The Seattle Kraken wasted little time working to tweak the roster ahead of the stretch drive, acquiring hulking defenseman Jaycob Megna from the San Jose Sharks on Sunday in exchange for a conditional fourth round pick in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft.
Megna, a six-foot-six and 220-pound blueliner, will make Seattle his third NHL team after 135 regular season games with the Sharks and Anaheim Ducks.
The Kraken, exiting the All-Star break tied for first place in the Pacific Division and still with nearly a month to make more moves ahead of the Mar. 3 trade deadline, hold a pair of draft picks in the fourth round at this year’s draft (one coming from the Colorado Avalanche in the Kurtis MacDermid trade six days after the expansion draft), and can make their selection on which draft pick will be sent to San Jose by June 15.
“Jaycob has shown with his play this season that he is a responsible defenseman that can be relied on in all situations,” said Kraken general manager Ron Francis in a team statement.
Megna, currently in his first year of a two-year deal at slightly above the league minimum, is finally experiencing progress in his game to stick at the NHL level at age 30. Previously playing in all or parts of his past nine seasons in the American Hockey League, he had no more than 44 games in one NHL season entering this year – accomplished last season with the Sharks. This year, paired predominantly with all-world blueliner Erik Karlsson, Megna has stuck in the NHL all year and is already working on a career-high 48 games with a goal and 11 assists.
His calling card: a physical game, penalty kill experience, unafraid to block shot lanes, with proven leadership at the developmental level that should help the Kraken with depth needs on their blueline. He will now slot in as the second tallest and heaviest player on the team behind 6-foot-7 and 256-pound Jamie Oleksiak and comes over to Seattle previously ranking fifth on the Sharks this season with 63 blocked shots and 75 hits.
His 19:03 of ice time, average per game, would already rank fourth most on the Kraken this season.
Megna has twice served as a captain at the AHL level with the San Jose Barracuda and San Diego Gulls and took the AHL affiliate Barracuda’s John McCarthy Leadership Award two seasons ago. With Jamie Oleksiak already sporting number 24 on the back of his jersey, it’s likely that Megna will have to move on from his longtime number, once telling The Athletic it was picked in honor of Kobe Bryant.
Cale Fleury has the rights to jersey number eight, also worn famously by Bryant in his pro career. Could Megna go with number 33 (worn by Bryant at Lower Merion High in Philadelphia) or something else?
There are two days to make that call before the Kraken return to play out of the break, on Tuesday against the host New York Islanders.
Megna, originally drafted in the seventh round by the Ducks in 2012, has 97 points, a +81 rating, and 174 penalty minutes in 368 career AHL games with San Jose, San Diego, and the Chicago Wolves.