Seattle Kraken Roll Call is assessing every player who held a significant place in the fortunes of the 2022-23 Kraken season. We’ll be looking at the highs and lows they experienced during the last campaign, as well as what the future may hold for them in Seattle. Today we feature veteran winger Jaden Schwartz.
Position: Left shot, left wing.
2022-’23 Kraken totals (GP-G-A-P): 71-21-19-40, 22 PIM
Contract Status: Three seasons remaining at an average of $5.5-million per.
Seattle Kraken Season Synopsis
It’s a good life. Jaden Schwartz’s salary for 2023-’24 season will be the highest of the five-year contract he signed with the Kraken back in July of 2021 as a free agent coming over from the St. Louis Blues. He’ll make $7-million this season.
It’ll drop down to $6-million the following campaign and then $4.5-million to round things out in 2025-’26.
Ultimately, that’s neither here nor there at this point, it’s whether or not the Kraken are getting their full bang for the buck.
One of the club’s alternate captains, Schwartz exercised veteran privilege by sitting out a hefty number of morning skates. Much of that appeared to be injury related; he missed eleven games this past season. None or few were believed to be related to the hand injury and surgery he had in January of the previous season that limited him to 37 games.
2022-’23 brought 21 goals from Schwartz, with eleven of them coming on and after February 12th. Converse to that, half of his humble power play contributions, four of his total of eight points, came in the month of October.
In contrast, 4th-liner Daniel Sprong ended up with 14 power play points in five fewer games. Sprong is now a Detroit Red Wing.
Schwartz addressed the nagging injury issue during his post-season media session, but he did so in somewhat cryptic fashion.
“Definitely better than last year,” he said, “still a work in progress and things to work on and people to see, but certainly in a better position than last year.”
HIghs And Lows
Given his improving health and his veteran leadership, we’ll give Schwartz the benefit of the doubt, realizing that he’ll be anticipating a more productive season in 2023-’24.
Schwartz was feeling it between March 2nd and March 9th. That’s when he put together his hottest personal run, tallying three goals and four assists during a five game stretch. The Kraken won the first four of them, three of those on the road.
The surge came immediately after his first visit back to St. Louis since leaving the Blues in the summer of 2021. Call it an adrenaline rush and confidence booster; he had been a fan and teammate favorite during his time there. He missed the trip to St. Louis during the Kraken’s inaugural season with the hand injury. He and Kraken teammate Vince Dunn won the Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019.
Schwartz also finished the season with a surge, with four goals and an assist over the team’s final eight games. That led to his very solid postseason with five goals and five assists over the 14 contests. That “next level” in the postseason is not surprising for a veteran player with a championship under his belt.
Analytically Schwartz and his linemates fell short of expected numbers offensively despite a desire to have more of an impact in the O-zone. In archaic terms, he was one of only four Kraken players that finished the season minus, with Schwartz a team worst minus-17.
What the future holds
Schwartz is a veteran player who must be as anxious as anyone to have a healthy and productive season. It’s not too much to suggest “the best is yet to come” despite this player being an early “thirty-something”.
He’s a popular, well respected teammate from every indication and appears to be a leader among leaders.
Last season was his fifth 20-plus-goal season in the NHL, his career high of 28 coming back in 2015. He’d like to add more helpers, he previously had five different seasons with 30-plus-assists, and also have a bigger impact on the 2023-’24 power play.
Opportunity knocks for Schwartz and the Kraken as they come off their surprisingly successful season.
“It was fun to be a part of,” he said a few days after the playoffs ended. “you can see how well we gelled off the ice and how much we played for one another on the ice, and that’s something we’re going to continue to grow and work on. It’s obviously a lot of fun coming to the rink with this group and just building every day.”
— Seattle Kraken Roll Call: Will Borgen
— Seattle Kraken Roll Call: Eeli Tolvanen