Seattle Kraken, Jordan Eberle

Trades: Is Kraken General Manager Ron Francis Done?

If history is any indication, Kraken General Manager Ron Francis could very well be done making deals ahead of Friday’s NHL trade deadline. Based on his past history, and that includes his time in Carolina running the Hurricanes, he’s never been a big time wheeler dealer.

Last year at this time he stood pat with a Seattle squad that was en route to the franchise’s first playoff berth, one that took them to within one goal of the Western Conference Final.

So why would things be different now?

Some of this is out of the Kraken GM’s control.

Francis is in “seller” mode whether he likes it or not, with his team six points out of a playoff spot. Plus he has three 33-year-old unrestricted free agents on his hands; forwards Tomas Tatar and Jordan Eberle and defenseman Justin Schultz.

If he doesn’t plan on re-signing a player, then it’s best to move that skater along before he walks away for nothing after July 1st.

It’ll ultimately come down to demand.

How much is a team willing to part with for a veteran winger or a depth blueliner?

Kraken Range

Based on his potential scoring prowess in big games and playoff situations and his overall history, Eberle would pull the most in return. One would think he’d have a keen interest in joining a club with legitimate Stanley Cup possibilities. “He’s not getting any younger,” as they say.

If there was demand on Friday, could Francis pull in a 2nd-round draft choice? One would think so … he snagged a 2nd-rounder and a 4th-rounder for a 2nd-line, two-way center (Alex Wennberg).

Tatar needs a Cup as well, but doesn’t have quite the pedigree. However, he is a six-time, twenty-plus goal scorer, most recently last season with exactly 20 for the Devils. Eberle has done it eight times, with a 34-goal season his second year in the league.

Schultz won two Cups already, back-to-back years with Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017. One gets the feeling he could be winding down, while other times he jumps into plays and makes things happen like he’s a spring chicken.

He’s inexpensive and he’d make a savvy addition as a fifth, sixth or seventh D-man for a Cup Contender. Depth, particularly this time a year, is always desirable.

Demand for desirable depth. There’s your answer, and the guide for Francis’s decision making. He has less than a day.

By the way, if the Kraken GM doesn’t believe his club will make the playoffs, would he consider trading a highly desirable roster player who’s not a UFA? Is anyone on this roster worthy of “untouchable”? Yanni Gourde, Jared McCann?

Again, if the price is super-duper right, almost anything is possible, keeping in mind it’s rare for this GM to pull the trigger.

By the way, instead of trading them, how about making one of those two your captain next year.

Earlier Kraken:

— Kraken Beat The Jets To Pull Off Back-to-Back Road Wins

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.
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