It’s all over but the pickin’. With the culmination of the NHL Draft Combine on Saturday, the next stop for the Kraken and all of their league compatriots is the NHL Draft itself beginning with Round-1 on June 28th in Nashville.
Unless of course you consider the NHL Awards show important. That’s Monday night, June 26th, also in “Music City”.
Between now and then, the Kraken will narrow down its draft list to players they think they can get with the 20th-overall pick, the three selections they have in the second round, and beyond.
Or, if they’re really fired up about a particular prospect, they can trade a pick or two and try to move up in the 1st-round to get a hold of that person.
“We haven’t talked about it yet with Ronnie (Kraken GM Ron Francis), so we really haven’t finished the whole thing,” Kraken Director of Amateur Scouting Robert Kron told Seattle Hockey Insider in Buffalo on Friday. “We’ll see, I’m not sure that’s the case this year, but we’re looking at every option.”
Or, if they’re not crazy about one particular player, or even if they are, they could package a pick or two, and/or move down, and try to land a current player from another team. Although that’s not likely, the options remain plentiful, particularly with the Kraken holding the 50th, 52nd, and 57th-overall picks.
Seattle also holds a 3rd-rounder, 4th-rounder, 5th-rounder, two 6th-rounders, and a 7th rounder this summer. There’s no shortage of “sleeper” success stories presently playing in the NHL that were plucked in the later rounds, so the Kraken will be exercising thorough due diligence for each and every selection.
The simplest formula and greatest likelihood for a franchise in its third season looking to add depth across the organizational board, is to take the “best available player” each and every time, regardless of position.
Kraken Czech Mates
With the remarkable success of Slovakian players at the 2022 NHL Draft, with winger Juraj Slafkovsky going 1st-overall, defenseman Simon Nemec going 2nd-overall, and forward Filip Mesar going 26th-overall, plus Czech defenseman David Jiricek (6th-overall) and forward Jiri Kulich (28th-overall) also factoring in the first round, I wondered if Czechoslovakia native Kron had any insights on that region’s impact on this summer’s Draft.
Czechoslovakia was one nation beginning in 1918 until splitting peacefully at the beginning of 1992 as the Czech Republic (now called Czechia) and Slovakia.
“There’s a couple of players, there’s one that’s been mentioned in the market, (winger Eduard) Sale, he’s from my hometown (Brno) actually, so I know of him very well, but as a Czech crop I don’t think it’s that deep,” Kron said.
The NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau in Europe had Sale ranked as the 4th best international skater and large defenseman Jakub Dvorak from the city of Liberec, home of the Elite League’s White Tigers, ranked 15th.
As for the Slovakian burst last summer, among other things, it’s just another way to deepen the friendly rivalry between the two nations,
“That was a historic year for them, and they’ve got a couple of good players again this year,” Kron said.
Slovakian center Dalibor Dvorsky is ranked third on the international list while winger Alex Ciernik is ranked 21st.
Regardless of nationality, point totals, and scouting reports, there are no guarantees for Kron, his staff, or any of the NHL scouting groups, and the lower you go, say pick-20 instead of pick-3, the less likelihood for success. It’s all about doing one’s homework and then doing it again.
“It is difficult,” Kron said, “You try to turn every stone and obviously you’re going to have as much information on every player that’s out there and then make an educated decision, but you don’t have a crystal ball and you don’t know what they’re going to be. You’re hoping, you’re projecting, the young men are 17 and 18-years-old, so it can be difficult to hit a home run for sure.”