Offseason Review: Seattle Kraken

4 months ago  /  NHL Trade Rumors  /  Read Time: 3 minutes 29 seconds
Offseason Review: Seattle Kraken

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Now that the dust has settled on a wild NHL offseason, let's take a look at how each team did in regards to drafting and free-agent signings. Today, we'll look at the Seattle Kraken.Considering every player on the Kraken's roster is a new addition, we won't cover everyone claimed in the expansion draft. Instead, we'll assume that the Kraken's roster going into the offseason was the roster post-expansion, and will only look at pieces added afterward. In a way, that lets GM Ron Francis off the hook a little bit, as the players he added through expansion selections don't make for a very compelling team. However, he went out and made a few big signings in free agency that immediately make this a more competitive roster. Some of them could be considered the biggest signings of the summer. Let's see what went down.Free Agency:The big three acquired by the Kraken are Philipp Grubauer, Jaden Schwartz, and Alex Wennberg. Grubauer was a Vezina finalist last season and has posted excellent numbers as the starter for Colorado in his three years with the team. He signed a six-year deal with Seattle and will be their starting goaltender for the foreseeable future. Schwartz is possibly one of the most underrated goal-scorers in the NHL. He's not the biggest player, but can easily pot 20 goals a season with his deadly accurate shooting. He's signed for five years with the Kraken. Meanwhile, Wennberg has been up and down in his career production but had very good numbers with Florida last year in a reduced role. He signed a three-year deal in Seattle and will be the team's top centre until Yanni Gourde is healthy.Following that, Marcus Johansson signed for one year, coming off left-arm surgery which was performed at the end of May. Antoine Bibeau, Gustav Olofsson, and Connor Carrick all signed one-year two-way deals in Seattle. The Kraken also agreed to contract extensions with expansion picks Chris Dreidger at three years, Adam Larsson at four years, Will Borgen and Vince Dunn for two years, and Carsen Twarynski at one year.Grade: A-; When looking at the Kraken's roster post-expansion and comparing it with today, the team is unquestionably more competitive. They have an actual top six (although are lacking some star power), and a Vezina-caliber goaltender, as well as a very competent backup. Seattle has given themselves a chance to compete from opening night, and that's all you could truly ask of them.Draft:The Kraken moved up a few spots in the draft thanks to some lottery luck and wound up selecting 2nd overall. They used that pick to draft 6'1" centre Matty Berniers. A Massachusetts native, Berniers is widely considered the best all-around prospect in this draft class. He's a strong skater with and without the puck, has good speed, hands, and playmaking abilities to go along with a powerful shot. His defensive game is equally sound, he shows elite-level problem solving and great attention to detail. He'll be returning to play for the University of Michigan this season, but expect to see him crack the opening night roster in 2022.In the second round, 35th overall, the Kraken selected Ryker Evans, a defenceman from Calgary. Evans is 5'11" and projects as a fine example of the modern-day offensive DMan. His give-and-go game is very well developed, and he may be one of the top "zone-exit specialists" drafted this year. He's learning to score some goals for himself as well but plays an equally reliable set-up game. That said, his ability to suffocate attackers in the neutral zone makes him a more defensively capable prospect than some of his other "offence first" peers. At 67th overall Seattle picked 6'2" forward Ryan Winterton, who currently plays for the OHL's Hamilton Bulldogs. Winterton, like fellow Kraken draft pick Matty Berniers, is a strong two-way player. He loves to shoot the puck when he's on the attack and will hound the puck in the defensive zone to regain possession for his team. At 99th overall, the Kraken drafted Ville Ottavainen, a 6'4" defenceman from Oulu, Finland. While not a play-driver himself Ottavainen uses his size and positioning to eliminate attackers' options and strip them of the puck. Once he has it, however, he prefers to defer to his teammates to decide what to do with it.Grade: B+; Berniers and Evans project as high-ceiling prospects who will likely see the NHL ice in short order. Winterton and Ottavainen are more uncertain, but there's enough potential to warrant the picks. This was a very good start to the Kraken's development system.Overall grade: B+; Some good work in free agency took this Kraken roster from worrying to exciting, and their work at the draft table (while getting a bit of luck from the draft lottery) allows them to start out developing some top-end talent from day 1. It's hard to say if this team is good enough to make the playoffs - and a run like Vegas had seems unlikely - but for their first-ever NHL season, this is a capable and talented team that's been built in Seattle.What do you think of the Kraken's work in their first-ever offseason?Photo credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports...

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