Seattle Kraken, Joonas Donskoi

Kraken NHL Monday: Donskoi Retires, 2 Oilers Try-Outs

Kraken Concussion

We like being lucky with timing when it comes to reporting things and having them come true, but that’s not the case here. We hinted early Sunday morning in the “Simmer’s Sunday 9″ about the inevitable retirement of Kraken forward Joonas Donskoi due to concussions and later in the day he made the announcement.

Via social media, Donskoi said, in part:

“To everyone who has supported me on and off the ice,

After suffering multiple concussions over my career I’ve decided to retire from professional hockey. It is extremely hard to let go of something you have put your whole life into, but at this point I know it’s the right decision for my own well being and future. I got to live my dream of being an NHL player, which I’m extremely blessed and grateful for. I think I was able to reach my own potential, which was always my biggest goal.

It would not have been possible without so many people who helped me along the way. Thank you San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche and Seattle Kraken. It was an honor to be part of these world class organizations, cities and fanbases. To all my teammates, coaches, trainers, doctors, front offices, and fans: thank you for the best years of my life. I met so many great people and lifelong friends, on and off the ice …”

Donskoi went on to thank his agent and family, who he says he looks forward to putting first.

Donskoi’s final injury occurred during a preseason game for the Kraken when he collided with teammate Kole LInd, forcing him to sit out the entire 2022-’23 season on long-term injured reserve.

The 31-year-old native of Finland was a popular winger in his four seasons in San Jose, where he eclipsed the 30-point mark three times. After two seasons with the Avalanche he joined the Kraken via the NHL Expansion Draft in 2021 and posted 22 points in 75 games played.

Donskoi was drafted by Florida in the 4th-round, 99th-overall, in the 2010 NHL Draft. He never signed with the Panthers, instead staying home to play professionally in Finland. He signed with the Sharks as a free agent in the summer of 2015.

Veteran Try-Outs

The Edmonton Oilers doled out a couple of Professional Try-Out (PTO) offers to very familiar faces.

The Kraken’s Pacific Division rival offered up opportunities to Sam Gagner and Brandon Sutter, both age-34.

If Gagner makes the team it would be his 3rd stint with the club that drafted him 6th-overall back in 2007. He’s played for a total of seven different NHL teams in a career that already eclipsed the 1,000-game mark. Gagner is at 1,015, reaching that number last season with the Winnipeg Jets.

The highly touted right-handed center piled up 118 points in the Ontario Hockey League in 2006-’07 for his hometown London Knights leading up to the draft, following a single season in the USHL.

Sutter’s situation is similar demographically, but also much different. A bottom-six, right-handed mucking center and penalty killer, Sutter hopes to return and fill those important roles for the Oilers. He missed the last two NHL seasons due to long-form Covid recovery.

The Huntington, New York native has played 770 regular season games over 13 seasons with three different NHL clubs, his last six years with the Vancouver Canucks. He peaked statistically with the Carolina Hurricanes with 21 goals and 40 points during the 2009-’10 season. He also had 21 goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins five seasons later.

The Hurricanes drafted Sutter, the son of former NHL head coach Brent, in the 1st-round, 11th-overall in 2007, five picks behind Gagner.

Earlier Monday:

— The Kraken’s 1st NHL Draft: Where Are They Now?

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.