Who knows, if no other NHL team snags Morgan Geekie or Daniel Sprong in unrestricted free agency (UFA), the Kraken could have an interest in bringing one of them back. Geekie could be at a reasonable price, Sprong maybe not so much. For now, the club decided not to offer the pending restricted free agents qualifying offers. That immediately boosted them to UFA status starting Saturday.
The NHL “free agent frenzy” begins.
The Kraken did issue qualifying offers to RFA defensemen Vince Dunn, Will Borgen, and Cale Fleury, and also to forward Kole Lind, who led the Calder Cup playoffs in scoring. All four of the players have arbitration rights.
It’s definitely not expected to come to that for Dunn, who should be looking at a fat, long-term raise with a newly negotiated deal. The 26-year-old lefty enters his prime coming off a 64-point season for the Kraken as one of the two alpha males along the blueline. Paired on top of the depth chart with Adam Larsson, the two provided the team with consistency at both ends of the ice, with Dunn creating most of the opportunities offensively.
Borgen was arguably the Kraken’s most improved player over the course of last season as he appeared in all 82 games, and definitely took huge strides from the club’s inaugural season when he was mostly a healthy scratch. He missed a handful of games to a lower body injury, a few to Covid protocol, and ended up skating in 36 contests in 2021-’22.
Fleury was that guy this past season, riding the NHL charter and sitting in the press box as the extra. He played in 12 games for the Kraken, registering one assist.
Lind saw time with the big club during the inaugural season, posting eight points in 23 games of action. The 24-year-old took major strides in the American Hockey League this past season with 30 goals and 62 points in 72 games before tearing up the Calder Cup playoffs with 31 points in 26 games.
The former 2nd-round pick of the Vancouver Canucks (2017), acquired in the expansion draft, will likely be a factor in the shuffling of the Kraken’s forward corps.
Speaking of The Kraken Shuffle …
The recent new dad with a wicked wrister, Geekie managed to light the lamp nine times for Seattle last season and seven times the prior season with limited ice time. He played in 13 postseason games for the club and had two goals and two assists. He snapped home a huge insurance goal in the 3rd-period of the Kraken’s first ever playoff game, a 3-1 win on the road against the Avalanche, and then opened the scoring in a very similar fashion in Seattle’s 3-2 victory in Game-5.
Sprong had a bust out season as a bottom six forward and should be cashing in with a decent raise somewhere over the $750,000 he made last season on a one-year deal. He made the most of making the team on a Professional Try-Out (PTO) offer with 21 goals and 25 assists. He added a goal and assist in ten Stanley Cup playoff games, the goal coming at Climate Pledge Arena in the 1st period of Game-4 against Colorado. That game ended 3-2 with Jordan Eberle’s dramatic overtime winner.
Time is ticking away for the Kraken UFA’s. Joey Daccord signed a two-year deal Friday (more on that shortly) but there’s been no news on winger Ryan Donato or D-man Carson Soucy. Goalie Martin Jones is also a UFA.
With Geekie and Sprong bounced, losing Donato would mean a gutted 4th-line. Either there’s an 11th-hour signing for the enthusiastic team player, or the club has some other transactions in the playbook. That, or they’re confident in the group moving up from the American League, which could include Lind and will include Tye Kartye.