August 32-in-32: Seattle Kraken

Alex Wyatt

2023-08-26

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Welcome to the August 2023 edition of the DobberProspects 32-in-32 Series! This month, we will be diving into the depth of each organization, looking at their recent graduates, risers, fallers, and top 20 prospects. 

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Last month we talked about the growth of the Seattle Kraken and their whirlwind postseason. While fans are likely ecstatic about this growth for the future of the parent club, the prospects in the junior and AHL ranks have plenty to boast about as well. Many players took strides forward in their development, and we are now starting to get a better idea of where these players fall in the grand scheme of the pipeline. There is plenty of hope for the future of the club for years to come, as Seattle still has somewhat of a shallow farm system, having only completed three entry drafts, but the talent mined from said drafts is able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the most tenured teams in the NHL.

Graduates

Matty Beniers, C

Beniers unsurprisingly earned himself a permanent roster spot out of camp after proving everything he needed to prove the year prior. Beniers clearly belonged in the NHL and it certainly showed as he finished the year with 24 goals and 33 assists in 80 games played. He won 409 faceoffs, but could use a bit of focus in that area, going only 42% at the dot. He saw nearly half of the available power play time, and skated for just over 17 minutes a game. Fantastic work for a 20 year-old who was just slotting in with a team finding their identity. 

At even strength, Beniers saw more than half his time alongside Jordan Eberle (76%), and Jared McCann was his next closest line mate with 49.8% of his minutes spent with him. This is great news for Beniers’ prospects going forward, as McCann scored 21 of his 40 goals last season at even strength with Beniers, and Seattle will want to do everything they can to keep that mojo going after signing McCann to a 5 year, $5 million contract the previous year. With a season of familiarity behind them, and another year of growth and development for Beniers, barring the time-honoured tradition of the sophomore slump, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see him add another 10-15 points to his totals this year.

Will Borgen, D

Borgen filled his role well for the Kraken in 2022-2023, playing in all 82 games and seeing 16 minutes a night and a third of the penalty kill duties. His hard-nosed style saw him throw 203 hits to lead the team in the metric, while only spending 47 minutes in the penalty box. For fantasy, Borgen is rather unheralded in fantasy, as his shot rates (less than one per game), block rates (just barely more than one a game), and offense (20 point pace) don’t fill many categories. Beyond hits, Borgen won’t do much for your fantasy squad, but he and Jamie Oleksiak fill an important defensive role for the real-world club.

Cale Fleury, D

A graduate by definition, as Fleury managed to spend the entire season with the big club in 2023, but also a faller as he spent a good deal of it in the pressbox. At one point, Fleury was a healthy scratch for 35+ games in a row. He will be 25 years old at the end of this year, and has only played 62 NHL games thus far across four seasons, so there is still some untapped potential possibly, but the question becomes, will he get to uncover any of it with such minimal deployment? He skated in 12 games and picked up a point last year. Good on him to stay up with the team and earn an NHL salary, but his stock as a fantasy asset appears to have slipped far enough that there are better options out there.

Risers

Shane Wright, C

If your leagues are anything like many of mine, the price to buy low on Shane Wright has never been lower. If your peers are still looking strictly at the draft, and the lack of NHL production in his tumultuous rookie season, sure, they can see plenty of reasons they may not think as highly of Wright as a fantasy asset as they had previously.

Consider, then, how prior to the draft, Wright had a D0 points-per-game rate of 1.49, with 32 goals in 63 games, and this year he put up a 1.85 point-per-game rate, and scored 15 goals in 20 games. Small sample size and being one year older aside, that’s the trajectory you want to see out of a 19-yearyold, with six points in eight AHL regular season games and a goal and two assists in four AHL playoff games as well.

Will Shane Wright be in the same tier as Jack Hughes and even Connor Bedard for the majority of his career? Likely not, but that’s not the comparison to make. Projections and hullabaloo aside, Wright ended up being picked fourth overall, and discourse online seems to place him as less valuable than that. Shrewd managers will sense the market inefficiencies and invest while the opportunity is there. Seattle has every reason to give him all the opportunity they can, and if a feisty Shane Wright is a productive Shane Wright, the naysayers will just improve the return on your investment.

