NHL teams are now able to start signing Canadian Hockey League (CHL) players who are in their overage year and were never drafted. Teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals and Seattle Kraken have already taken advantage of this open window bringing in some players they hope can boost their prospect pools. In total, seven deals were signed on Mar. 1, 2022, but there is plenty more talent out there fighting for a contract. Here are six players the Kraken should consider signing.
Bailey Peach- Victoria Royals
2021-22 Stats: 51 Games Played (GP), 28 Goals (G), 35 Assists (A), 63 Points (P)
Bailey Peach’s story is quite remarkable. After spending his first four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), the Nova Scotia native was placed on waivers and picked up by the Victoria Royals. Since making the 5,703 kilometre trip to the West Coast, he has been nothing short of exceptional ranking 12th in the Western Hockey League (WHL) for points and 11th in goals. The highly skilled winger even pulled off the Michigan in a game this season much to the delight of the Royals’ home crowd.
Peach does it all for Victoria. Whether it is scoring big goals, setting up teammates or providing that physical presence. Best of all, he is versatile and can play either wing or center. The Kraken should be taking a long look at him as he has proven this season all he needs is to be given an opportunity and he can succeed.
Tyson Feist – Kelowna Rockets
2021-22 Stats: 47 GP, 12 G, 15 A, 27 P
While Tyson Feist is not going to light up the scoresheet, what the Kelowna Rockets captain can provide is stability on the back end. The 6-foot-2, 181-pound right-shot defenceman is a pain to play against for opposing forwards because of his strength and ability to steal the puck. The Dawson Creek, BC native has continued to get better year after year and has become one of the premier shutdown defenders in the WHL this season.
There has been interest from NHL teams in the past as Feist was invited to the Arizona Coyotes prospect development camp this past offseason. After impressing in camp, he was invited to the rookie camp and played in the rookie faceoff tournament the Coyotes hosted in September. The Kraken would be wise to add him to their prospect pool as he is a leader that does all the little things right and deserves some recognition for his strong season.
Luke Cavallin – Flint Firebirds
2021-22 Stats: 40 GP, 25 Wins, 3.19 Goals Against Average, .909% Save Percentage
Luke Cavallin has been a rock for the Flint Firebirds of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and has helped them climb to the top of the Western Conference’s West Division this season. The Swindon, Great Britain native has the second-most saves in the OHL this season and is fifth when it comes to save percentage amongst goaltenders who have played at least 20 games. Not only an outlier based on where he was born, he is also the only right-handed goaltender to play a game this year in the OHL.
Cavallin is best known for his rebound control and ability to stay positionally sound in the net. He has good size at 6-foot-1, 196 pounds which allows him to cover a decent portion of the net making it difficult for forwards to beat him high. Although he may not be ready to start in the American Hockey League (AHL) next season, he is a player that has potential and could develop into that third option every team needs after some seasoning in the minors.
Cody Morgan – London Knights
2021-22 Stats: 45 GP, 18 G, 25 A, 43 P
Cody Morgan has taken advantage of his opportunities this season centring the London Knights’ first line alongside Luke Evangelista and Antonio Stranges. He is projected to set a new career-high in goals as well as points and has become a key piece of the team in his first season in London. A player who is known for his high-end skill and blazing speed, he is definitely on his way to earning a contract at some point this season.
A strong area of Morgan’s game that is not talked about much is his faceoffs. This season, he has won 320 of 559 faceoffs for a win percentage of 57.2 percent. Winning faceoffs is such a vital part of success in hockey that it doesn’t hurt to have prospects that understand and have mastered how to win them. Based on his skill set, this is a player who could jump right into the lineup in Palm Springs next season and has the potential to develop into a bottom-six center in the NHL someday.
Noah Laaouan – Charlottetown Islanders
2021-22 Stats: 39 GP, 5 G, 30 A, 35 P
Seattle needs to improve their right-shot defensive depth, and Noah Laaouan could be exactly who they are looking for to do just that. The 6-foot, 185-pound right-shot defender is strong in his own end while also being able to transition the puck up to the forwards with ease. Last season, he won the Kevin Lowe Trophy as the best defensive defenceman in the QMJHL and looks to be on a similar trajectory this season based on his strong play.
During the summer, Laaouan was invited to Coyotes training camp, where he had a goal in the intrasquad game. While his shot was impressive, his physical play and ability to shut down the opposition really stuck out during the tournament. Overall, this is a player who could make a difference at the AHL level as early as next season and the Kraken should be all in when it comes to signing him.
Brett Budgell – Charlottetown Islanders
2021-22 Stats: 38 GP, 21 G, 25 A, 46 P
Brett Budgell has captained the Charlottetown Islanders for the past two seasons. The 6-foot tall, 187-pound left-winger is once again over a point-per-game player and has helped the Islanders to the best record in the QMJHL. He will go down as one of the best players in franchise history as his 208 career points with the organization currently ranks third all-time.
After not being selected in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Budgell did receive an invite to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ training camp. Although he did not make the team, he played well in the Traverse City Tournament and has carried that momentum into this season. The Islanders are set for a long playoff run, and if he has a good tournament as expected, the Kraken may have some competition signing him.
Plenty Of Talent Avaliable
Just because these players were not drafted doesn’t mean they aren’t worth investing in. The Kraken need to start signing players in anticipation for next season and should consider these six prospects. Each has the potential to help this organization in the future and they should jump at the opportunity before another team does.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at https://www.area51sportsnetwork.com/ where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.