Seattle Kraken, Cale Fleury

Kraken Column – 2 Down, 1 To Go, Cap Soon Narrows

The Seattle Kraken announced the signing of Cale Fleury on Sunday to a two-year deal worth $800,000 per season. The reserve right-shot defenseman played in 12 NHL games this past campaign for the Kraken, registering one assist.

The six-foot-one, 204-pounder was selected by the Kraken from the Montreal Canadiens in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. The Habs originally chose him in the 3rd-round of the 2017 NHL Draft.

That takes care of Fluery and Will Borgen, who signed on Friday for $2.7-million per season for two, and leaves Vince Dunn as the lone unsigned full-time Kraken. Like his fellow aforementioned blueliners, Dunn is a restricted free agent (RFA) with arbitration rights.

Thus far the process has been routine; the club made him his qualifying offer and then Dunn filed for arbitration. A new deal is almost assured before it comes down to a hearing, especially considering that with Dunn in his final year as an RFA, he’d only be entitled to a one-year contract if arbitrated.

Kraken General Manager Ron Francis and Dunn’s agent Pat Morris will be getting down to the nitty gritty.

Another Kraken Forward?

So that’s it? Kailer Yamamoto, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and the return of a hopefully healthy – we’re told he is — Andre Burakovsky to the line-up is the whole new package for the Kraken up front in 2023-’24?

That’s the forward roster? Regular season rookie, now playoff veteran of ten games Tye Kartye will factor in. Maybe toss emerging young forward Jani Nyman into the mix? Is that the potion that’s gonna push the franchise over the next playoff hump?

Maybe, maybe not.

But if that’s not what Francis is thinking, and he’s looking at bringing in a higher end body to boost the offense, then he’ll have to do it via trade. After the Dunn deal is done, he’ll likely have about a million bucks or so in salary cap space for this next season.

He’d have to move at least one body out and maybe try to get another club to retain some salary. He does have a few trade chips skating around plus an extra 3rd and 7th-round NHL Draft pick in 2024.

Waiting for the salary cap to go up next season while losing goalie Chris Driedger’s $3.5-million cap hit might make some sense, considering forwards Jordan Eberle, Alexander Wennberg and defenseman Justin Schultz will be unrestricted free agents at the end of this season.

The latter two would probably be walking for completely different reasons. The Kraken could look to upgrade at Wennberg’s spot in the line-up while Schultz will be 34-years-old.

By the way, if Joey Daccord wins the back-up goalie competition this fall and Driedger is sent down, the club would save a little more than a million bucks off that cap hit already. Of course Daccord is making $1.2-million, so it’s pretty much a wash. Bottom line, the Kraken will allow that competition to provide them the best goaltending possible behind top starter Philipp Grubauer.

Debrincat Moves

One prominent name came off the trade rumour board on Sunday afternoon. The Detroit Red Wings acquired sharp shooting right winger Alex Debrincat from the Ottawa Senators for winger Dominik Kubalik, minor league defenseman Donovan Sebrango, a conditional 1st-round selection and a 4th-round pick in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft.

The Red Wings promptly signed the hometown kid to a four-year contract with an average annual value of $7.875 million. The 25-year-old native of Detroit suburb Farmington Hills had two separate 41-goal seasons when he was with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that drafted him. He moves along after just one season in Canada’s capital city.

I recall seeing Debrincat score from anywhere and everywhere as he claimed the most valuable player honor at the 2017 Traverse City Rookie Tournament, an event hosted by the Red Wings.

Other Recents:

— Kraken Friday: Bedard Look-a-like, 15 Tantalizing Tidbits

What New D-Man Dumoulin Is Bringing

Red Wings TV play-by-play man Ken Daniels.

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.