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Seattle Kraken ReDraft Part 1

June 23, 2022, 4:54 PM ET [15 Comments]
Sean Maloughney
Seattle Kraken Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Hey everyone! Apologies for being away for quite some time. I thought about making up some reason as to why the Seattle blogs have been empty but instead I'm going to peel back the curtain for a second. Writing Oilers blogs during the playoffs and everything during that period took a fair amount of time and it was difficult to try and get my head space in Kraken off-season while the other team I write about was in the playoffs and ultimately the Western Conference Finals. I am sorry for the Kraken readers, you deserved better but that was the simple reality.

Moving on, I've been meaning for some time to take a look back on the Seattle Kraken, roster and specifically discuss the Expansion Draft and what could have been. It's no secret at this point that not only was the Kraken's first season not anywhere near as exciting as the prior Expansion Team in the Vegas Golden Knights, but ultimately there were some great players that Seattle could have selected to have made this a better team.

A couple notes, I am not going to select players that were pending UFA at the time that Seattle could have signed because those players would have had to agree to come to the Kraken. The only players I will be focusing on are those that would have had to report to Seattle. The second note is I am gifting Ron Francis the ability of hindsight here, meaning he knows what the final stats were for every player in the league and is now making the decision on who he would have selected.

Who Seattle Took: Haydn Fleury - 2-2-4 36GP
Who They Should Have Taken: Adam Henrique - 19-23-42 58GP

Haydn Fleury wasn't a bad pick by the Kraken; a younger defenseman with draft pedigree that was on a cost controlled deal and would still be an RFA after his contract expired. Fleury played a calm game for Seattle when he was in the lineup but has not been able to produce great offensive numbers; one of the reasons he was such a high draft pick.

Henrique meanwhile had one of his best seasons in recent years which was unfortunately cut short due to injuries. Still, he produced at above a .700 ppg pace. With two years remaining on his deal at 5.825 million, Henrique would be an expensive option, but if he managed to produce similar numbers in Seattle he would be worth that money; either to Seattle or a potential trade partner.

Who Seattle Took: Tyler Pitlick - 1-4-5 39GP (Calgary/Montreal)
Who They Should Have Taken: Tyler Pitlick

As is always the case, there is nothing exciting about the Arizona Coyotes. Again, I am not selecting Michael Bunting because he was a pending UFA and would have had to agree to come to Seattle as he instead chose to go to Toronto. The only other potential name here that stuck out was Ilya Lyubushkin but I'm sticking with Pitlick because the Kraken received a 4th round pick immediately for him.

Who Seattle Took: Jeremy Lauzon 2-5-7 66GP (Seattle/Nashville)
Who They Should Have Taken: Jeremy Lauzon

Again, I do think the Kraken ended up making the right call here. Lauzon suited up for 53 games for the Kraken, providing steady shut-down play, mostly as a third pairing defender. The only other intriguing option here would have been Nick Ritchie. While Ritchie struggled to stay in the lineup in Toronto, he flourished after being traded to the Coyotes where he put up 10 goals and 14 points in 24 games. The 24SH% probably helped him out though and so I am staying with Lauzon and the second round pick he became after being traded to the Predators.

Who Seattle Took: Will Borgen - 2-6-8 36GP
Who They Should Have Taken: Jeff Skinner - 33-30-63 80GP

Here is one I struggled with. If we are going under the assumption that Seattle knows that Skinner bounced back with a 33 goal season, would the team have selected him? His shooting percentages weren't abnormally high and looking back his last seasons were well below his normal averages. If Seattle believed that Skinner was going to bounce back, than I think they could have easily pulled a first round pick from the Sabres and had them retain 2 million on the deal to have the Kraken select Skinner.

Who Seattle Took: Mark Giordano 8-27-36 75GP (Seattle/Toronto)
Who They Should Have Taken: Mark Giordano

No notes here. From Calgary, the Kraken acquired their first captain in franchise history and ended up flipping him to the Leafs at the deadline for two second round picks and a third round pick. Great value.

Who Seattle Took: Morgan Geekie 7-15-22 73GP
Who They Should Have Taken: Morgan Geekie

This was another close call between a couple players, in this case Morgan Geekie and Jake Bean. Both were highly regarded prospects who looked like good bets to become established NHL players. Ultimately I think the Kraken made the right call with Geekie. While the 6'3 centre struggled at times, we saw flashes of his offensive ability and he still managed to produce despite being most often in a bottom six role. Bean did put up some good numbers in Columbus but there are still some big question marks there too. I like Geekie.

