A team starting from scratch should look to add the best pieces in order to succeed. The Seattle Kraken had the opportunity to do this through the expansion draft, free agency, and trades.
Teams were wary of making trades with the Kraken before the expansion draft after many of them had players stolen that popped off in Vegas in the last expansion draft. Teams mostly stood pat and hoped for the best in shedding cap and protecting the players of the future. Many opted to leave players with larger cap hits available to be drafted, as younger players have a better chance of excelling with an opportunity. The Kraken saw this too, and instead of mainly building their roster from proven veterans, they looked to the future in their selections.
Players like Vladimir Tarasenko, James van Riemsdyk, and Carey Price were passed on as they elected to go with youth. The Kraken’s entire roster only feature three players age 30 and above, two of which were selected in the expansion draft. These players being Mark Giordano, Jordan Eberle, and free-agent signing Marcus Johansson.
With many young players in the system after the expansion draft, Seattle will have many options to turn to and count on in 2021-22 and beyond. They not only focused on building a competitive team this season, but a plan for the future.
The Kraken attacked the free-agent market in their first off-season, adding a number of talented players. Here’s a list of Seattle’s free-agent signings:
Philipp Grubauer: 6 x $5.9m
Jaden Schwartz: 5 x $5.5m
Alexander Wennberg: 3 x $4.5m
Marcus Johansson: 1 x $1.5m
Riley Sheahan: 1 x $850k
Connor Carrick: 1 x $800k
Luke Henman: 3 x $791k
Ryan Donato: 1 x $750k
Gustav Olofsson: 1 x $750k
Antoine Bibeau: 1 x $750k
With this impressive list of players added to the Kraken roster, the team has brought in the extra help and already seems like a popular market for free agents.
The Kraken have only completed three trades to this point. But all of them have been smart decisions to collect draft picks off. Since they had to select 30 players, even with a number of players being sent to the minors, it’s more than enough. They decided to get rid of some players that caught the eye of other teams since they wouldn’t have been given a chance to make an immediate impact with the club.
With the first trade executed by the Kraken, they traded Tyler Pitlick to Calgary in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2022. Five days later, Kurtis MacDermid was shipped off to Colorado for a fourth-rounder in 2023. Vitek Vanecek was selected by the Washington Capitals and then sent back to them for a second-round pick in 2023. This was a good return for some talent.
The Kraken weren’t able to execute as many pre-expansion draft trades in order to gain assets before the draft. They worked with what they were given and assembled a competitive group for 2021-22.