A potentially substantial piece of the future for the Seattle Kraken is on the way.
Top team prospect Matty Beniers, a center selected at second overall in the 2021 National Hockey League Entry Draft, has agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level contract, announced by the team on Sunday.
Beniers reportedly is expected to participate in his first practice with the Kraken on Monday and travel with the team for the upcoming two-game road trip, starting Tuesday at Calgary (6pm PT) and finishing against the Winnipeg Jets in a Wednesday night matchup at 5:30pm PT.
“The fans will see a guy that every time he steps over the boards, he’s going to compete hard, both ends of the rink,” said general manager Ron Francis in a conversation with the Kraken Audio Network. “Good speed, he’s developed a nice little scoring touch in his game this year – both on the flank on the power play and on the bumper on the power play.”
Francis also said with excitement of Beniers’ pending arrival comes a necessary degree of patience with development.
“It’s going to take time for him to learn the league, and sort of get to his full potential. But we think he’s a really good prospect for the organization.”
Beniers is set to bring a decorated resume to Seattle after coming within a pair of victories of capturing the NCAA title with Michigan. En route to the Frozen Four with the Wolverines, he bundled a sophomore campaign as the program’s leading scorer with 43 points in 37 games as finalist for the Big Ten Player of the Year award, an honoree as a First-Team All-Big Ten member and suited up for Team USA in the World Junior Championship and Winter Olympics.
“It’s truly an honor to join the Kraken organization and I can’t wait to get started,” said Beniers in a team statement. “Although we fell short of our goal, I loved my time with Michigan and am looking forward to the next step in my journey. Being drafted last summer was surreal and I’m excited to get to Seattle.”
Helping guide a loaded Michigan program with 13 NHL prospects, he was the sole underclassman to wear a letter on his jersey with Michigan this season, also winning a gold medal with Team USA at last year’s World Junior event.
With Beniers set to join a Kraken lineup, waiting to blend with his full skill set, Francis said an important piece is in place, noting the value of depth at the center position.
“Centers are hard to get, especially good ones,” said Francis. “You have to draft and develop. Matty, last year where we picked at two, was the guy we thought was the guy we wanted to take in that position because he is a centerman.”
“The centerman can make the wingers better.”
Beniers will wear number 10 on his jersey.