The Kraken have the fourth overall pick this year and with a strong draft class, who can the Kraken select in their second ever draft?
On July 7-8 the Montreal Canadiens will play host to the 59th annual NHL Entry Draft. Draft day is a big one in the hockey world as NHL fans get a look at the potential futures of their franchises. This year the Seattle Kraken was awarded the fourth overall pick at the Draft Lottery. In past years number four has seen players like Mitch Marner, Cale Makar, and Lucas Raymond who are all superstars in their own right. Kraken General Manager Ron Francis was a fourth overall pick himself. Hopefully the Kraken can get a franchise player like that this year. While it was widely believed that Shane Wright was a lock to go first overall, that and much else in this draft is very much up in the air. So who could the Kraken take at the four spot?
This Czech defenceman has spent the past three seasons with HC Škoda Plzeň of the Czech Extraliga. The Extraliga is the best league in Czechia and Jiříček has been playing in the league since he was 16. He’s also spent time with the Czech national team at both the World Juniors and World Championships. NHL Central Scouting has Jiříček at the four spot for European skaters, and his draft potential is high.
He’s a physical player standing at 6′ 3″ and 190 pounds and with time put in with NHL trainers he easily could get stronger. His only down sides are his acceleration and decision-making, but it is also important to remember he’s only 18 and has plenty of time to develop into the top defenceman he can be. It does help things that the Kraken could use some depth at the backend and Jiříček would be a great addition to the Kraken depth chart.
Nemec provides the Kraken with another solid option at defence. He comes from Slovakia and has played his last two years with HK Nitra of the Slovakian Extraliga. The 18-year-old has spent time with both the Slovakian World Juniors, World Championships, and even Olympic teams. At his young age he’s already earned an Olympic bronze medal, as well as the MVP of the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. This season with HK Nitra he put up 26 points in just 39 games, and another 17 points in 19 playoff games.
He’s one spot above Jiříček on the NHL European Central Scouting report but that doesn’t mean he can’t go fourth overall. He’s got strong skating skills, a strong hockey IQ, and keen defensive awareness that will help him on both sides of the puck. He may bee seen as a risk taker but that comes with being an 18 year old. Under the right coaching and training, Nemec has the potential to be a top pair defenseman in the NHL.
This center spent his first full year in the WHL with the Winnipeg Ice and was a breakout star. He was first on the team in scoring with 90 points in just 65 games and continued his hot streak in the playoffs with 12 points in 10 games. While it may be a bit of a long shot for the Kraken to take Savoie, if he slips to the four spot he easily could be the steal of the draft. His strong playmaking ability paired with his skating and shot make him a menace on offense, only brought down sometimes by his tendency to pass when he should shoot.
While yes the Kraken have their center of the future in Matty Beniers, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to get a solid number two. Tony Ferrari of Sports Illustrated has likened him to Brayden Point, and if that’s true, he could be the reason the Kraken win a Cup down the road. Any team would love to have a Point on their roster, and if he isn’t available, Savoie may just be the next best thing. The Kraken need goal scorers seeing as not a single rostered player cracked 30 goals. If Savoie is everything scouts say he is, he could be the much needed spark to the Kraken offence.
Who knows how things will shake out next month in Montreal but one thing is for certain, look for GM Ron Francis to make a fourth overall selection that can help his team now. Of course it’s always possible that Francis does something else with the pick, however unlikely that may be.
The Kraken have an interesting season ahead of them, and fans can only hope that they will get to see a much improved squad. Good teams all start at the draft and the Kraken have little to no room for error, but with the strong draft class of 2022, it will be hard to miss at the fourth overall spot.