Ryker Evans, D

I’ll admit my bias right up front, I am President of the Ryker Evans fan club.

I was watching with great interest to see how Evans transitioned to the AHL, and he did not disappoint. He played 71 regular season games for Coachella Valley, and put up six goals and 28 assists, as well as 74 PIM. He hasn’t lost his snarl moving to the pro ranks, and he was third in that metric for defensemen his age or younger, and 20th overall.

If we filter for defensemen under age 22 who played at least 15 games, his 0.62 points per game puts him 6th overall—ahead of Simon Nemec and just behind the likes of Ville Heinola, David Jiricek, and the leader in that rank, Jordan Spence. He was also second in total points, having played so many games.

Then, in the playoffs, he went a point per game, with five goals and 21 assists in 26 games. That’s tops in total points and points per game from the back end, and third in both measures for all skaters. As with most of their youngsters, Seattle has no need to rush anyone, and it’s very possible to see Evans play another year in the AHL, but if the other managers in your league haven’t caught on to him, you should stash him now.

Kole Lind, RW

“The Kraken likely don’t have a future star in Kole Lind, but they do have a young, serviceable winger who can help create plays. On a team full of middle sixers, someone is going to have to drive offense, and Lind is worth keeping an eye on during camp to see if he will grasp the reins and do so.”- Me, from last year’s 32 in 32.

Lind sure did do everything he could to make me eat my words—though in fairness he’s probably never read anything I’ve written— with the year he had in Coachella Valley. 

He didn’t see an NHL call up this year, but with 30 goals and 32 assists in 72 regular season games, followed up with nine goals and 22 assists in 26 playoff games, Lind played a lot of hockey last year and scored a lot of points. He still managed to provide 91 PIMs in the regular season, showing his grit hasn’t waned despite the increase in niftiness in his mitts. Lind, as well as several other Firebirds, have likely earned themselves much longer looks in training camp, with some potential spots open for that competition. Lind, yet again, doesn’t trend to be a star at the NHL level, but could prove to be a sneaky value stash in deeper leagues.

Tye Kartye

Add Kartye to the list of Firebirds battling for an NHL job in training camp, though he might just have the edge over the competition. His 28 goals and 29 assists in 72 regular season AHL games didn’t put him over the top as a lock for an NHL job, but what he did in the playoffs sure might have. No, not the six goals and two assists in 18 games in the Calder Cup playoffs, the three goals and two assists in 10 Stanley Cup playoff games may have. 

When 40-goal-scorer Jared McCann went down with an injury in Game Four of their first-round matchup versus incumbent Cup Champs, the Colorado Avalanche, not many would have predicted what would happen next. First, Seattle came back to win that game to tie the series. Tye Kartye was then called up to make his NHL debut in Game Five, filling McCann’s spot, and scoring a goal, with Seattle winning that game as well. Seattle then ended up sending the champs home in seven games in front of a stunned Denver crowd.

Kartye’s numbers weren’t awe inspiring in the OHL, but he outperformed Sasha Pastujov in two fewer games, for instance, and was one point behind Ty Voit in four fewer in his last OHL season. Those are two names you would have leapt at acquiring in your pool prior to learning who Tye Kartye was and still might. Expansion teams are all about found money, and Kartye has a chance to be yet another excellent find for Seattle, whether he becomes an NHL fixture this year or spends one more year in Coachella Valley.

Ty Nelson, D

Another youngster in the Kraken pipeline who saw some strong steps forward last year is Ty Nelson. For the second year in a row, he was the top scoring defenseman on the North Bay Battalion, and finished third in team points in the regular season. He followed that up by leading the team in scoring with 25 playoff points in 20 games. His nine goals and 42 assists in 66 games in 2021-2022 became 24 goals and 52 assists in 67 games in 2022-2023, showcasing a little more confidence in his shot, and ability to pick the open areas. Nelson is likely due to build on this strong OHL showing with one more year in junior, but given the success the Kraken Organization is showing at the pro levels, there’s no need to rush the development of a prominent youngster, rather work him in comfortably when he is ready. Nelson is an excellent stash in deeper leagues.

