2021-22 Kraken Report Cards: Donato, Rask, Sprong

Happy September, Seattle Kraken fans, and welcome to the final edition of the Kraken Report Cards! As of now, only one of the final three players I’ll discuss will be on the team this season. The other two are currently free agents. The first player we’ll discuss will be on the team and is someone I’ve liked for a while, and he’s coming off a career year. The other two were acquired during the season by general manager Ron Francis and had experienced a fair amount of success given their roles.

Seattle Kraken Year End Player Grades
Seattle Kraken (The Hockey Writers)

Before I start, let’s break down the grading system. It’s the basic A-F system where an A is excellent, and a C- means they have a lot to work on. Minimum qualifications for inclusion are having played 10 games and finished the season with the Kraken. For the final time this offseason, let’s get it going. 

Ryan Donato

Ryan Donato’s 16 goals and 31 points were good enough to earn him another contract, as he signed a one-year, $1.2 million deal after initially not being offered one. Not only did he have a strong year, but he also scored the first goal in franchise history. Personally, for the sentimentality alone, I also would’ve re-signed him; though the numbers he put up definitely helped.

Donato averaged 13:48 time on ice, which is now his career-high over the course of a full season. He also played nearly 133 minutes on the power play, shattering his previous best. Given that he’s back on another contract year, he’s going to want to at the very least emulate that performance, if not exceed it.

Related: Kraken Should Extend Ryan Donato

However, given the team’s offseason acquisitions, his role may fall into question. Their top-nine forwards look to be set in stone, especially if Shane Wright makes the team. They also have more NHL centers than slots available, so assuming Donato wins a spot, it’ll likely be as a winger, which should be fine. The concern for him is that with a reduced role, his production will follow suit.

Player Grade: B

Victor Rask

Victor Rask played 18 games for the Kraken after being acquired from the Minnesota Wild and scored four goals and eight points. He finished the year with nine goals and 21 points in 47 games between the two teams, and 10 points in 10 games with the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Iowa Wild. Those 10 games were his first in the AHL since the 2013-14 season. 

Victor Rask Minnesota Wild
Victor Rask, former Minnesota Wild forward, current free agent (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Kraken definitely utilized him more than he had been over the past several seasons. He averaged 14:33 per game with the Kraken, and it was only the second time since the 2017-18 season he’d averaged more than 14 minutes per game. He also saw a significant bump in power-play time once joining the Kraken as it nearly tripled what he saw with the Wild. Despite that, he only tallied a primary assist.

Part of the reason Rask didn’t re-up with the team was probably that the Kraken didn’t have the roster space since they added several forwards via free agency and the draft. Organizationally, he probably could have joined the AHL’s Coachella Valley Firebirds if signed, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was looking for an NHL job instead of having to work his way back up from the AHL. Last season was a small sample size, and his grade will reflect that.

Player Grade: C+

Daniel Sprong

Daniel Sprong has put up great numbers throughout his junior and minor hockey league career, but hasn’t seen it fully translate to the NHL. After eight goals and 14 points in 47 games with the Washington Capitals, the Kraken traded for him. He went on to score six goals in 16 games for the Kraken. He finished the season with 14 goals, tying his career-high, and 20 points in 63 games.

Daniel Sprong Seattle Kraken
Daniel Sprong, former Seattle Kraken forward, current free agent (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Kraken were Sprong’s fourth team in seven years of playing professional hockey, and they gave him a decent chance when he played. He averaged 13:42 time on ice for the team, and saw just under 28 minutes of power-play time, contributing two of his goals on the man-advantage.

Related: Kraken Must-Watch Games For The 2022-23 Season

Sprong faces a similar problem as Rask in that the Kraken just don’t have the space for him. Could he have found a home with the Firebirds? Maybe, but an AHL role may not be something he’s looking for, as he has only played in the AHL in one season since turning pro during the 2017-18 season. Being that we only have a small sample size to work with, his grade will reflect that.

Player Grade: C+

Kraken fans should be excited to see what Donato will bring to the table in whatever role he ends up in. The THW Kraken Team will be exploring the potential lineups for opening day, but there’s a good chance that he’ll be on my personal Kraken lineup, though nothing is set in stone yet. As for Rask and Sprong, I’m not sure where they’ll end up. They could head overseas in an attempt to rejuvenate their careers, but only time will tell.