The Kraken and the other 31 NHL teams began the NHL Draft Combine this week in Buffalo, New York where 106 top prospects will go through a battery of interviews, medical tests and fitness challenges. Most of us media types won’t be welcomed in until Friday to meet some of the top players and then again on Saturday morning to watch when a serious variety of work-out tests go on display. Seattle Hockey Insider will be there this week to cover it for you.
The interview process began Monday and will continue through Friday, a chance for teams to check out the “mental make-up” of players they’re interested in drafting. Medical tests are set for Wednesday. Once cleared, prospects will be able to participate in the battery of physical tests that await them on the weekend.
The League provided this complete list of players.
Which type of player or position the Kraken are leaning towards for their 1st-round selection is anyone’s guess at this point, and made particularly difficult by the fact that the third year franchise can use some depth pretty much everywhere on the ice.
Our D-man speculation was based more on draft position relative to the NHL Central Scouting Bureau’s final list and the projections of a handful of media “experts”. The same could be said for our very short list of forward prospects touted earlier.
Kraken Up The Middle
“Strength up the middle” is a term one will often hear emphasized by hockey managers as it relates to line-up importance. It starts with the goalkeeper of course, but refers more to strong shut-down defenseman and of course talented, versatile, conscientious centermen. The men in the middle have more responsibilities at both ends of the ice compared to wingers and when given a choice between one or the other, barring a glaring need on a wing, a team will take a center every time.
“Best available player” is another popular NHL Draft catch-phrase, a highly accurate one that definitely applies to the Kraken. If not specifically looking to fill a role, or leaning toward one positional need or another, a club will select the best available player regardless of position.
In Seattle’s case, if they don’t trade out of pick number-20, they’ll have a player in mind that they’ll want to pick at that spot. In case someone snags that individual with an earlier pick, they’ll have a back-up choice, and another, and likely another. Then they’ll start that process over again for their three 2nd-round picks, once again assuming they don’t deal any of them. Draft picks are valuable trade chips and they might have an eye on a player from another team or a higher draft pick.
Moving up for a team like the Kraken would be a bit unusual, again given their general overall sweeping needs, but it’s not entirely out of the question if they’re in love with a particular prospect, have to have him, and will move up to get him.
The NHL Draft is three weeks away in Nashville. The fun begins this week in Buffalo. The research and work’s been going on all year.
— Last summer the Kraken took Shane Wright with the 4th-overall pick at the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal. In 2021 they chose Matty Beniers with the 2nd-overall pick, a choice made remotely and electronically because of the Covid pandemic. Again, barring a move, the Kraken will be making the 20th-overall pick in Nashville on June 28th. The lower draft number is simply a reflection of the success they had on the ice the season before.