 at the AHL level this season, the 21-year-old would be difficult to say goodbye to.
Jani Nyman is another winger, a lefty playing the right side with the big boys in Finland. The 18-year-old, 49th-overall 2022 pick plays for Tampere in the top SM Liiga and is registering half-a-point a game.
The other most important asset Francis possesses, three 2nd-round draft picks in the 2023 Draft. That gives him some wheelie-dealie wiggle room. One came over in the trade with the Maple Leafs for defenseman Mark Giordano last March and the other came the previous summer from the Washington Capitals for the rights to goalie Vitek Vanecek who the Kraken had claimed the week before in the expansion draft.
The Seattle Kraken would like to add depth everywhere if possible, but the priorities would be at the two most important positions besides goalie, and that would be center and defense, with an edge to the latter.
While Cale Fleury has filled in admirably during the absence of Justin Schultz and Jamie Oleksiak along the way, he’s not enough. This club needs a more robust defense corps if making a playoff run, even if only for injury security.
Guys get banged up in the playoffs as the stakes get higher and the games more violent. My favorite all-time example is the 2006 Buffalo Sabres who lost four starting D-men during the playoffs before finally bowing out in Game-7 of the Eastern Conference Final to the Carolina Hurricanes.
One worthy side note here is the fact that Kraken defenseman Carson Soucy is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. The 28-year-old lefty makes $2.75-million at the moment. To re-up him in the off-season wouldn’t be a budget breaker, but there’s also always the chance he walks as a UFA. Does Francis take that chance, or move him before the trade deadline for someone in return. Two key factors; is the return an improvement, and are you upsetting the team’s solid chemistry if the club sheds him?
At center, Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat is on the block with an expiring contract, but term and chemistry pop up as questions here should the Kraken be interested in trading for him and signing him. Those rumors seem to have quieted.
The Kraken’s next game is against those Canucks, a team Seattle has never beaten, on Wednesday night at Climate Pledge Arena. The NHL Trade Deadline is March 3rd. The Kraken are presently one point out of first place in the Pacific Division.