The Seattle Kraken enter the 2022 NHL Entry Draft with seven picks from rounds three to seven. There are plenty of prospects to choose from, with some potential steals waiting in the later rounds. Based on mock drafts and projections, here are two prospects that may be available for the Kraken at each of their picks from rounds three through seven.
Pick 68 (Third Round)
Otto Salin- Defence
NHL Central Scouting: 23rd (among EU Skaters)
The Kraken need more right-shot defencemen, and Otto Salin fills that need quite well. At 5-foot-11, 205 pounds, he is a smart player that isn’t afraid to jump into the rush and can play a physical game when needed. A prospect who has all the tools to be a second-round pick, though he may drop to the Kraken at 68 as he was injured for a large chunk of the season.
Related: 2022 NHL Draft Guide
When he did return from injury, it was clear he was not playing at 100%, which could deter teams away from him. He has the potential to be a solid bottom-pair defenceman in the NHL, which is why the Kraken should consider him at 68.
Mats Lindgren- Defence
NHL Central Scouting: 47th (among NA Skaters)
Mats Lindgren is a dynamic, offensively driven left-shot defenceman who has spent the last few seasons in the Western Hockey League (WHL). His biggest strength is his transition game, where he excels at getting the puck out of his own zone and into the offensive zone by carrying it in or through smart outlet passes.
Lindgren is a project piece as his defensive game does need some work, but has shown enough offensive flair to create some buzz around him in the scouting world. With the right development program, he could be a smart investment for a Kraken team that had trouble moving the puck in the transition game during their inaugural season.
Pick 100 (Fourth Round)
Topi Rönni- Center
NHL Central Scouting: 31st (among EU Skaters)
Topi Rönni is exactly the type of prospect that could develop into a full-time bottom-six forward. The best part of his game is by far his defensive work, as he understands where he needs to be positionally, not just at even strength but also on the penalty kill.
While he has shown an ability to rack up points, recording 29 in 30 games at the U20 SM-sarja in Finland this past season, this is an area that he needs to improve on going forward. He’s got good size at 6-foot-2, 181 pounds and possesses a lot of positive traits that should help his development and transition to the North American game.
Gustav Karlsson- Center
NHL Central Scouting: 59th (among EU Skaters)
Gustav Karlsson is a goal scorer, plain and simple. The Swedish prospect finished the season with 31 goals in 41 games at the J20 level in Sweden, adding an additional four in five games during the playoffs. An older prospect who will turn 19 before the year is done, he took a massive step in his development last season, improving his shooting and overall skating ability.
Karlsson is an intriguing prospect but needs to work on his playmaking ability to become a strong, all-around offensive threat. The intangibles are there; now, it is a matter of putting everything together and making it work.
Pick 117 (Fourth Round)
Jack Devine- Right Wing
NHL Central Scouting: 65th (among NA Skaters)
Jack Devine really impressed at the University of Denver this season, as he helped them capture the NCAA Championship this year with 19 points in 36 games. While his defensive game is strong, what sticks out most about his game is the energy he brings to every shift.
This is a prospect who isn’t afraid to drive the net and is strong on the forecheck. He will be relied upon to drive the offence at the University of Denver due to key players like Bobby Brink leaving the program. Although there are some holes in his overall game, like his hesitancy to shoot the puck, he would be a good addition to the Kraken’s prospect pool.
Brayden Schuurman- Center
NHL Central Scouting: 76th (among NA Skaters)
Brayden Schuurman’s game is centred around his strong offensive skill, as he possesses a strong shot and is a real threat on the power play. This past season, he took a massive step forward, scoring 29 goals in 68 games after putting up just five in 22 the year prior.
Schuurman also impressed at the U18s, scoring twice in four games while recording a shot in every game. This is a prospect who knows his best asset is his shot, and he is not afraid to use it. He does need to work on his defensive game, but did show improvements as the season progressed. Overall, his offensive potential is high enough that the Kraken should be interested in him at this point in the draft.
Pick 123 (Fourth Round)
Jake Karabela- Center
NHL Central Scouting: 62nd (among NA Skaters)
After missing an entire year due to the COVID-19 shutdown, Jake Karabela made up for lost time with a strong rookie season in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). The Guelph Storm center recorded 45 points in 68 games and was the best player on the ice most nights. A deceptive player, he showed an ability to beat defenders one on one while also hitting teammates with tape-to-tape passes. He is a high-skill player that stands out for all the right reasons.
The question surrounding Karabela breaks down to, will he play center or is he better suited for the wing? He plays well in the center position when in the defensive zone but doesn’t drive the middle lane in the transition game, which is what centers need to do. The good news is, that there is some versatility to his game which makes him a valuable piece to add to Seattle’s prospect pool.
Alex Bump- Left Wing
NHL Central Scouting: 63rd (among NA Skaters)
To say Alex Bump had an impressive season would be an understatement. In the United States High School-Minnesota (USHS-MN) league, he scored 48 goals and recorded 31 points as captain of Prior Lake High. He also showed off his strong play at the United States Hockey League (USHL) level with 17 points in 27 games with the Omaha Lancers.
