The Seattle Kraken select from the San Jose Sharks center Alexander True.
True’s NHL Journey
Cousin of Winnipeg Jets’ winger and 2014 first-round pick, Nikolaj Ehlers, True’s path to the NHL was a long journey. After dominating Denmark’s second division of professional hockey in 2013-14 at 16 years old, he made the move to the Western Hockey League (WHL).
As a Seattle Thunderbird, True found less success. The Danish center played three underwhelming seasons in the WHL, where he hit a career high in his final season of 25 goals and 40 points in 66 games. That same 2016-17 season, he also notched 20 points in 22 games in the playoffs, en route to the San Jose Sharks offering him an American Hockey League (AHL) opportunity the next season.
The undrafted center spent the whole season with the San Jose Barracuda, notching 15 goals and 28 points in 68 games. True was then offered a three-year, entry-level deal. This appeared as a smart move, as the 6-foot-5 forward totaled 24 goals and 55 points in 68 games as a 21-year-old in 2018-19.
His next two seasons saw a small drop in AHL production, but also NHL appearances, concluding in 2020-21, where he notched nine goals and 20 points in 27 AHL games, but just an assist in seven NHL games. Most recently, he represented Denmark at the World Hockey Championship.
Entering the 2021-22 season, I foresaw a possible training camp competition between True and Dylan Gambrell for the fourth center. Gambrell and his recent $1.1 million extension would obviously have the upper hand, but I saw True’s larger body as a flavor of forward the Sharks lacked.
True is currently a restricted free agent (RFA), so Seattle’s selection of the center will have little impact on the Sharks’ lacking salary cap space. Doug Wilson has made it clear the Sharks will pursue a better third-line center in free agency, so True’s selection has an overall minimal impact.
At worst, the Seattle Kraken have selected their AHL top-line center, which is not exactly a high-upside selection, but a needed spot to fill. True always impressed me at the AHL level, and could find himself as an NHL bottom-six forward in Seattle, eventually.
Ron Francis noticeably avoided taking players from the Sharks that would likely warrant more money, such as Gambrell, Ryan Donato, and Radim Simek. Seattle will have to negotiate an extension with True, but that should be easy as he is an RFA.
Josh Frojelin is a young writer from the Bay Area. Josh grew up as a Sharks fan, being introduced to hockey by his father. He is now attached to his phone, waiting to hear the latest in hockey news. In addition to writing, Josh loves theatre, and his corgi Rocky.