Jesper Froden, in the middle of a career year at the American Hockey League level, has been rewarded with a call-up to the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday from their top affiliate, the Coachella Valley Firebirds.
Froden, who arrived in town late Tuesday night on a flight to Seattle and practiced with the NHL club in a #38 jersey, is armed with a heavy shot which has paced the Firebirds with 25 goals which ranks tied for second in the league.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a couple of months now,” said Froden.
“Pretty good camp (in Seattle) and took it off to start the season and I’ve been playing consistently.”
The 28-year old forward is second on the team with 47 points, beginning the year on a strong note with an eight game point streak including a three-point effort in the Firebirds inaugural victory at Calgary on Oct. 16. He has twice matched that output this season, which included a hat trick at San Diego in December.
Where he slots in the lineup is still a work in progress. The Kraken, relatively healthy even in the absence of leading scorer Andre Burakovsky, showed virtually no changes on Wednesday, only with Froden skating as a suggested placeholder for Jaden Schwartz, who has skated sporadically in practice with the group this season with routine maintenance day-termed absences.
Head coach Dave Hakstol said even with a top-six portion of the lineup well in place, Froden won’t be challenged to completely overhaul his game.
“Depending on where we have him in the lineup, we may have to make a couple of adjustments in his game – but he’s earned his way to an opportunity here,” said Hakstol.
“He’s near the top in scoring for the (AHL), more importantly he’s been competitive and consistent in his role down there. He’s a guy who’s earned his way here. He’s not a young kid, he’s not going to be starstruck by anything. He’s ready to go.”
Froden said he immediately glanced at the schedule with amusement, looking at the next opponent: the Boston Bruins. Yes, they’re a featured challenged for how much they’re applying scorched-earth method to their tour, but Froden also made his NHL debut with them last season with a goal in seven games and buried 16 goals in 49 games, second with the Bruins AHL affiliate in Providence.
“I know a lot of players there so I may have to chirp some guys,” said Froden. “You never know.”
Froden originally signed with the Kraken last July on a one-year, two-way contract.