In anticipation of the Seattle Kraken‘s inaugural season, we at The Hockey Writers are taking a deep dive into each player. This installment focuses on defenceman Carson Soucy whom the Kraken selected from the Minnesota Wild in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft.
2020-21 Team: Minnesota Wild
2020-21 Season: Soucy skated in 50 regular-season games for the Wild last season and four during the playoffs. The shutdown defenceman had a career year finishing with 17 points and a plus/minus of plus-22.
Type of Acquisition: Expansion draft.
Soucy Shuts it Down
Soucy is the definition of a shutdown defenceman. At 6-foot-5 and 212 pounds, he is not afraid to throw big hits or drop the mitts. He had 62 hits last season, along with a team-high 51 penalty minutes. Although he is not the fastest player in the league, he does not get caught much and has been able to jump up in the rush from time to time.
Soucy also showed he could shut down some of the best players in the Pacific Division at five on five last season. Players like Phil Kessel, William Karlsson, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jeff Carter were all held off the scoresheet while he was on the ice. He was also a force on the penalty kill where the Wild only gave up five goals in his 49 minutes of ice time. His play in his own zone will make him a valuable piece to the Kraken organization next season.
Soucy’s Versatility is Key on the Back End
What makes Soucy a special player is his ability to play on both sides of the ice without a major dropoff in performance. In 2019-20, he played both sides of the ice with relative success. His main partner on the left side was Brad Hunt. In 337 minutes, the pairing had a 54.2% expected goals percentage. On the right side, he was partnered with Jonas Brodin for 263 minutes. The two had a 50.5% expected goals percentage. Each pairing also had a positive plus/minus that season.
Based on the projected roster for next season, Soucy may have to play the right side. Mark Giordano, Haydn Fleury, Vince Dunn and Jamie Oleksiak all play the left side. The right side is a little more open, with Adam Larsson the only guarantee to make the roster of those who played prominently on the right side last season. If he can create a partnership with Oleksiak next season, we could be looking at one of the top shut-down pairings in the Pacific Division.
Soucy’s Offensive Capabilities
Soucy has shown he can generate offensive chances. He has a career shots through percentage of 55.7%, with 47 of his 84 shots hitting the net last season. He is not a player who will score many goals, but his ability to get the puck on the net and make passes to open teammates. For example, last season, he was able to create 18 scoring chances. Over his career, he has also had more primary assists (13) than secondary assists (10). He projected out at a 26 point pace through 82 games last season, so we should expect 20-25 points this season. He has the tools to deliver offensively; now we have to see if he will be put in a position to succeed next season.
A Smart Selection
Based on the Wild’s protected list, Soucy was a safe and smart selection by the Kraken. The only other player considered was goaltender Kappo Kähkönen, but the Kraken’s eyes were firmly set on Chris Driedger and Vitek Vanecek, so bringing him in did not make sense. Instead, they got a defenceman who is just entering into his prime who is cost controlled for the next two seasons and fills a need on the back end. Soucy was a good selection and should have a successful year with the Kraken next season.
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.