Seattle Kraken, Coachella Valley Firebirds

Kraken Daily: Seattle Trade Talk, Last Game Of 2022-’23

Yep. If you haven’t gone through puck withdrawals yet, you will be on Thursday after the Kraken affiliate Coachella Valley Firebirds and the Hershey Bears play Game-7 of the Calder Cup final on Wednesday night.

That’s it. The end of the 2022-’23 season. For crying-out-loud, the European leagues wrapped up in April, the World Championship in May, the Stanley Cup last week, the Memorial Cup a couple of weeks before that, and now finally here we go with the Calder Cup.

The beautiful thing about it for us puck junkies, we get the NHL Awards show on Monday night and the NHL Draft on Wednesday the 28th and Thursday. Free agency hits three days after that. Then there’s development camps for NHL teams almost immediately after.

And then silence. Except from us. will be updating scouting reports, checking on rumours, and reporting on NHL and AHL deals every day, all summer long.

We will of course miss the real hockey on ice. We won’t get that again until September.

Actually I lie, the European leagues start their training camps in August, and their regular season games, and that of the major juniors in North America come to think of it, begin in September.

Kraken Kraziness

We’ve brought this up before, but it’s still pretty amazing to be reminded what a season it has been for the city of Seattle and its growing number of hockey fans. The 2nd-year Kraken one win short of the Stanley Cup playoffs Western Conference Final, the Western League champion Seattle Thunderbirds reaching the Memorial Cup final, and now the Kraken’s farm team in Coachella Valley on the brink of a Calder Cup.

Congratulations everyone, and here’s to those learning about the greatest sport in the world for the very first time.

Pssst: By the way, Stanley Cup playoff hockey is the greatest sport in the world, while the NHL regular season would be number-two.

Big Trade Bites

The two biggest names in the NHL trade market are both Winnipeg Jets: Center Pierre-Luc Dubois, the 3rd-overall pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2016 who was traded to “the Peg” in early 2021, and his American goalie pal Connor Hellebuyck, a 30-year-old Vezina Trophy finalist who’s only played for the Jets.

Are the Kraken interested in the goalie?

No. As talented as he is, Seattle doesn’t need another 30-something netminder, especially when they have a starter under contract for another four seasons. Philipp Grubauer showed well in the playoffs in 2023 and that’s the bottom line.

Are the Kraken interested in the center. Maybe.

Dubois is a restricted free agent (RFA) with arbitration rights, but that’s neither here nor there if a team trades for him and signs him to a long-term deal. Or the Jets do the deal with him first and then move him. You’re looking in the ballpark of $7-to-8-million per season.

The Kraken are happy with Matty Beniers in the middle on the 1st-line and the prospects of who might be coming along next, as in Shane Wright. But then again … they have the cap room and Wright could play the wing.

If the Kraken are serious about a Stanley Cup they need to be elite up the middle. Big guy Dubois adds size and talent. Strength up the middle wins Cups, not speculation.

Culturally, they have one other French Canadian around, Yanni Gourde, another center with whom Dubois could speak Quebecois. He’d also be a great mentor.

NHL Dealies

Quiet, effective, with 479 points in 681 NHL games, and a bit injury prone forward Sean Monahan re-signed with the Montreal Canadiens for one season at about $2-million. He was slated to be an unrestricted free agent (UFA).

Our favorite Latvian Zemgus Girgensons re-signed with the Buffalo Sabres for his 10th season with the team. He signed for one year at $2.5-million. He was the club’s 1st-round NHL Draft pick back in 2012.

Heads up everyone: Arizona Coyotes General Manager Bill Armstrong announced today that forward Zack Kassian and defenseman Patrik Nemeth have been placed on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying out their contracts.

So there’s that.

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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.