The Seattle Kraken head into the offseason with 17 restricted and unrestricted free agents on their roster. While not all will be back with the team, there are a few who general manager Ron Francis should ensure are re-signed for the 2022-23 season. Here are three players the Kraken should offer contracts to this offseason.
This season has been a difficult one for Morgan Geekie. He has registered career highs in goals, assists and points but hasn’t been given the opportunity he clearly deserves in the top-six. The former Tri-City American has the potential to be a consistent offensive threat in the NHL, and it would be a mistake for the Kraken to give up on him after just one season.
Another reason the Kraken should ensure Geekie is back next season is his ability to win faceoffs. Outside of Victor Rask, who has only taken six faceoffs with the Kraken this season, he has the best faceoff win percentage on the team. At 52.6 percent, he is the only regular faceoff taker with an above 50 win-rate percentage. The most impressive part of his faceoff game is his ability to win the draw in the defensive zone, where he has a 56.1 percent win rate in 171 faceoff attempts.
While the Kraken may be able to get back a good return for the 23-year-old, the value he adds to the team will most likely be greater than whatever is brought back to Seattle. They do not need to sign him to a long-term deal, as somewhere in the two to three-year range will be the best option for both the team and the player. Hopefully, these negotiations will be simple, and he will be signed before the offseason even starts.
Ryan Donato has done everything the Kraken have asked and more this season. He is sixth on the team with 27 points in 63 games despite averaging less than 14 minutes per game. Whether it is at even strength or on the power play, he has been one of the best players on the Kraken and is very deserving of an extension.
Donato should be getting a raise from the $750,000 contract he signed this past offseason. He does have arbitration rights at the end of the season and should could come in close to $1.5 million in average annual value (AAV) based on his usage by the Kraken this season. Although this may be a bit higher than the Kraken want to pay a player projected to be in the bottom-six next season, based on his work ethic and play this past season.
Since being recalled after the trade deadline, Kole Lind has shown he is ready to become a full-time NHLer. The former Vancouver Canuck prospect has four points in 11 games while contributing 19 shots on goal. He has also developed some chemistry with players like Alex Wennberg, Yanni Gourde and Marcus Johansson, who are all projected to be back with the team next season.
The big question surrounding Lind is whether the Kraken will give him a chance to be a full-time NHLer next season, or go out and try to fill the holes in their lineup with free agents. He has reached the point in his development where he needs to be playing in the NHL, as he most likely has hit his ceiling in the American Hockey League. This is a player that can be a very effective bottom-six forward for the Kraken next season and would be a low-risk, high reward signing.
Busy Offseason for the Kraken Expected
This offseason will be very busy as not only do the Kraken pick five times in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft but also will need to make some key roster decisions to try and avoid another disappointing season. There will also be discussions on if coach Dave Hakstol will be back and, if not, who will replace him. Seattle can get an early jump by re-signing these three players, as they each deserve a contract extension based on their strong play this year.
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.