Seattle Kraken 2022 NHL Draft Recap & Grade

The Seattle Kraken left the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, big winners, picking up key additions that will help the franchise for years to come. It is very seldom a team picking fourth overall gets the No. 1 ranked prospect according to Central Scouting, but that is exactly what happened in Montreal. Here is a breakdown of the Kraken’s 11 selections.

Shane Wright – 4th Overall

It is fair to say that shock filled the room when Shane Wright was not drafted with the first three selections in the draft. The Kraken were not going to let him fall any further, picking the Kingston Frontenacs forward fourth overall. In 63 games last season, he finished eighth in league scoring with 94 points and sixth with 62 assists.

Shane Wright Seattle Kraken 2022 NHL Draft
Shane Wright, Seattle Kraken (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

A huge shoutout needs to be made to Kraken writer Sean Raggio here at The Hockey Writers, who predicted that Wright could fall to the Kraken. Less than a week before the draft, he posted this piece discussing why Seattle should target him. If all goes to plan, the fourth-overall pick will be on the opening-night roster looking to make a massive statement this season. The staredown of the Montreal Canadiens’ draft table was just the start as this prospect now has his eyes set on the Calder Trophy.

Jagger Firkus – 35th Overall

The Kraken once again got lucky, this time in the second round, where they selected Moose Jaw Warriors right-winger Jagger Firkus. A prospect that many had going in the top 25, Seattle fans should be excited as he was one of the most exciting players in the draft. This past season, he led the Warriors with 36 goals and 80 points while finishing 14th across the entire Western Hockey League (WHL) when it came to points.

Breaking down Firkus’ game, it is clear why he was projected to be a first-round pick. Few possess the offensive talent he does, as he can beat goaltenders from anywhere in the offensive zone, including from behind the net, as he won WHL play of the year thanks to his “Michigan goal” in the playoffs. He still needs to work on his defensive game, but there is no question he can become an offensive threat at the NHL level. Fans will want to ensure they attend prospect camp as he can dazzle with his offensive skill set and blazing speed.

Jani Nyman – 49th Overall

One thing that sticks out when it comes to Jani Nyman is his size. The Finnish right winger comes in at 6-foot-3, 216 pounds at the age of 17. A prospect who turns 18 at the end of July, it is rare to see his combination of size and offensive skill at his age. If he develops the way Seattle hopes, he could be a dynamic power forward in the NHL for a long time.

Related: 2022 NHL Draft’s Top 10 Finnish Prospects

What sticks out about Nyman is his ability to drive the offence despite his skating. This is an area he needs to develop before making the jump to the NHL. Despite that, he scored 18 goals and recorded 35 points in the Finnish men’s second division with KOOVEE. He also played well for Finland at the Hlinka Gretzky tournament and U18s, where he captured a bronze medal for his country. While he is a gamble because of his skating, this is a prospect with a high ceiling that could turn heads over the next few seasons.

Niklas Kokko – 58th Overall

This is the one pick from this draft that is a little questionable, considering his pre-draft ranking. Nikas Kokko is a 6-foot-3, 185-pound Finnish goaltender who was ranked ninth among European goaltenders according to Central Scouting. To be fair, this is a prospect that was named goaltender of the year in Finland’s U18 league during the 2019-20 season, so there may be more to this player than some believe.

One thing that is clear about Kokko is he is very difficult to beat down low. He plays a stand-up style that keeps the top of the net covered for as long as possible. His numbers in the Finnish U20 league showed his playing style is effective as he posted a 17-10 record with a .916% save percentage, a 2.06 goals-against average and six shutouts. He is definitely a project piece as he is signed in Finland until 2024-25 but will hopefully be developed when the time comes to make the move to the Kraken organization.

David Goyette – 61st Overall

At this point, the question needs to be asked, what type of lucky horseshoe does Ron Francis have in his pocket? A prospect some believed would be gone before the Kraken even had a chance at him with the 35th pick, David Goyette somehow slipped all the way to 61st overall. A center who thrives in the offensive zone, he continued to get better as the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) season progressed, becoming one of the most dangerous players late in the season.

David Goyette of the Sudbury Wolves
David Goyette of the Sudbury Wolves (Photo by Robert Lefebvre /OHL Images)

Goyette is best when he doesn’t need to carry the puck and can rely on his teammates to set him up in scoring areas. Like a good fisherman, his catch and release is his strongest asset, as he can collect the puck and rip it into the net in one motion. He put up 73 points, including 33 goals in 66 games for the Sudbury Wolves during the 2021-22 campaign, and will look to round out his defensive game and playmaking ability in the 2022-23 season. A prospect with a lot of tools in his arsenal, Seattle fans should be paying close attention to him this season.

Ty Nelson – 68th Overall

Seattle needed to add a right-shot defenceman to their prospect pool and did so with Ty Nelson of the North Bay Battalion. The first thing that needs to be pointed out is yes, he is 5-foot-8, but at 198 pounds, he is able to throw hits and muscle players off the puck. Being a smaller defenceman, he has worked on his body and stick position to the point where he can be an effective player in his own zone.