Joey Daccord, G.

Though his NHL numbers were forgettable last year, his AHL performance is worth getting excited about. His 2.38 GAA and .918 save percentage were sixth best in both measures, and his playoff 2.22 and .926 were the tops among goalies who played more than 10 games (Daccord led all goalies with 26 games played).

He will likely get a chance to back up Phillip Grubauer, with Martin Jones now a Maple Leaf and Chris Driedger not seizing the opportunity as of yet. If a numbers game does require Daccord to start in Coachella Valley, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a mid-year Driedger trade or a three-headed-monster approach—as Carolina showed was possible last year—-because goaltending has been the Achilles heel for Seattle as long as they’ve existed. Now, with the strides they took last year, Ron Francis is probably ready to solve it.

Ales Stezka, G.

A very quiet signing by Ron Francis in May, Ales Stezka was a 4th-round pick by the Minnesota Wild back in 2015. Since then, he played two seasons in the USHL where he had an up-and-down statline, before heading to the Czech Pro and Junior leagues. In 2022-2023, he was the fourth-best goaltender to play at least 15 games in the top league, posting a 2.14 GAA and .924 SV% with five shutouts in 39 games. He followed that up with a sparkling 12-game playoff with a 1.24 GAA and .960 SV%. Much remains to be seen as far as opportunity goes for Stezka, but with Martin Jones moving on to Toronto after playing 48 games for Seattle last season, there’s upward movement to be seen in the goaltending depth chart, and whoever grabs the reins will get the opportunity. Stash Stezka now in case he is the one to emerge victorious.

Fallers

Gustav Olofsson, D.

It’s safe to say that Olofsson’s ceiling has been reached, and it is that of an AHL regular.

Luke Henman, C.

Henman played quite decently in a bottom-six role in the AHL this year and could still feature as a bottom six forward for the big club one day. However, he is sliding down the depth chart from a ceiling perspective, thus diminishing his fantasy potential.

Ryan Winterton, RW.

Another player who sees his stock fall, mostly due to the incoming prospects usurping his position in the pipeline, and slightly due a somewhat underwhelming showing in the OHL this year. He managed 34 games this year, and provided ten fewer points than the year prior. 

Though to be fair, he then went off and led the league in points for the OHL playoffs with 29 in 21 games. This is enough to keep him on your radar, and he’s further along in his development than the recent draftees, but time will tell where he falls in the depth chart with the new talent the Kraken are acquiring at both the pro and pipeline ranks.

Organizational Depth Chart

Left WingCentreRight Wing
Jani NymanShane WrightEduard Sale
Oscar Fisker-MolgaardTye KartyeJagger Firkus
Carson RehkopfDavid GoyetteKole Lind
Zeb ForsfjallTucker RobertsonJacob Melanson
Ben MacdonaldKyle JacksonRyan Winterton
Ville PetmanBarrett HallMarian Studenic
Luke HenmanAndrei Loshko
Logan MorrisonZaccharya Wisdom
Cameron Hughes
Left DefenceRight DefenceGoalies
Ryker EvansLukas DragicevicJoey D’Accord
Caden PriceTy NelsonNiklas Kokko
Gustav OlofssonCale FleurySemyon Vyazavoy
Tyson JugnauthKaden HammellVisa Vedenpaa
Peetro SeppalaAles Stezka

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. Shane Wright
  2. Ryker Evans
  3. Ty Nelson
  4. Jagger Firkus
  5. Tye Kartye
  6. Eduard Sale
  7. Lukas Dragicevic
  8. Kole Lind
  9. Caden Price
  10.  Jani Nyman
  11.  Joey Daccord
  12.  David Goyette
  13.  Jacob Melanson
  14.  Oscar Fisker-Molgaard
  15.  Logan Morrison
  16. Tucker Robertson
  17. Semyon Vyazovoy
  18.  Ryan Winterton
  19.  Kyle Jackson
  20.  Barrett Hall

Thanks for reading!

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