Seattle Kraken informal skate

Kraken Thursday; Full Team Skate, NHL Busy With Deals

Kraken Spins

The Kraken informal skates, also known around the NHL as “captain’s skates”, continued Thursday morning at the Kraken Community Iceplex in Northgate. We focused in on Matty Beniers for video purposes today (see bottom of page).

The players have to wait approximately another two weeks before they can formally take the ice with Kraken coaches and other staff for training camp. A short rookie camp will kick things off.

Business Picking Up

This week saw a wide variety of personnel moves around the NHL.

Just how valuable are talented young blueliners to NHL teams? Just ask the Ottawa Senators.

Following a 32-point rookie season and with his obvious skills in mind, the Sen’s committed major dollars to 21-year-old Jake Sanderson.

The lefty, the club’s 5th-overall NHL Draft pick in 2020, signed an eight-year, $64.4-million contract with the Senators on Wednesday. That equals $8.05-million per season and kicks in for the 2024-’25 campaign. He’ll make $925,000 this coming season, the last year of his entry-level deal.

He was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team in the spring.

“Jake’s transition to the pro game has been flawless,” Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion said in a statement. “He’s a very mature young man who demonstrates a routine and skillful ability to play important minutes with poise. An effortless skater who holds himself to a high standard, he has the talent to be one of the best all-around defensemen in the NHL for years to come.”

Sanderson’s father Geoff, a winger, played for eight different NHL teams over 17 seasons, losing a Stanley Cup Final with the Buffalo Sabres in 1999.

One In, One Out

As one D-man solidifies his career, another steps aside.

Michael Del Zotto, who took the New York Rangers by storm as a 19-year-old rookie in 2009 with 12 points in his first 14 games and 37 total in his first season, retired from the NHL on Wednesday. It was difficult for MDZ to live up to the expectations he created that first year at Madison Square Garden, epitomizing the term “sophomore slump”. So much so that he was sent down to the American Hockey League in year two.

Del Zotto rebounded with a strong third season, but never duplicated it again and was traded to the Nashville Predators in 2014. He’d eventually play for eight different NHL teams, getting his name etched on the Stanley Cup as a reserve defenseman with the St. Louis Blues in 2019.

Over the past 14 months he’s been acquired by the Florida Panthers, Detroit Red Wings, and Anaheim Ducks, but he didn’t make it into any NHL games during that time period. Del Zotto finishes with 262 career points in 736 games.

GM Extended

The Arizona Coyotes inked their general manager Bill Armstrong to a multi-year extension on Wednesday. The 53-year-old enters his fourth season in the position.

The Coyotes have struggled as an organization on and off the ice for the most part for the last two decades. The club presently plays its home games in a college rink in Tempe. Their one deviation from the doldrums was a surprise trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2012. Since then they’ve made the playoffs one time in the last 11 seasons.

Whether its ownership changes, building issues, poor attendance, or simply being a dumping ground for unwanted NHL contracts, the Coyotes are somewhat of a running joke.

Armstrong signed a number of free agents this off-season with the hopes of snapping the playoff drought.

Recent Kraken:

— Kraken Will Chase The Oilers, Team That Will “Win Division”

— Simmer’s Holiday 9: Kraken Deals, SEA Primetime Pucks

Matty Beniers drills montage.

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.