The Kraken have drafted and now there is an actual team to discuss. Once more, here are the names of all of the players drafted by Seattle:
Anaheim Ducks - Hayden Fleury
Arizona Coyotes - Tyler Pitlick
Boston Bruins - Jeremy Lauzon
Buffalo Sabres - William Borgen
Calgary Flames - Mark Giordano
Carolina Hurricanes - Morgan Geekie
Chicago Blackhawks - John Quinnville
Colorado Avalanche - Joonas Donskoi
Columbus Blue Jackets - Gavin Bayreuther
Dallas Stars - Jamie Oleksiak
Detroit Red Wings - Dennis Cholowski
Edmonton Oilers - Adam Larsson
Florida Panthers - Chris Driedger
LA Kings - Kurtis MacDermid
Minnesota Wild - Carson Soucy
Montreal Canadiens - Cale Fluery
Nashville Predators - Calle Jarnkrok
New Jersey Devils - Nathan Bastian
New York Islanders - Jordan Eberle
New York Rangers - Colin Blackwell
Ottawa Senators - Joey D'Accord
Philadelphia Flyers - Carsen Twarynski
Pittsburgh Penguins - Brandon Tanev
San Jose Sharks - Alexander True
St Louis Blues - Vince Dunn
Tampa Bay Lightning - Yanni Gourde
Toronto Maple Leafs - Jared McCann
Vancouver Canucks - Cole Lind
Washington Capitals - Vitek Vanacek
Winnipeg Jets - Mason Appleton
For the next little while, I'm not going to place these players and try and guess line combinations for the Kraken because there is a chance that some of these players could be gone before I finish this blog. As I was writing this, the Pitlick trade was made official; the Flames deal a 2022 4th round pick for Tyler Pitlick.
Seattle did not make any trades prior to the draft. Compare that to Vegas who made 10 trades leading up to the draft. This is a combination of a couple of things; GMs not wanting to give up additional assets and look the fool like they did with Vegas and Ron Francis not budging on his high asks. The cost for the Flames to not have Seattle select Giordano was reportedly a 1st and 3rd round pick.
What kind of roster are we looking at here? For starters it's clear that Ron Francis and his team valued defensive depth, physical play and role players who produced strong in limited ice time at 5 on 5.
At first glance I would argue that the Kraken might already have a top 3 defensive group in the Pacific Division. Oleksiak, Larsson, Giordano, Dunn, Soucy, Lauzon, Fleury, and Cholowski gives Seattle a solid top six and younger options that can push for time.
We've known about Driedger for a couple days now but I thought that Seattle would try and add a veteran like Bishop or Holtby as a backup. Instead, Seattle went with the young Vanacek from Washington and D'Accord from Ottawa. All three if they stay with the team are going to get their chances.
Up front, Seattle went young with players that the organization hope will continue to develop and improve. Names like Morgan Geekie, Jared McCann, Alexander True, Nathan Bastian, and Carsen Twarynski aren't household names but have shown skill either in the NHL or other developmental leagues. Not all of these are going to pan out but a new organization needs a steady group of young players pushing for spots.
Surrounding these names are a group of role players like Pitlick, Jarnkrok, Tanev, Appleton, and Blackwell who can provide complimentary offense and bottom six production. The three big names that Seattle has with proven scoring talent are Yanni Gourde, Jordan Eberle, and Joonas Donskoi.
Is this a better roster than what Vegas drafted four years ago? I would say likely not but hindsight is a funny thing. Marssesault, Perron, and Neal were the big names up front that Vegas drafted. Names like Haula, Karlsson, and Eakin were very much like McCann, Appleton, and Blackwell in what they had produced.
The biggest weapon for Seattle is going to be how they choose to weaponize their cap space. With Pitlick dealt the Kraken currently have over 30 million dollars in cap space. Some individuals were angry that Seattle left options like van Riemsdyk, Johanssen, Tarasenko and others on the table. Those teams are still going to likely want to move on from some of those deals, especially if they want to be active with other big names in free agency. The Kraken may be able to have their cake and eat it too, drafting a player from these teams and then adding another useful roster player with salary retained.
This team also could be the most aggressive in free agency. From the stories that the ownership was fine with the team throwing big money at Carey Price, it's clear Francis has the green light to spend. This team still needs legitimate scoring threats. Seattle could turn around and offer big deals for Danault, Landeskog, and Hamilton without batting an eye if they chose.
Over the next few days we should see more trades and moves involving the Kraken which will lead up to the Draft starting tomorrow evening and then Free Agency beginning on July 28th. This organization is just getting started and it's going to be fun to watch what they do from here.
Thanks for reading.