Kraken Gathering Begins Sunday Morning
2022 4th-overall draft pick Shane Wright will be there, just like 2021 2nd-overall pick Matty Beniers was involved last summer. Even though the talented center out of the University of Michigan had already played 10 NHL games after his college season ended last spring, he still showed up at Development Camp a year after his draft to set an example.
“Last year we brought Matty into this camp to sort of be that leader and sort of show the young guys what it takes,” Kraken General Manager Ron Francis explained Saturday. “Shane was willing to come in (this time), so we’re excited to have him here and working with the young guys, but we think we have a lot of really good young pieces and it’s just making sure that we develop them properly.”
After playing long, hard minutes in the Calder Cup playoffs, Tye Kartye, who was also part of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and 21-year-old defense prospect Ryker Evans will not be participating. The Coachella Valley Firebirds played more playoff games than any other AHL club, almost a 1/3 of an extra regular season.
Plus, the organization has a pretty good idea of what those two have to offer.
It looks like the entire 2023 NHL Draft class will be on hand, including 20th-overall pick Eduard Sale.
“I love his hockey sense,” Francis said of the Kraken’s 1st-rounder. “Good skill set, skates well, just sort of calm, cool, collected under pressure with the puck. I was at the World Juniors when they were playing Canada and he was not intimidated in any way, shape, or form in that game. So we think we’ve got a real good player there. Looks like he’ll play in Barrie (Colts) in the Ontario (Hockey) League next year. So that would be good for his development and then we’ll see where he goes from there, but we’re really excited to have him in the fold.”
He had six points in seven games in that World Junior tournament when his Czechia team went on to lose in overtime in the Gold Medal game to the Canadians. He spent the rest of the season in the top Czech league and had 14 points in 43 games against seasoned veterans. He turned 18 in March.
The Kraken’s three 2nd-rounders will be on hand as well, forwards Carson Rehkopf and Oscar Fisker Molgaard and defenseman Lukas Dragicevic.
Here’s the list provided by the Kraken:
Kraken fans will be happy to know that two of the Development Camp sessions will be open to the public. Today’s (Sunday), and also the 3-on-3 scrimmage that happens the last day of camp on Wednesday, June 5th.
There will always be a surprise or two, but a few of the names we’ll be paying extra close attention to up front include Jagger Firkus from Moose Jaw of the Western Hockey League, Ryan Winterton and Tucker Robertson from the Ontario League — we watched Robertson play for the Peterborough Petes in the Memorial Cup against the Seattle Thunderbirds — and the two aforementioned high picks from Europe.
Oh, and of course Shane Wright.
On the back-end, Ty Nelson from North Bay in the OHL is one to keep an eye on, as is 2023 2nd rounder Dragicevic.
Goalies? All of them quite frankly, but we’ll be watching the two Finns from Oulo in particular; Niklas Kokko and new 6th-round pick Visa Vedenpaa.
Kraken Development Camp is the start of a patient process.
“Ideally it’s two more years if they’re in juniors and then they start coming out to the American League, so it’s probably a three to four year timeline,” Francis said of NHL hopefuls.” Some guys beat that timeline. Some guys take a little longer. Everybody is different and we try and manage and develop them according to that, but our staff does a real good job of staying on top of that, and hopefully we can do everything we can to speed that process up to get more prospects playing in the NHL for the Kraken.”
*Lines under players names are mostly links to our various prospect reports.