Seattle Kraken, Matty Beniers

Kraken Daily: Seattle NHL Awards, Head Start Contracts

Kraken Hardware?

We previously handicapped the Seattle Kraken’s chances at the NHL Awards on Monday night in Nashville. Of course, 1st-line center Matty Beniers is the favorite for the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie-of-the-year, while head coach Dave Hakstol is in a much tighter race for the Jack Adams Award as the most valuable mentor.

Darryl Sutter of the Calgary Flames won the latter last year and he’s now out of a job. It’s weird how often that happens; the Adams winner losing their gig within 12 months.

Fred Shero of the Philadelphia Flyers won this award in its first year of existence back in 1974. His club won the Stanley Cup that season, the first expansion team to do so.

Big German defenseman Moritz Seider of the Detroit Red Wings won the Calder last year. Carl Voss, a center for the Red Wings, was the first rookie to win it way back in 1933.

Yes, this Calder is also named after the first president of the NHL, Frank Calder, the namesake of the American Hockey League’s championship trophy won by the Hershey Bears on Wednesday night.

See how the Kraken do at the Awards starting at 5 pm pacific on TNT.

Head Start

Conversations can begin with NHL players regarding new contracts 12 months before they expire, so it comes as no surprise that the Vancouver Canucks will be trying to get a deal done well in advance with star forward Elias Pettersson, while the Buffalo Sabres will be attempting to ink a pair of young, high profile defensemen, Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power.

Those two franchises just happen to be expansion partners, having entered the NHL together back in 1970. Neither has won a Stanley Cup.

The 5th-overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, Pettersson is two points shy of being a point-a-game-player over the course of his 325 game career. This past season he had career highs in goals (39), assists (63) and points (102), and frequently pulled off highlight-reel maneuvers.

“He has a great future,” Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin said on Wednesday, “I want to have him part of this organization moving forward and I’m looking forward to continuing that conversation with him. The good thing is there is no rush. We still have his rights for another two years, so we’ll see where it goes from here.”

What he means by that; the player they call “Petey” will not reach unrestricted free agency (UFA) at the end of this current contract in 2024. He’ll be a restricted free agent (RFA) with arbitration rights next summer. The idea for the Canucks will be to blow all of those concerns out of the water by giving him a lucrative, long-term, preferably eight-year deal.

Allvin’s press conference mostly served as an opportunity to talk about the NHL Draft and the Oliver Ekman-Larsson buy-out.

Meanwhile, the Sabres will attempt something similar with their pair of former number-one picks. Well, at least one of them. Dahlin, the top pick in the 2018 NHL Draft had a career best 73 points last season and will make $6-million for one more to finish out his three-year bridge contract. Like Pettersson, he’s an RFA with arbitration rights in 2024.

Power, the top overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft will see his entry-level deal expire after next season and will have very few free agent rights given his limited number of games. He’s likely looking at a bridge deal similar to what Dahlin is coming out of, unless the Sabres wait and see how he does this season before inking him to something longer.

Power had 35 points in 79 games his rookie season after debuting for eight games coming out of college the previous spring.

By the way, the Kraken can start talking with Beniers about a new deal beginning this July 1st as well, as his entry-level deal also expires next summer. It’s expected the club will wait a wee bit.

More Kraken:

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Could Kraken Trade a Goalie, Draft a Goalie

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.