Related: 2022 NHL Entry Draft – Top 10 OHL Prospects

While his offensive numbers were impressive with 51 points in 66 games, he doesn’t profile as a dynamic offensive defenceman. His skating and shot are some of his best assets but where he is best is his own zone. He is a very smart player who can anticipate passes and position himself to break them up. If he can improve his transition and passing game, there is little doubt he can have a successful pro career based on the skill set he already possesses.

Ben MacDonald – 91st Overall

With their second pick in the third round, the Kraken selected center Ben MacDonald out of the United States High School Prep (USHS-Prep) league. This past season with Noble & Greenough School, he scored 14 goals and added 29 points in 22 games. A Harvard commit for the 2023-24 season, he is scheduled to play in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) next season.

There are not a ton of scouting reports on MacDonald, but the ones that exist describe a player with a high motor whose physical game is his biggest strength. He has good size at 6-foot-0, 181 pounds and uses it to his advantage on the forecheck and in his own zone. Overall, he is a project piece who needs to work on his skating and overall offensive game. The BCHL should provide him with a good challenge as he continues his development into next season.

Tyson Jugnauth – 100th Overall

The other defenceman the Kraken selected in the 2022 Draft was 6-foot-0, 161-pound left-shot defender Tyson Jugnauth. A member of the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors, he was named the BCHL’s top defenceman after recording 50 points in 52 games. He has already committed to the University of Wisconsin for the 2022-23 season, where he will be coached by a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) legend and long-time NHLer, Tony Granato.

What sticks out about Jugnauth’s game is his patience with the puck. Whether he is in the offensive zone or transitioning the puck up the ice, it’s almost like he slows down time in order to make the perfect pass or play. While this may work in junior, he will need to adapt to a faster pace if he has eyes on the NHL. He is a good prospect whose overall game is solid and who should greatly benefit from his time in the NCAA.

Tucker Roberston – 123rd Overall

Last season, the Kraken finished 28th in the league when it came to goalscoring. They needed to add prospects who could score, and that is exactly what they did when selecting Tucker Roberston in the fourth round. A player who had more goals this season than Wright with 41 in 68 games, he exploded this season in the OHL after missing the entire 2021-22 season due to the league shutdown.

Tucker Robertson Peterborough Petes
Tucker Robertson, Peterborough Petes (Brandon Taylor/OHL Images)

Robertson is an older prospect, having already turned 19, but brings some interesting tools to the table. He is very solid defensively, showing an ability to read the play and jump in to cut off passes and has a nose for the net, as evident by his 81 points this season. One area that he clearly thrives at is penalty kill, as he recorded eight shorthanded goals this season. For a prospect that missed an entire year of development, he showed why he deserved to be drafted, with Seattle being the team that cashed in on all of his hard work.

Barrett Hall – 164th Overall

In the sixth round, the Kraken picked another center, this time being Barrett Hall. He played in multiple leagues this season, with 19 games in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) and 25 games in the United States High School, Minnesota (USHS-MN) league. While he had success in the NAHL, recording 20 points in 19 games, most of his success came in the USHS-MN league, where he captained Gentry Academy. During his time there, he scored 25 goals and recorded 55 points in 25 games.

Related: Kraken Prospect Report: 2021 Draft Class Season Recap

Hall’s biggest skill is his puck handling. He is able to make deceptive passes and is a nightmare for defenders who rely on their stick to knock the puck away. A prospect that likes to play with the puck on his stick, he has a great shot that can fool the opposition’s goaltenders. He has already committed to St. Cloud State University for the 2024-25 season, so he is very much a long-term project. If the Kraken take their time with him from a development perspective, they may have added a prospect who could develop into a late-round surprise and have a successful pro career down the line.

Kyle Jackson – 196th Overall

With their final selection, Seattle returned to the North Bay Battalion and selected versatile winger Kyle Jackson. Another 19-year-old, he scored 30 goals while registering 62 points in the OHL this season. This was his third season in the OHL, where he has recorded 87 points in 119 regular-season games up to this point.

Jackson is a player who missed out on getting drafted due to the OHL shutdown in 2021-22. He is a long-term project who has shown an ability to play on the wing or at center throughout his junior career so far. While it is a long shot he makes the NHL, he should be able to jump into the AHL during the 2023-24 season providing the Kraken with much-needed depth to their prospect pool.

Prospect Projection

Below is an estimate as to when the prospects selected may be ready to make the jump to the NHL:

2022-23 SeasonShane Wright
2023-24 SeasonJagger Firkus
2024-25 SeasonDavid Goyette, Jani Nyman
2025-26 SeasonTy Nelson, Tucker Robertson
2026-27 Season or laterNiklas Kokko, Ben MacDonald, Tyson Jugnauth, Barrett Hall, Kyle Jackson

Overall Grade: A-

The Seattle Kraken got lucky in this draft but did not squander their opportunities. Seattle is starting to build up a strong prospect pipeline that should have an effect on the team over the next few seasons. Ron Francis and his team impressed at this year’s draft and are by far one of the winners of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.

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