The Seattle Kraken have wrapped up their second season, but the offseason excitement is still rolling. Into the Deep is our series that dives into the different phases and developments of the Seattle Kraken offseason. This post we are taking a look at the Seattle Kraken defensemen.
Between free agency and the draft, ‘offseason-year three’ has been full of changes and potential drama for the Kraken.
From early on (expansion draft), the team has been built from the net out. The strength of the team is it’s defense and offensive depth. Yes, being able to roll with four lines that match up well against any team is a nightmare for the opposition.
The biggest offseason need for the Seattle Kraken
Let’s start with the biggest and most obvious roster topic that needs to be addressed; how do we lock up Vince Dunn long-term? Dunn is 26 years old and is arguably the best player on the team.
Yes, I said that. Dunn is the Kraken’s best player and most important player. Dunn also had a career season with 14 goals, 50 assists, 64 points, and a plus 28 rating, in 81 games.
Next to a number one center and an elite goalie, the single most important position on any team is a point producing, shut down defenseman. You have to have a guy who can jump in the rush and produce points from the blue line.
When the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 2022, their Captain was Gabriel Landeskog was asked what he thinks other teams will take away from the Avs’ journey to winning the Cup, he responded with a very simple answer.
No, I am not saying that Dunn is Cale Makar. I am also not saying that Dunn is San Jose Sharks’ Erik Karlsson. Those a generational players.
Dunn is an offensively gifted, puck moving defensemen with an incredibly high hockey IQ. He has a great shot, and great hands with the puck. He is a Stanley Cup champion (St. Louis Blues), and is just entering his prime. He also possess top end, defensive shut-down abilities.
Dunn made $4 million last season and is due for a massive raise. Arbitration for Dunn is set for July 24th.
Dunn wants to stay in Seattle. Don’t mess this up, lock him up.
The core of the Seattle Kraken defense
After a few minor roster tweaks (probably for Dunn related salary cap reasons), the remaining core of the defense is intact. Alternate captain Adam Larsson is under contract for two more seasons. At 30 years old and locked up for $4 million per season, Larsson is a steal. Not known for having much of an offensive presence, Larsson put up career numbers last season scoring 8 goals, 25 assists, and 33 points in all 82 games. In fact, since the expansion season, Larsson has averaged 8 goals per season.
I’ll take that all day.
Justin Schultz returns and is under contract for one more season at $3 million (at 33 years old this will probably be his final season in Seattle). Jamie Oleksiak is back at $4.6 million (3 more years on his current deal) and is once again looked to be the giant, physical force that opposing teams fear. He is worth every penny.
Will Borgen was re-signed to a two year deal at $2.7 million per season. Borgen was well deserving of a new contract after the convincing season he had.
The biggest loss on the blue line was Carson Soucy leaving for Vancouver. The 10 goal, expansion season, career year for Soucy was an anomaly. His game is tailored around his size and defensive-minded play. He will be missed, but upgrading the position is more important than fans missing him.
Especially when Soucy is more of a depth guy and is replaceable.
Speaking of, the team did so with the signing Brian Dumoulin. If you are not familiar with Dumoulin (and I’m guessing that most of you are not), we just brought in a two-time Stanley Cup winner from the Pittsburgh Penguins, a true locker room leader (dude wore an ‘A’ on his sweater the past 4 seasons) and a player with top-notch shut down defensive skills. He is big (6’4″, 207 lbs.) and will pair nicely on the 3rd line.
The depth of the Seattle Kraken Defense
The remainder of the rostered defensemen fill out the depth nicely and include Cale Fleury, Jaycob Megna, and possibly a combination of prospects (Ty Nelson or Ryker Evans).
I am very excited to see what Ty Nelson brings to the party in training camp. He is a player to watch. Any of these players could see regular time. The drop off in talent from the top 6 is not that large. This is really who the Kraken are- deep.
The Kraken are solid with all three of their defensive pairings. The team needs to lock up Dunn. This is a must. Be watchful this season as multiple contracts will come off of the books next year and a new deal for rookie of the year Matty Beniers will need to get done.
That is a conversation for another post.
Fear the deep!