The Seattle Kraken signed their 2023 1st-round NHL Draft pick Eduard Sale to a three-year entry-level contract on Saturday. There was no formal announcement.
The left-shot winger signed for $950,000 for each of the next three seasons, which includes signing bonuses of $95,000. If Sale doesn’t play at least ten NHL games this season, his entry-level deal will slide back a year and begin with the 2024-’25 season.
The 20th-overall pick at the draft in Nashville is expected to play major junior hockey with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League this coming season. He should also get another crack at playing for his native Czechia at the 2024 World Junior Championship in Sweden come late December. Sale had an impressive 2023 tournament as his nation took home the silver medal, losing the Gold Medal game to Canada in overtime.
Sale tallied six points in seven games at World Juniors, also known as the world Under-20’s, following up his earlier performance of six points in five games at the Under-18 Worlds. He didn’t turn 18 until March 10th of this year.
Other than seven junior games in Finland in 2020-’21, up until now Sale has only played for teams based in his native country, most recently in his hometown of Brno in Czechia’s top professional league. He had 7 goals and 7 assists in 43 games.
“It was a tough season, everybody was just looking for the points, but I think I played with men and had 14 points,” Sale told us in Nashville after being drafted. “I think it was not bad in this league. It was tough in that league but I think after this year I can play in a pro league and I think I can improve many things.”
Kraken’s Top Pick
Sale put on a solid performance at the Kraken Development Camp earlier this month at the Kraken Community Iceplex, looking stronger and more adept as the week moved along.
As noted in our Sale version of a “Seattle Kraken of the Future” feature last week, team management was happy with what they saw.
“With Eddy, just his speed, his power, he was one or two in the strength testing overall this week,” Seattle Kraken Director of Player Development Jeff Tambellini said after the camp. “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.”
In the closing minutes of the Development Camp scrimmage Sale tied the game with a beautiful breakaway goal that brought ooo’s and ahh’s from the capacity practice rink crowd. His silky skating effort was duly noted.
“I love his hockey sense,” Seattle Kraken General Manager Ron Francis said during Development Camp. “Good skill set, skates well, just sort of calm, cool and collected while under pressure with the puck. I was at the World Juniors while they were playing Canada and he was not intimidated in any way, shape, or form in that game. We think we’ve got a real good player there.”
“I think I will be ready, I think I need more skills and I am working for all,” Sale said at the NHL Draft. “I think I have a good hockey sense and good skills and I think I can play one day (in the NHL).”
— Although he’s not expected there this coming season, at the American Hockey League level, Sale’s salary would be $82,500 per year. He’s the first of the Kraken’s 2023 draft class to sign a deal.
— Seattle Kraken of the Future: Ryan Winterton