September 32-in-32: Seattle Kraken

Alex Wyatt

2022-09-23

Welcome to the September 2022 edition of the DobberProspects 32-in-32 Series. This month, we are diving into the depth of each organization, looking at their recent graduates, risers, fallers, and top-20 prospects. 

Seattle’s inaugural season went essentially as one would expect from an expansion franchise, despite the Vegas Golden Knights’ meteoric rise out of their gate. Seattle forged a different, yet more traditional path, loading up on veterans, multi-tool players, and young players who had as of yet hadn’t locked themselves into a solid role. 

The first year allowed the Kraken to see who would rise to the top, who was a placeholder, and who would be shipped onward to ply their trade elsewhere. 

Now that the first season is in the books, we can get a better sense for the current framework of the team, what type of players are in the cupboard and where the opportunities lay moving forward. 

The Kraken were expected to be a defensively sound team- and they were- although an offensively weaker team- and they were!- but no one could have predicted that the goaltending would let them down as much as they did in the first year. 

Some of that offensive weakness will hopefully have been addressed through the acquisitions of Oliver Bjorkstrand who was received for a pittance from Columbus -as they made room to sign Johnny Gaudreau and extend Patrik Laine-, as well as the unheralded Andre Burakovsky. Future iterations of the Seattle Kraken will likely have a number of exciting offense options plucked from the draft board in an excellent second Entry Draft for Ron Francis and crew.

A number of Kraken prospects had strong showings in their respective leagues and the team had themselves one heck of a draft in 2022. The pro team is taking shape and the prospect pool is deepening, let’s take a look at who will be knocking on the door for Seattle in the coming season. 

Graduating Class

Matty Beniers, C

The first player drafted in Seattle Kraken history gave the team and fans alike a good return on the faith and excitement shown in him. 

After playing his last season in the NCAA for the University of Michigan Monstarz Wolverines, putting up 20 goals and 23 assists for 43 points in 37 games, he seamlessly zipped into the NHL and put up three goals and six assists for nine points in 10 games. 

Beniers wasn’t just known for his offensive prowess on draft day, much was made of his complete and defensively responsible game, and he was a shot in the arm for a team that needed offensive help and had spots available.

Beniers has a fantastic shot of making the Kraken out of training camp if his small sample size at the end of last season is any indication. The question will be if he can continue his strong play- even if falling back a bit towards earth in terms of his offensive output- as the Kraken have no need to rush him and risk stunting his growth.

With this year’s pick of Shane Wright, the Kraken seemingly have their top two centers locked down for the next decade.

Kole Lind, RW

Lind arrived in the NHL after showing all he had at the AHL level. He put up 17 goals and 18 assists in 35 games, before being brought up to play a quarter season for the Kraken. He was given about 11 minutes a game, playing mostly middle six minutes, and performed relatively well with positive play driving numbers. Stats-wise, he provided a 30-point pace, a shot and a half, and just under a hit per game.

Lind will likely not play as important a role for your fantasy squad as he will for the Kraken, and with the recently acquired wingers mentioned in the preamble, you likely won’t see Lind playing too many top-six minutes barring injuries to players ahead of him on the depth chart.

He is still worth keeping an eye on in deeper leagues as he is quite young, and is capable of finding the net.

Will Borgen, D

Will Borgen spent a good number of games in the pressbox for the Kraken last season, but managed to get into 36 games throughout the season. As mentioned in his prospect bio, Borgen is a defensive defenseman who won’t provide a great deal for your fantasy squad outside of peripherals, but he drove play well and chipped in eight points for the Kraken. 

Despite being captured in the Kole Lind clip above threading the long needle pass, perhaps this is more what we will expect to see when watching a Will Borgen clip.

For a young fella who narrowly avoided catastrophe in a freak accident when a skate caught him in the neck, cutting him very close to the carotid artery- be warned, the picture is gnarly– to represent his country in the Olympics, and now play in the NHL, life must feel pretty good to Will Borgen.

