Kraken, Chandler Stephenson

Kraken Add Center Depth, Hoping For A Number-1

Chandler Stephenson is a strong, versatile forward capable of playing center or the wing. The lefty filled in admirably as a pivot during the Vegas Golden Knights championship season in 2023. Although not a fulltime center, we gave him a mention during our top Pacific Division positional breakdown last preseason.

He’s been somewhat of a pest against the Kraken. He scored the Golden Knights’ first goal of the 2023-’24 season on their very first shot back on October 10th in Vegas against Seattle, and he had the primary assist on the game-tying goal with 17-seconds remaining at Climate Pledge Arena in the Kraken’s backbreaking 5-4 overtime loss this past March 12th.

Seattle snapped up the 6-foot, 210 pound, 30-year-old via free agency on Monday. He’s a grit and physicality upgrade from former number-two center Alex Wennberg. Stephenson is a determined two-way center who performs effectively on both the power play and penalty kill.

For the foreseeable future (7 years at $6.25-million per season), Stephenson is a Kraken. He’s strong and he’s clutch, but although he’s likely to be slotted at the top of the line-up, he’s not a true number-one center.

He adds depth in the middle of the depth chart and in the middle of the ice. He also adds yet another Stanley Cup champion to the line-up, having also won with the Washington Capitals in 2018. He’s presently the 3rd highest paid Kraken.

It helps, but it doesn’t answer the number-one center issue for Seattle. Maybe Berkly Catton, Seattle’s 8th-overall selection in the NHL Draft on Friday will be the solution down the road a bit. The club’s getting after one of its biggest needs, but it’s not quite there yet.

Recent Kraken:

— Kraken Trade Talk; Say No To Patrik Laine

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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