The Seattle Kraken chose HC Kometa Brno (Czechia ExtraLiiga top pro league) winger Eduard Sale with the 20th-overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. The club can use depth and talent across the board and chose who they felt was the best available player.
He was the first player taken from the Czech Republic in what will be a light year prospect-wise for that European nation.
Playing with men in Extraliiga, the 18-year-old winger felt he had a pretty solid season. He ended up with seven goals and seven assists in 43 regular season games. He was named rookie-of-the-year in the league.
“It was a tough season, everybody was just looking for the points, but I think I played with men and had 14 points,” Sale said with an Eastern European accent. “I think it was not bad in this league. It was tough in that league but I think after this year I can play in a pro league and I think I can improve many things.”
Sale plays in his hometown of Brno, which is also that of Kraken Director of Amateur Scouting Robert Kron. Kron may have showed his hand when he brought up Sale’s name during our one-on-one conversation in Buffalo at the NHL Combine back on June 11th. We asked him if there was any particular talent of note presently on the draft list from Czechia.
The 18-year-old will very likely continue to develop in Czechia next season. Before that final decision is made Sale will have the opportunity to skate with other Kraken prospects at Development Camp starting this coming weekend in Seattle.
The sessions on July 2nd and July 5th, which includes a scrimmage, are open to the public at the Kraken Community Iceplex.
“I think I will be ready, I think I need more skills and I am working for all,” Sale said when discussing his game. “I think I have a good hockey sense and good skills and I think I can play one day (in the NHL).”
As previously discussed here, the Kraken didn’t have any particular positional needs at this stage of their franchise development. They were gunning for the best available player at number-20. That doesn’t include goaltenders, a position that gets a different treatment given the limited number of slots an organization possesses. Seattle could add to their goaltending depth in a later round at this draft.
Sale won a silver medal with Czechia at the 2023 World Junior Championship where he had six points in seven games. He had 19 points in 18 games in the Under-18 version of the tournament. He turned 18 on March 10th.