Seattle Kraken, Connor Bedard dreams

Some Kraken Draft Presumptions For 2023

At this stage of their development and considering the depth of their prospect pool over less than two seasons, General Manager Ron Francis and the Seattle Kraken would definitely be considered a “choose the best available player” team as it relates to their top selection in the 2023 NHL Draft. Most teams fall into that category regardless of finish.

That’s not to say they might not lean towards the blueline or even take a look at adding another goalie selection as the rounds move along, but for the most part this franchise is looking to add as much talent as possible regardless of where it skates on the ice surface.

The goaltending situation is one to ponder a little bit. Considering their active NHL netminders Philip Grubauer and Martin Jones are 31 and 32-years-of-age respectively and their third goalie, 28-year-old Chris Driedger, is not a long term answer as a number-one, the club will want to build out its options. Naturally, when the time comes, if need be, they can hit free agency or the trade market to add a netminder, but stocking the cupboards via the draft for strong long haul options is a wise way to go.

Outside of their two AHLers, Joey Daccord and Chris Gibson, again, not top options down the road, the Kraken have two goalie draft picks in their unsigned reserve ranks. Niklas Kokko, an 18-year-old Finn and a second-round pick last summer and Russian Semyon Vyasovoi, taken in the 6th-round in the 2021 draft are the two names.

Look for the Kraken to add to those future options.

Who’s Up Kraken?

We have to make a couple of presumptions to take a stab at who might end up throwing on a Kraken sweater at the 2023 NHL Draft in Nashville, since we still have almost half a season to go in this campaign and predicting exactly where the Kraken will finish is extremely difficult, especially given the competitive Western Conference races.

Typically we use the various reports from the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau, but since it’s just out this week, we’ll make reference to TSN’s mid season report. TSN is a national Canadian TV network.

For the sake of argument, let’s say the Kraken make the playoffs and they lose in the second round, a relatively neutral presumption, and let’s say they’re picking about 22nd in the draft.

Based on TSN’s projections, Seattle would be taking a forward. Five of the six picks between numbers 18 and 23 are centers or wingers. The one D-man in that range, listed 20th on their chart, is big right-handed Austrian David Reinbacher who’s playing in Switzerland.

You’ll often hear you can “never have enough centers”. Right in that ballpark on the list is Riley Heidt, playing for Prince George in the Western Hockey League. In fact, he’s right at number-22 on their prospective list.

Of course, should the Kraken fade out of a playoff spot, they likely wouldn’t fall far enough to be one of the eleven draft lottery teams hoping to have a ping pong ball land in the number-one slot for the consensus selection of Connor Bedard. He’ll be someone’s dream come true.

Otherwise, keep pushing for the playoffs and keep an eye on the prospect list.

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.