Although he’s likely flying under the radar of most Seattle hockey fans, Jacob Melanson’s efforts are well known to the Kraken brass. This 2021 5th-round NHL Draft selection is showing some flair to say the least.
And talk about “not afraid”, this kid offers up as much physicality as he does skill.
The 20-year-old Nova Scotian will be showing up at Kraken training camp coming off a 50-goal season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He split the production evenly; 25 goals with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan and then 25 more after being traded to the Sherbrooke Phoenix. Melanson ended up with 99 points last season in “the Q”.
News And Notes
Melanson has adorned the Seattle Kraken jersey during training camp once before, to the tune of three minutes and three seconds. That’s how much ice time he received last September 26th with the Kraken in a preseason game against the Edmonton Oilers. That’s when Melanson got tossed for an illegal hit to the head of Oilers mostly-minor-league forward James Hamblin, earning himself a two-game suspension from the NHL Department of Player Safety.
Whoooooaaa there big guy. Not exactly an auspicious start, but the organization will forgive him.
That was the end of his Kraken preseason, and off he went to dominate physically and offensively in the QMJHL in 2022-’23.
Early in the playoff semi-finals, he showed why the Phoenix had made the move to acquire him, posting a hat trick in a Game-1 win against the Halifax Mooseheads. He added an assist in an overtime victory in Game-2 with both wins happening on the road.
Oddly enough, the Mooseheads stormed back to win the next four games to reach the final. Over the course of those games, Melanson was a cumulative minus-7 without a point, although he did pile up hits, to the tune of about five per game.
Kraken Pros And Cons
The aforementioned series represents a microcosm of Melanson’s pros and cons.
While the 6-foot-1, 205-pound right winger is just the type of body and attitude Seattle could use up front, he’ll gradually learn where and when to channel that aggression and focus.
A true test of his wherewithal will be his likely introduction to the American Hockey League next season. It can be a tough test with some entrenched ornery players, players who know they’re not making it to the big show full-time and don’t mind making it difficult for cocksure newcomers.
Somewhat reckless might be an unfair description, although Melanson twice broke his collar bone in juniors. Ultra-competitive might be a kinder way of putting it.
If he continues to grow, continues to find the back of the net, and develops into a powerful and legitimate “shift” disturber, the Kraken might have a larger version of Yanni Gourde on their hands, although bigger and a wing, not a center. That’s just fine and dandy.
This is about maturity and development. The Kraken will be more than happy to provide Melanson the opportunity to take the next steps.
The winger signed his three-year enty-level contract with the Kraken last summer ahead of development camp, but because he went directly back to major juniors, that contract slides forward and doesn’t kick in until this next season. He’ll get paid $70,000 while playing in the AHL, $850,000 if he somehow makes it to the big show. Plan on seeing him in the AHL.
Some Previous Seattle Kraken Futures:
— Tye Kartye – Has NHL playoff experience.
— Tucker Robertson – Righty center in the Memorial Cup
— Kole Lind – Expansion snag from the Canucks.
— Ville Ottavainen – Signed a contract in March.