Not to be confused with our upcoming article on the Seattle Kraken’s top-3 prospects, which will only include players who’ve never played in an NHL game, this one is all about certain players’ efforts in Wednesday’s 4-on-4 Development Camp scrimmage.
— Jacob Melanson – Sherbrooke Phoenix head coach Stephane Julien would love to see Melanson back with his Quebec Major Junior club next season as one of his three allowable 20-year-olds, but the Kraken likely have this Nova Scotia native pencilled in for the American Hockey League Coachella Valley Firebirds. He’s already played one playoff game there, his first professional game.
As we pointed out in our late-May profile, he’s a gritty combination of goal scoring and forechecking. He loves to go hard to the net and he loves to stir the pot.
He tallied twice in Wednesday’s scrimmage, down low in the “not-afraid-to-go-there” areas. He’ll rush the puck there, or he’ll take up position and be ready.
He was noticeable throughout the contest.
— Ty Nelson – Anyone who sprawls out to successfully block a shot in D-zone coverage off the opponent’s rush in the closing minutes of a 4-on-4 scrimmage is OK in my book, and I’m sure in the one kept by Kraken player development observers.
Fans couldn’t miss him; he was rushing pucks, hustling back in coverage, and managing to score. His one-timer along the ice from the left point beat 2023 6th-round NHL Draft pick Visa Vedenpaa inside the far post, and although Vedenpaa likely should have had it, the blast had decent pace and tucked itself inside the pipe.
As we’ve pointed out, the 19-year-old who the Kraken selected in the 3rd-round last summer is still growing and will return to the North Bay Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League where he’ll be on the short list for Team Canada try-outs for the 2024 World Junior Championships.
We broke down the feisty blueliner’s game with a “Seattle Kraken of the Future” profile in February.
— Niklas Kokko – In the spirit of even-handedness, since we picked one forward and one defenseman, well then, here’s a goalie. The 19-year-old hails from Oulu, Finland, the same hometown as Vedenpaa. Kokko played the entire first 20-minute half of the scrimmage for Team White.
In such a helter skelter affair with no statistics kept, it’s difficult to give the goaltending performance the full treatment, but the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder held his team to a multiple goal lead through half the match. One somewhat spectacular left pad save stands out.
As an 18-year-old, Kokko was Team Finland’s 3rd goalie for the World Juniors. This coming December he’s sure to be in the mix for one of the top two spots for that country. The Kraken selected him 58th-overall in the 2nd-round of the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal.
— Eduard Sale – The Kraken’s 1st-round pick, 20th-overall at the NHL Draft last month in Nashville made the highlight reel in the 2nd half comeback by Team Blue. On his breakaway goal, he picked up speed with the puck, deked multiple times, and tucked the puck home. It was a beauty.
We didn’t seem to notice him as much in the 1st half, but he stepped it up.
“We saw that great breakaway goal at the end, but with “Eddy”, just his speed, his power, he was one or two in the strength testing overall this week,” Kraken Director of Player Development Jeff Tambellini said after the scrimmage. “To have a 1st-round pick that comes in ready off the ice, that’s really exciting. He’s got a frame where we can get him bigger and stronger, it’s a great package to work with.”