Kraken extend Will Borgen, bring on free agent Bellemare

Dallas Stars v Seattle Kraken - Game Four

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - MAY 09: Will Borgen #3 of the Seattle Kraken warms up before Game Four of the Second Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Dallas Stars at Climate Pledge Arena on May 09, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

While one spot is filled again with a familiar face, another is filled with a newcomer from a familiar contender. 

Defenseman Will Borgen avoided arbitration and scuttled his restricted free agent status, re-upping for two years with the Seattle Kraken on an extension worth $2.7 million annually, while Center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and the Kraken agreed on a one-year, league minimum contract, announced by the Kraken on Friday. 

Borgen is back in the mix as a physical and abrasive right shot defenseman who was originally taken by the Kraken from the Buffalo Sabres in the expansion draft, but enjoyed his breakout year last season to appear in every game and grew into a reliable top-four role on the defensive corps. He contributed with three goals and 17 assists but also one of 14 total skaters across the league to rack up more than 200 hits and 80 blocked shots. 

Playing late in the season alongside Jamie Oleksiak, the pair smothered the Colorado Avalanche in a seven-game upset in the first round, while Borgen earned a key first period goal in game four, eventually won 3-2 by the Kraken in overtime at a boisterous Climate Pledge Arena. 

The 6-foot-3, 204-pound defenseman had three points in 14 playoff games for the Kraken and has 28 points in 140 career games with Seattle and Buffalo. 

2022 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JUNE 26: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare #41 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates with the puck as Erik Johnson #6 of the Colorado Avalanche defends in the first period of Game Six of the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on June 26, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

The move for Bellemare brings the 38-year old forward to the Pacific Northwest for his fifth career NHL stop, previously spending two years in a valuable depth role with the Tampa Bay Lightning and with prior stops in Vegas, Colorado and Philadelphia. Bellemare had 13 points in 73 regular season games, moving into a key penalty kill role while winning 52 percent of his face-offs, the sixth straight year he was at 50 percent or better at the dot. 

He can play both left wing and the center position, qualities which will surely be valuable in the departure of position jackknives such as Ryan Donato (who left for Chicago) and Morgan Geekie (who left for Boston) last week in free agency. Bellemare has also been through the playoff gauntlet as deep as the Stanley Cup Final twice, with Vegas in 2018 and Tampa Bay last year. 

“Pierre-Edouard is a hard-working, defensive-minded forward,” said Kraken general manager Ron Francis in a statement. 

“He is effective in the faceoff dot and brings valuable veteran experience.” 

The 5-foot-11, 198 pound forward is also reunited with head coach Dave Hakstol, who were together in Philadelphia between 2015-17.

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