Kraken sign burly, experienced forward John Hayden to 1-year deal

Buffalo Sabres v New Jersey Devils

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 23: John Hayden #15 of the Buffalo Sabres in action against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on October 23, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Sabres 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

The Seattle Kraken made another advancement to fortify depth with their group of forwards, signing versatile and burly forward John Hayden to a modest one-year, two-way deal worth $750,000 on Friday.

Hayden's potential fills a need for size and grit with a 6-foot-3 and 223-pound frame. He will also move onto his fifth team for his NHL career and fourth in the last four years, logging 35 points and 283 penalty minutes in 240 games with Buffalo, Arizona, New Jersey, and Chicago. 

A physical player who has predominantly played in a bottom-six role in the NHL and once described his game as a “swiss army knife,” also has 17 points in 24 games for his lone stint in the American Hockey League with the Rockford IceHogs in 2017-18. 

He also isn’t afraid to drop the gloves. He did it six times with Buffalo last season, including a scrap with Kraken defenseman Jamie Oleksiak at Climate Pledge Arena on Nov. 4. 

Buffalo Sabres v Seattle Kraken

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 04: John Hayden #15 of the Buffalo Sabres and Jamie Oleksiak #24 of the Seattle Kraken fight during the first period at Climate Pledge Arena on November 04, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

Hayden, who also suited up for the United States with an assist in 10 games at the World Championship, was a product of Yale’s hockey program, twice cracking double-digits in goals for his four-year career with the Bulldogs. 

The Kraken opened day one of free agency on Wednesday with a big splash, signing in left winger Andre Burakovsky and addressed position needs in a right shot defenseman with Justin Schultz from Washington, and backup goaltending in Martin Jones from Philadelphia. 

With Hayden’s signing, the Kraken still have a projected $9.8 million in available salary cap space, according to, for any remaining free agent acquisitions. 

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