One major issue the Seattle Kraken have is a lack of right-shot defenders. They currently have two on their roster, with Adam Larsson being the only full-time right-shot defender. The Kraken do have Will Borgen and Cale Fleury but need to find a more permanent solution to their depth problem. Although it is not uncommon for players to play their off-side on defence, the Kraken need to acquire defenders who are comfortable playing the right side instead of forcing players into that position. Here are three defensemen the Kraken should consider.
Nils Lundkvist- New York Rangers
21-year-old Nils Lundkvist is a player the Kraken should be focused on when it comes to trade negotiations. The New York Rangers are set on the right side with Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba, and Braden Schneider, so the young Swede may be available for the right price. The Rangers were rumoured to be interested in Mark Giordano at the Expansion Draft, so maybe a deal could be done where these two defencemen are flipped for each other, that is if the Rangers are serious about a cup run this season.
In 23 games this season, Lundkvist has four points and averages 13:56 of ice-time per game. This season, he has been given some power-play time and could help the Kraken’s second unit with his speed and ability to get the puck on the net. Although the price might be high, like a Giordano plus additional assets, the Kraken should do everything in their power to try and acquire the former first-rounder.
Austin Strand- Los Angeles Kings
Austin Strand was never drafted into the NHL but has developed into a strong bottom pair defenseman. The former Seattle Thunderbird put up 64 points in 69 games back in 2017-18 and was part of the team that made it to the Memorial Cup during the 2016-17 season. He also made a run to the Memorial Cup with the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League (WHL) during the 2015-16 season but failed to capture the championship during either tournament.
After his WHL career ended, he signed with the Los Angeles Kings and has bounced between the ECHL and AHL. Strand continued to develop and has now played 15 games for the Kings over the past two seasons. A youngish defenceman who will turn 25 later this season could be a cheap acquisition that could help build up that right shot depth the team needs.
Christián Jaroš- New Jersey Devils
Christián Jaroš was a fifth-round pick for the Ottawa Senators back in 2015. He is currently listed at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, and could help solidify the Kraken right side. After this season, he is a restricted free agent, which means if acquired mid-season, the Kraken could see how he fits before making a long-term investment in the Slovakian-born defenseman.
Although he has bounced between the NHL and AHL most of his career, Jaroš has shown he can play at the NHL level. He has 14 points in 86 career games and has played well in his three games this season. Although mostly known as a defensive defenseman, one part of his game that is promising is he has a shot on goal in his last four NHL games. It is time for someone in the NHL to give the 25-year-old a long look, and the Kraken could be that team.
Kraken’s Defence Needs a Shakeup
The Seattle Kraken need to find a way to improve their defence. The defensive group isn’t producing as projected and the right side has been an issue for this team all season. These three players could help improve the right side, which needs a shakeup before next season.
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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.