Despite the staggering offensive numbers, it’s actually his defensive game that sticks out. He still has a ways to go development-wise but would be a strong addition to Seattle’s prospect pool if someone else doesn’t snag him first.
Pick 132 (Fifth Round)
Tyler Muszelik- Goaltender
NHL Central Scouting: 4th (among NA Goaltenders)
The fifth round presents a great opportunity for the Kraken to bolster their goaltending depth in the form of Tyler Muszelik. A patient netminder who doesn’t drop down to the ice too early, he proved to be one of the best goaltenders in the United States National Development Program (USDP) and for the Americans at the World U18 tournament.
Muszelik’s biggest strength outside of his patience is playing low to the ice. He is rarely beaten when a shot hits his lower body and is athletic enough to make saves moving laterally across his crease. Overall, he does have some areas he needs to improve, like his rebound control and high glove/high blocker, but his strengths should help him make the jump to the pro level after his NCAA career is complete.
Mason Beaupit- Goaltender
NHL Central Scouting: 7th (among NA Goaltenders)
Another option for the Kraken in goal is to select 6-foot-5 Mason Beaupit out of the WHL. The Spokane Chiefs’ goaltender had a great 2021-22 season, showing he can handle a large workload by stopping 30 or more shots in 21 of his 49 games.
Despite his size, Beaupit is one of the most athletic goaltenders in the draft. He showed great speed and movement in his crease this season, making highlight-reel saves throughout the campaign. The big question is, can he become more consistent? Whether it was missing games due to the pandemic or a major increase in workload, there are some questions if he can keep up his level of play while playing over 45 games a season. Despite that, he has shown he could potentially be a late-round steal, as he possesses traits that should excite future goaltending coaches in the NHL or otherwise.
Pick 164 (Sixth Round)
Brennan Ali- Center
NHL Central Scouting: 83rd (among NA Skaters)
Few players work harder shift to shift in this draft class than Brennan Ali. He creates chances thanks to his work rate and never seems to give up on the play. At 6-foot-1, 201 pounds, he isn’t afraid to play a physical game and is a nightmare to deal with in front of the net.
There is a lot of potential for him to become an NHL player, but he needs to develop his all-around game with a focus on his defensive play. Just based on his determination alone, don’t bet against this prospect having an impact at the pro level in a few years.
Ben Hemmerling- Right Wing
NHL Central Scouting: 86th (among NA Skaters)
Ben Hemmerling of the Everett Silvertips is a prospect that has a lot of potential but needs to fine-tune his game. It is clear he loves to carry the puck into the zone, as he often tries to beat defenders to the outside but does not like driving the puck to the net. He is also a good playmaker but also shows some inconsistency as he often throws the puck into the middle of the ice, hoping a teammate will pick it up. The offensive tools are there; he just needs to develop them further.
Why Hemmerling should draw the Kraken’s eye is his strong defensive ability. He isn’t afraid to engage on the walls and comes from a strong defensive system where he has learned where to be positionally, as well as when to be aggressive. There is a benefit to having a prospect playing less than an hour away from Seattle, as the team can check in on him consistently throughout the season. Something that would benefit the player and the organization if selected by the Kraken.
Pick 196 (Seventh Round)
Marek Hejduk- Right Wing
NHL Central Scouting: 159th (among NA Skaters)
The son of former Stanley Cup Champion Milan Hejduk, Marek Hejduk has the tools to become a long-time pro in the game of hockey. He has great speed and understands how to properly kill penalties, which are two assets teams should be looking for out of later-round picks. As for his work ethic, that is one thing no one can question, as he is often the hardest working player when on the ice.
Although Hejduk possesses strong puckhandling skills, he needs to work on driving the play. His production is very much dependent on his linemates, which is a tool he needs to develop as he progresses to the NCAA in the next few years. He is a prospect that has a great combination of skills; he just needs to put everything together if he wants to take his game to the next level.
Niks Fenenko- Defence
NHL Central Scouting: 124th (among NA Skaters)
Niks Fenenko is the perfect example of a prospect that people have written off. There was a lot of hype when the Baie-Comeau Drakkar selected him first overall in the 2021 Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Import Draft, but unfortunately, he could not deliver on what people expected. He still had a great season finishing as part of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) All-Rookie Team, but there were some cracks in his game that seems to have soured some when projecting where and if he will be drafted.
Where Fenenko thrives is in the defensive zone. He is developing into a stay-at-home defenceman who can get the puck out of the zone and bring a physical presence to any game. That is the exact type of prospect the Kraken should be focused on. Someone who knows his job, plays his game at a high level and provides the organization with the depth on the blue line it desperately needs. If available, Seattle should jump at the opportunity to draft him.
As detailed, there are plenty of good options for the Seattle Kraken in the third round or later. This draft is crucial as they need to expand their prospect pipeline significantly this offseason. In total, they should be walking away from the 2022 NHL Draft with at least one goaltender, three defensemen and four forwards. If they play their cards right, they could be getting some late-round steals that will play a significant role in this franchise for the foreseeable future.
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 area51sportsnet.com where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.