It’s been quite a week for Seattle Kraken 2023 1st-round NHL Draft pick Eduard Sale, who chipped in an assist in Czechia’s Bronze Medal game victory at the World Junior Championship over Finland on January 5th. The 18-year-old Brno native then returned to North America to discover he was being traded from the Barrie Colts to the Kitchener Rangers in the Ontario Hockey League.
Sale joins Kraken 2023 2nd-rounder Carson Rehkopf, who’s in his 3rd season with Kitchener, the top team in the league’s Midwest Division.
This is the time of year major junior clubs near the top of the standings in the three leagues (OHL, Western League, Quebec Major Junior League) make moves to bolster their line-ups in hopes of winning a league title and earning a trip to the Memorial Cup tournament. It’s also when the designated Memorial Cup host team, in this case the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL, makes trades to get stronger, knowing they’re already in the tourney and taking on the three respective champions.
The OHL trade deadline was Wednesday. Colts defenseman Olivier Savard joined Sale in the deal in exchange for eight future draft picks.
Sale averaged a point-a-game in the WJC for the somewhat surprising Czech team, one that handled Team Finland 8-5 for Bronze. In doing so, Sale and his mates defeated two other Kraken prospects, forward Jani Nyman and goalie Niklas Kokko in the game.
Nyman, a 2nd-round pick of the Kraken in 2022 and a big left winger with a mighty shot, tallied a goal and an assist in the losing effort to Czechia. He posted six points in seven games during the World Juniors.
Coming out of last summer’s Development Camp at the Kraken Community IcePlex, Nyman was considered one of the club’s top three prospects not named Shane Wright. The other two were D-man Ryker Evans, who’s already seeing time in the NHL, and forward Ryan Winterton.
Kokko, another Kraken 2nd-rounder from 2022, 58th-overall to Nyman’s 49th-overall, played in five WJC games for Finland. While getting quite a bit of offensive support, his numbers weren’t great. The soon-to-be 20-year-old (March 14th) finished with a save percentage just above 86% and a goals against average of 3.86.
All a part of the learning and development process.
The Rangers host the Erie Otters on Friday.
— Game Day 41: Kraken Face Midway Point, Rock The Red Capitals