This isn’t a surprise, particularly with the Winter Classic coming up on Monday. The Kraken sent rookie D-man Ryker Evans down to the Coachella Valley Firebirds of the AHL on Saturday.
Evans is in year-two of an entry-level contract and is waiver-exempt. He gets paid $900,000 less when playing at the American League level than he does at the NHL level on his two-way contract. Aside from financial considerations, from a sentiment level, lining up the veteran group of D-men to play in a marquee event like the Winter Classic was completely expected.
Evans should be around a long time and will see opportunities to play in such big events down the road.
In the meantime, the Kraken’s regular group of veteran defensemen seems to have re-gelled as of late. Justin Schultz, who rotated back into the line-up after being replaced by Evans for a handful of games off and on, scored the game winning goal in overtime for Seattle on Friday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Teammates couldn’t be happier for Schultz’s dramatic moment in the 2-1 victory.
“I couldn’t be more proud of him,” Kraken goalie Joey Daccord said postgame, “he’s a great guy and an awesome player and was pumped to see him get a big one tonight.”
The D-corps looks like this for the outdoor game at T-Mobile Park; the line-up we’ve seen most of the season:
Vince Dunn – Adam Larsson
Jamie Oleksiak – Will Borgen
Brian Dumoulin – Justin Schultz
Big 31-year-old lefty Jaycob Megna, who has yet to see game action this season, is the extra.
Evans had also filled in for Dumoulin on the left side of the third pair more than once. He’ll be back.
Puck drop for the Winter Classic will be shortly after 12-noon on Monday.
— Cool Seattle Kraken Winter Classic Images And Trivia