General manager Ron Francis remembered the last time he finished a busy stretch of work, then took a nap.
It was at the trade deadline. This time, at the NHL Entry Draft, how long until the finish line?
“We’re not there yet,” said Francis.
Following a flight back he said with the entire Kraken draft class, a Mariners game against the Toronto Blue Jays this weekend together, development camp, free agency, then a wedding for his oldest daughter, Kaitlyn, he will likely rest. Until then, the work is still underway to integrate 11 members of the draft class, many built to score goals from the forward position.
The Kraken finished the second day with ten picks, including four in the second round alone. But the crowning achievement was a game of chance that landed prolific center Shane Wright to the fourth overall pick on Friday night, giving the Kraken a dynamic one-two punch offensively at center with Matty Beniers possibly for years to come.
“Your middle is so important,” said Francis.
“The future looks really bright with the Seattle Kraken with those two guys coming down the middle. They can do much more in the middle. You can make your wingers better players and distribute the puck.”
Wright was the headliner, followed up by the ten-player brigade that will touch ice in Seattle for the first time at Kraken development camp, Jul. 11-14 at Kraken Community Iceplex. During that period, the Kraken will also get a chance to break into the treasure chest of free agents, opening business for all NHL teams starting Jul. 13.
Among the free agency class: forwards Filip Forsberg, Johnny Gaudreau, Valeri Nichuskin, Ondrej Palat, and Andre Burakovsky. All can play on the wing to supplement Beniers and Wright, should they slot in for a regular spot in the lineup.
Defenseman John Klingberg headlines a crop on the blueline that could be in for a big payday. But what does that mean about the need to sign another center, say in Evgeni Malkin or Nazem Kadri?
“It tweaks it a little bit in the sense that he might be able to play in the fall,” said Francis.
“But I’m not going to put that kind of pressure on (Wright).”
All sessions at Kraken Community Iceplex will be open to the general public with the following schedule below (all times Pacific):
· July 11: on ice 12-12:45pm
· July 12: on ice 11:15am-Noon
· July 13: on ice 11am-Noon
· July 14: on ice 10:15-11am
Who the Kraken took in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft:
Breakdown: 11 players, 8 forwards, 2 defensemen, 1 goaltender
1ST ROUND: SHANE WRIGHT, CENTER (Kingston, OHL) – 4th overall
· Need to know: top ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting, 94 points in 63 games last season, was named CHL top prospect of the year. Consensus first overall pick of the draft for months.
2nd ROUND: JAGGER FIRKUS, FORWARD (Moose Jaw, WHL) – 35th overall
· Need to know: 80 points in 66 games, WHL East Second Team All-Star honors, and is armed with a rocket shot good for 36 goals. Has drawn comparisons to Eeli Tolvanen of the Nashville Predators.
2ND ROUND: JANI NYMAN, FORWARD (Koovee, Mestis-Finland) – 49th overall
· Need to know: led team with 18 goals, bronze medalist with Team Finland at the U18 World Junior Championship.
2ND ROUND: NIKLAS KOKKO, GOALTENDER (Karpat U20, U20 SM-sarja) – 58th overall
· Need to know: netminder in a strong developmental league, .914 save percentage was sixth best in the league.
2ND ROUND: DAVID GOYETTE, CENTER (Sudbury, OHL) – 61st overall
· Need to know: Sudbury’s leading scorer across the board with 33 goals, 40 assists, and 73 points.
3RD ROUND: TY NELSON, DEFENSEMAN (North Bay, OHL) – 68th overall
· Need to know: he’s another offensive guy – 51 points in 66 games, got North Bay past the third round of postseason action. He also once broke a puck in half.
4TH ROUND: BEN MACDONALD, FORWARD (Noble & Greenough School, USHSP) – 91st overall
· Need to know: led his prep team with 14 goals … committed to play college hockey at Harvard. Will start this season with the West Kelowna Warriors (BCHL) at the Junior-A level.
4TH ROUND: TYSON JUGNAUTH, DEFENSEMAN (West Kelowna, BCHL) – 100th overall
· Need to know finished second among defensemen leaders with 50 points in 52 games. Committed to play college hockey at Wisconsin.
4TH ROUND: TUCKER ROBERTSON, RIGHT WING (Peterborough, OHL) – 123rd overall
· Need to know: was passed over in last summer’s draft – responded with 41-goal 81-point campaign to lead the program in goals. And has a pretty wild story for day two of the draft.
6TH ROUND: BARRETT HALL, FORWARD (Gentry Academy, USHS) – 164th overall
· Need to know: team captain of the program, leading scorer with 55 points in 25 games. Will play college hockey at St. Cloud State.
7th ROUND: KYLE JACKSON, FORWARD (North Bay, OHL) – 196th overall
· Need to know: set OHL career highs with 30 goals and 62 points. Teammate in the OHL of draftee and defenseman Ty Nelson. Only got in 45 games due to injuries. Skated in rookie camp with the Nashville Predators last season.