Who Seattle Took: John Quenneville (no stats)
Who They Should Have Taken: Collin Delia 1-4-1 8GP - 0.899SV%

This was really a no win situation for the Kraken. Seattle ended up selecting John Quenneville who was not extended an offer by the team and ended up playing overseas. No one really jumps out on the list from Chicago at all. Some options like de Haan are simply too expensive for what they bring. Ultimately the only better option for Seattle could have been taking younger netminder Collin Delia and even flipped him back to the Blackhawks for a low round pick after the fact.

Who Seattle Took: Joonas Donskoi 2-20-22 75GP
Who They Should Have Taken: J.T. Compher 18-15-33 70GP

First off let me say I do think that Donskoi is going to bounce back in a good way next season. The guy shot 2.2% last year and his career average is 10.1%. I expect him to go back to being a 12-17 goal scorer next season. That being said I always thought Compher was the better choice. Compher is younger, a slightly cheaper deal (3.5 vs 3.9) and can play both centre and the wing. There were two close choices to make but I do think Seattle originally made the wrong call.

Who Seattle Took: Gavin Bayreuthe 0-8-8 (Columbus)
Who They Should Have Taken: Dean Kukkan 3-8-11 41GP

Gavin Bayreuthe was a 27 year old defenseman that the Kraken ended up not signing and signed once more in Columbus. Dean Kukkan instead would have been a solid third pairing player on the blue line that Seattle either could walk away from at the end of the season, or try and sign if they liked what they saw. Either way a missed opportunity. With some of the other names I want to pursue, no I would not have entertained the idea now for Max Domi.

Who Seattle Took: Jamie Oleksiak 1-16-17 72GP
Who They Should Have Taken: Jamie Oleksiak

Again, the right call. Seattle got a strong, physical defender that can play in the top four against the tougher opposition.

Who Seattle Took: Dennis Cholowski 0-3-3 11GP
Who They Should Have Taken: Vladislav Namestnikov 11-11-22 (Red Wings/Stars)

I liked the Cholowski signing as a potentially sneaky good analytics pick up and a player who could excel in a third pairing role or greater. Instead he never seemed to get ahead of the likes of Lauzon or others in the lineup and was quickly placed on waivers and claimed by the Capitals who also quickly sent him down. Instead, Seattle could have gotten some offense out of a guy like Namestnikov who scored 8 goals in 53 games and then traded him to the Stars, receiving a fourth round pick in return. Another option I considered here was Troy Stecher who ended up looking pretty good with the LA Kings in a limited role.

Who Seattle Took: Adam Larsson 8-17-25 82GP
Who They Should Have Taken: Adam Larsson

Exactly like Oleksiak, Seattle was able to negotiate with a pending UFA player and ultimately were able to sign him. Not only was Larsson a solid shut down option for Seattle but he also set a career high in both points and goals.

Who Seattle Took: Chris Driedger - 27GP 0.899SV%
Who They Should Have Taken: Chris Driedger

Driedger certainly did not come in and look anything like he did in Florida and preventing goals against was an issue across the board for the Kraken last season. Even with all of this and the fact that Driedger will miss the start of next season with an injury I still think it was a good decision and a bet that could start paying off.

Who Seattle Took: Kurtis MacDermid - 2-3-5 58GP (Colorado)
Who They Should Have Taken: Jonathan Quick - 46GP 0.910SV%

Seattle grabbed bulky defenseman Kurtis MacDermid and promptly traded him to the Avalanche for a fourth round pick. Above I just wrote how goaltending was an issue for Seattle all season. That very well could have been avoided if they took Jonathan Quick instead of overpaying to bring in Grubauer. Quick bounced back in a huge way this season with a 0.910SV% and 2.59GAA. With only one more year one his contract at 5.8 million, Quick could have been a great stop gap option for the Kraken to see if Driedger could become the #1 that they hoped he would be.

Who Seattle Took: Carson Soucy - 10-11-21 64GP
Who They Should Have Taken: Carson Soucy

Between Quick, Driedger and likely at least one more netminder I have in mind later, Kaapo Kahkonen was a potentially good pick by Seattle but ultimately I think they made the right decision bringing in the big and surprisingly mobile Carson Soucy. Soucy has one more year left on his contract and could return as a above average third pairing or even a top four option in a pinch or he could also have good trade value around the league. Overall the right call.

Check in soon for Part II!
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