Seattle Kraken general manager Ron Francis was officially approved by the NHL last week to start attending GM meetings and to start signing players. Francis wasted no time, as on May 12, he locked in the first-ever signing in Kraken franchise history with Dartmouth, Nova Scotia native Luke Henman.
Henman was drafted 21st overall to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the 2016 QMJHL draft and ironically chose not to report to his Nova Scotia-based club at that time. Instead, he found himself back with his Dartmouth Major Midget club as a 16-year-old. From there, he was traded by Cape Breton to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada after he chose not to report to camp in his first year. Since then, Henman played his last two seasons in the QMJHL as the captain of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and past five seasons playing there.
Francis knew exactly what he was looking for in his first-ever rookie signing. The 21-year-old Henman is a 6-foot, 168-pound center who has been a notorious point-getter throughout his hockey career in major junior. This past season in the shortened QMJHL season, the captain led his team with 43 points in 32 games. In prior seasons, he posted 74 points in 63 games, and 46 points in 63 games. Henman, also most noticeably this past season, became the franchise’s all-time leading scorer. He is going to bring a lot of high-paced play to the city of Seattle in the next few years, but what he’s also going to bring is the ability to make crafty plays with his high hockey IQ. Whether it’s undressing defenseman and looking back door for easy tap-ins for his teammates or anchoring the powerplay to find easy one-timer plays, he is a weapon offensively in all parts of the game.
What The Kraken Are Getting In Henman
The Kraken are going to be getting a young, decent-sized center to help build their organization from the ground up. Henman signed a standard rookie deal which has him on a two-way, three-year entry-level contract. With that being said, Francis realizes the 168-pounder is on the lighter side and is going to have to put on some weight, but for a 21-year-old who hasn’t even entered the league, that is pretty standard.
The five-year QMJHL veteran is going to bring leadership to an organization that does not consist of any other players just yet. Fans should view this signing as a developmental process and someone who won’t be able to play in their inaugural year as a core player in the lineup but someone who will definitely be a major piece of the future.
Another reassuring piece to the Kraken’s NHL expansion process that many fans may not be aware of is that their scouting staff has been working diligently all season, following all of the Major Junior leagues as well as college hockey. The Kraken organization would have felt that they found a player that they had handpicked and every NHL team could have had their chance at. Luckily for their process, they found a player who truly wants to be there from the start of the club’s existence and is willing to start in their farm system.
The Kraken are going to be in a tough spot in their inaugural year, but one thing that is a good sign for them is that free agents are hopping at the chance to be a part of the Seattle organization. This is a major win for Seattle, and the city should welcome Henman with open arms. Overall, it’s a great first signing by Francis as he’s getting a true two-way forward who can put the puck in the net and eventually grow to be a part of the leadership group in Seattle for years to come.
Carson MacRae is a member of The Hockey Writers, covering the Seattle Kraken expansion team. MacRae played just about every level of hockey including signing a minor pro deal. Unfortunately, he was not able to have a long professional career as he suffered an injury to his knee. Luckily, MacRae found a new love in writing about sports and used his education at the University of Guelph to further advance his skills. MacRae currently also writes for Ohio State’s football program apart of Rivals Sports and BuckeyeGrove.com providing insight to the programs current and future recruiting.