Morgan Geekie – C

Geekie played his first full season in the NHL for the Kraken last season, grasping on to a role that was available for precisely players of his ilk to earn in Seattle’s first season.

He played bottom-six minutes to the tune of twelve and a half minutes a night, driving play relatively well while being sheltered with shifts against weaker competition.

His seven goals and 15 assists for 22 points were enough to earn himself a one-year contract with Seattle, but likely not enough to cement himself a spot on your fantasy squad. With the arrival of Beniers and the free agent additions Seattle added to the fold, Geekie seems poised to repeat his role, and likely his production with Seattle next year. 

Although, he did have some nice highlights.

Risers

Jacob Melanson, RW

Melanson rewarded the Kraken for taking in in the fifth round last year by exploding for 35 goals in 54 games for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the QMJHL. This offensive output was not only enough for 15th in the Q, but every player ahead of him aside from Xavier Bourgault and teammate Bennet MacArthur, played seven or more games than Melanson. He provided 95 penalty minutes across the season as well, showing he is ok playing with a touch of an edge. He has a year or more before we see him taking regular shifts on the professional circuit, but the development is promising.

Ryker Evans, D

Evans had himself a fantastic year in the WHL with the Regina Pats, with 14 goals and 47 assists for 61 points in 63 games. Evans caps off his WHL career having improved his offensive output every year, and building on the playmaking prowess that was part of his profile when he was drafted. He was neck and neck with eventual point leader Olen Zellweger at one point in the year before slowing as the season drew to a close.

Evans provided plenty of PIMs for the Pats, and will get a chance to show us what he is made of with the Coachella Valley Firebirds in the AHL next season. Keep an eye on him and stash him if you can.

 

 Fallers

Joey Daccord. G

There aren’t too many prospects at the moment in the Seattle pipeline that can truly be marked as fallers. Those with lofty expectations seem to be doing what was expected of them, and those that aren’t weren’t held in as high regard- see Twarynski, Carsen, Kuhlman, and Karson, (but spelled differently), etc. Daccord failed to seize an opportunity to muscle his way into a struggling cast of netminders last year and likely finds himself stashed in Coachella Valley or traded as Seattle brought in Martin Jones to beef up the goaltending ranks in the offseason. 

Organizational Depth Chart

(Combination of NHL readiness and upside)

Left Wing

Center

Right Wing

Jani Nyman

Matty Beniers

Jagger Firkus

Carsen Twarynski

Shane Wright

Kole Lind

 

David Goyette

Jacob Melanson 

 

Morgan Geekie

Ryan Winterton

 

Alexander True

Karson Kuhlman

 

Tucker Robertson

 
 

Luke Henman

 
 

Ben MacDonald

 
 

Barrett Hall

Kyle Jackson

 

 

Left Defence

Right Defence

Ryker Evans

Ty Nelson 

Tyson Jugnauth Will Borgen
 
 

 

Goalies

Chris Driedger 

Joey Daccord

Semyon Vyazovoi

Niklas Kokko 

Top 20 Fantasy Ranking

This section is intended to paint a picture of the Seattle Kraken prospects whose current trajectory projects them making the most positive fantasy impact at the time that they reach the NHL. Arrival date and NHL certainty have been taken into consideration. However, a player’s potential upside is the most important factor in determining this list.

  1. Matty Beniers
  2. Shane Wright
  3. Jagger Firkus
  4. Ryker Evans
  5. Ty Nelson
  6. David Goyette
  7. Kole Lind
  8. Jani Nyman
  9. Morgan Geekie
  10.  Luke Henman
  11.  Tucker Robertson
  12. Chris Driedger
  13.  Ryan Winterton
  14.  Cale Fleury
  15. Jacob Melanson
  16. Kyle Jackson
  17. Tyson Jugnauth
  18.  Ben Macdonald
  19.  Karson Kuhlman
  20.   Will Borgen

Thanks for reading — follow me on Twitter @KrakenWyatt for more Kraken prospect news and scouting reports! 

 

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