Seattle Kraken non-foe, Henrik Lundqvist

Kraken Daily: Hall of Fame Ballot Favorites, Game On!

The Seattle Kraken’s American Hockey League affiliate Coachella Valley Firebirds will lace ’em up later today in Game-5 of the Calder Cup Final against the Hershey Bears at the Giant Center in “Chocolate Town”, Pennsylvania.

The series is tied 2-2 with the home team having won every game thus far.

Speaking of home teams, the Firebirds have already sold out the Acrisure Arena for Game-6 scheduled for Monday night. Coachella Valley will also host Game-7 on Wednesday night should it become necessary.

These teams and the AHL are shattering postseason attendance records with both finalists playing in front of packed home buildings. Puck drop Saturday will occur a little after 4 pm pacific time.

@Firebirds twitter.
Kraken Honored Member Welcomes More

The Seattle Kraken organization has one Hockey Hall of Fame honored member among the ranks, that being general manager Ron Francis, inducted in the player category in 2007. Francis finished as the NHL’s 5th all-time leading scorer before joining the management ranks.

In four days we’ll find out who joins Francis in that hallowed hall in Toronto. It’s a busy day for the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee as they’ll meet, vote, determine the 2023 inductees for November, and then listen as the new members are notified. Those new honorees will then do a conference call with the media.

The night before all of this activity, the selection committee will hold a dinner. Besides reminiscing and seeing old friends, there will likely be some lobbying going on for certain nominees.

Players and officials have to wait three years after their careers have ended to be eligible. There are no “first-year” eligible “locks” this time around, like a Francis, or a Joe Sakic — those two are already in — or a Jaromir Jagr, if the 51-year-old ever stops playing back home in Europe.

Here’s the top three 1st-year eligible possibilities:

— Jay Bouwmeester – One of the 30 “members” of the very exclusive Triple Gold Club, players who have won a Stanley Cup, Olympic Gold, and a World Championship Gold, the lefty D-man played 1,240 regular season games, winning his Cup with the St. Louis Blues in 2019. He also won two World Cups.

— Justin Williams – Won three Stanley Cups, one with Carolina in 2006 and two more with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012 and 2014. He played 1,264 games and piled up 797 points while being considered one of the great, clutch playoff performers while earning the nickname “Mr. Game-7”. His teams went 8-and-1 in Game-7’s in which he had seven goals and a record 15 points.

— Henrik Lundqvist – The goalie / fashion model will get some extra love based on the fact he played his entire career with the New York Rangers, he’s been a “face” for the sport for a couple of decades and he’s now a high profile analyst on network television. “Hank” won 459 of the 887 games he played in. “The King” also backstopped Sweden to Olympic Gold in Torino in 2006.

We’ll review a few of the many other returning eligible names a little closer to the vote.

OEL Buy-out

The Kraken’s Pacific Division neighbors to the north, the Vancouver Canucks, took a big step on Friday to try to free up some salary cap space; they bought out the final four years of defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s very expensive contract. Spread out over the next eight years, they’ll pay 2/3rds of the remaining deal that carried an annual cap hit of $8.25-million.

While the Canucks try to figure out what to do with the freed up money, they’ll also have the 11th-overall pick at next week’s NHL Draft.


Kraken Daily: Calder Heats Up; Hot Washington Goalies

NHL Awards: Will One or Two Kraken Win the Honors

Kraken Daily: The Champions From Around The World

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.