These are the top-3 Seattle Kraken prospects who’ve never dressed for the big club in the regular season or playoffs. So, no Shane Wright, no Tye Kartye, and no 24-year-old Kole Lind, for example.
Ryker Evans – One Seattle Kraken management type could be overheard calling the defenseman a ‘rock star’. The simple interpretation: this kid is damn good.
He pops up as the top prospect without participating in Kraken Development Camp. He didn’t need to, although the official reason he was given a pass was because he recently finished a 26-game American Hockey League postseason where he put up exactly 26 points. He and Kartye were a bit fatigued after a 97 game season for Evans and a 100 game season for the forward.
The Kraken have a pretty good idea of what they have with the feisty 5-foot-11, 190-pound lefty. We did a pretty robust updated prospect profile of Evans back on June 20th which can be accessed by clicking here. But there’s even more to it than that.
The now 21-year-old, 2nd-round pick of the Kraken in 2021 showed up big during the Coachella Valley Firebirds run to Game-7 of the Calder Cup final. A miserable conclusion, losing to the Hershey Bears in the finale, but then again, just another character builder and motivator.
“For guys that were there all year, for Ryker and Tye, I mean that experience, ‘yeah, I can play with the best in the American League and do it over a long period of time’ is gonna build confidence for them for sure,” Kraken General Manager Ron Francis said during Development Camp. “To lose that series, to lose all four games by one goal and three of them in overtime, especially a Game-7 in overtime, I mean you’ve gotta feel for those guys because they gave it everything they had.”
Francis also mentioned Evans in the context of lefty defenseman Carson Soucy moving on to Vancouver via free agency as opposed to being re-signed. It was pretty much determined he was gone just after the season concluded.
“We’ve got a pretty talented young player in Ryker Evans we think is pushing, so it’s important when we build this thing, that we’re not blocking Ryker moving forward too,” Francis stated.
Evans will be looking to prove himself and rock the boat come training camp in September.
Jani Nyman – The plan at this point would be to loan Nyman to Ilves in the top professional SM Liiga and let him play in his native Finland once again. But that won’t stop Kraken management from drooling over the possibility of this kid displaying his wares in North America sooner than later.
He’s big, he’s crafty, and he has an absolute rocket of a shot, exhibited on many occasions at Kraken Development Camp last week, including when he snapped home the game winner in Team Blue’s 8-7 comeback win over Team White.
Elite Prospects stated: “Nyman is a credible dual-threat scorer, even if he’s definitely more comfortable as a finisher — equal parts power in his release and cunning with his off- puck movement to create shooting opportunities.”
We updated his prospect report on June 12th, prior to camp. Just 17-years-old when he was drafted last summer, he turns 19 in three weeks.
Ryan Winterton – With shoulder injury setbacks the last two years, one would think this 6-foot-2, 190-pound center might take a bit longer than his peers to get to the promised land.
Out of rehabbing and playing just 34 games during the regular season for the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League, the righty rocked the OHL playoffs to the tune of 29 points in 21 games, including a league high 12-game point streak. He led the Knights in postseason goals and points and was a key factor in the club reaching the final series against the eventual champion Peterborough Petes.
If that wasn’t enough, Winterton pulled on a Kraken sweater for the first time this Development Camp after sitting out the last two, and went ahead and won the strength testing.
“That was exciting (the playoff performance), just to see the progression for him, and for him to come in and win strength testing, I think surprised a lot of people,” Kraken Player Development Director Jeff Tambellini said at the end of camp. “Just coming off two injuries like that usually sets a player back, but he had a fantastic playoff run and has come in and made a big statement that he’s ready to play. He’ll be a guy to watch at training camp.”
Perspective on him from last fall and his previous playoff success, here.
Ryan Winterton as a younger teen.
— Editor’s Note – The “rock star” compliment seems popular these days. I actually used it to describe Vancouver’s 1st-rounder in Nashville, Swedish righty defenseman Tom Willander. The 11th-overall pick should be a dandy at some point, only adding to the burgeoning regional rivalry between the Kraken and the Canucks.
— Dunn Signing Remains, Kraken Salary Cap Narrows