Though the Seattle Kraken have played much better of late, the hole they’ve dug themselves into may prove too much to overcome. They are last in the Pacific Division and nine points out of a playoff spot. If the Kraken fail to climb out of the league’s basement by the 2022 Trade Deadline, general manager Ron Francis may see fit to trade some of his team’s veterans on expiring contracts to contending teams. Indeed, if they cannot secure a playoff spot by then, Francis should look to bolster the team’s prospect pool. Here’s a look at some of the Kraken vets who could find a new home as rentals by the deadline.
After spending last season with the Minnesota Wild, Marcus Johansson was signed to a one-year contract worth $1.5 million this past offseason to provide depth scoring for the Kraken. He has done just that, potting two goals and six points in 14 games so far.
The 31-year-old veteran is in his 13th season after being drafted by the Washington Capitals in the first round of the 2009 NHL Draft. Though his scoring has dried up in recent seasons, he has been a very effective scorer in the past, peaking at 58 points with the Capitals in 2016-17. With the right role on a contender, Johansson could find that scoring touch again.
Given his mediocre totals this season, Johansson would likely fetch a mid-round pick or perhaps a B-level prospect. Still, either return would be better than watching him walk for nothing in free agency.
Selected from the Nashville Predators in the expansion draft, Calle Jarnkrok has had a difficult start with the Kraken. Through 14 games, he has only one goal and one assist. Though he has never been a big scorer, such a meager total is below his standards. Unfortunately, his struggles extend even further, as the usually defensively sound Jarnkrok has been much worse in that regard as well.
As a 30-year-old pending unrestricted free agent, Jarnkrok likely won’t fit with Seattle going forward. Finding him a new home at the deadline is the best option for both parties. The Kraken will hope he can find his game before then to up the asking price.
As of now, the return for Jarnkrok will likely be similar to that of Johansson: a middling pick or prospect. However, improved play in the next few months could make him a more valuable commodity.
By far the most talked-about pending UFA on the roster, Mark Giordano was selected from the Calgary Flames in the expansion draft. After spending eight seasons as the Flames’ captain, Giordano was named the Kraken’s first captain. Though his scoring from the blue line has not been exceptional this season, with seven points in 19 games, he is only two and a half years removed from a Norris Trophy and remains a useful contributor.
The Kraken have appreciated Girodan’s contributions this season, but as they are unlikely to make the playoffs, he will provide more value if he is traded. In the twilight of his career, the 38-year-old will probably look to join a contender this offseason, and so Seattle would do well to get something for him rather than letting him walk for nothing.
Giordano is still a highly-regarded defenseman in the league. In a deadline trade, he could fetch a first-round pick and a decent prospect. There should be a bidding war among contending teams for his services, so that return could be even higher by the time the March 21 deadline rolls around.
Although Seattle’s inaugural season has not been ideal, some value can still be gained. If Francis plays his cards right, he could make some shrewd moves to turn the Kraken into a playoff team in the near future.
Jake is a reliable source for the Seattle Kraken here at The Hockey Writers. Hailing from New York City, he is an avid fan of all things hockey and is always involved with the sport, whether that means writing, watching, or playing. An enthusiastic advocate for sports analytics, Jake will often weave them into his posts to support his ideas. More of his work can be found on his Substack page, and he is a contributor with @hky_tapetalk on Instagram. For any questions or inquiries, Jake can be contacted on his Twitter, @jakezrihen.