The Seattle Kraken walked away from the 2022 NHL Entry Draft big winners. While the impact of getting Shane Wright fourth overall can not be understated, they were also able to nab potentially the steal of the draft in Jagger Firkus at 35th overall. The Moose Jaw Warriors forward brings a set of skills that were otherwise lacking in the Kraken organization and could make the jump to the NHL as early as the 2023-24 season.
What the Kraken Are Getting in Firkus
Firkus has one of the best shots in the entire 2022 draft class. His game revolves around the ability to beat goaltenders from anywhere in the offensive zone. This is important to note as most players have a specific area on the ice they excel in while having areas where they struggle.
To better explain this, here is a breakdown of where Firkus was on the ice when he scored his 36 goals this season. (From ‘2022 Draft Guide – Jagger Firkus’, Elite Prospects)
|Below Faceoff Dot||Above Faceoff Dot|
|Jagger Firkus (66 Games)||20||16|
While most forwards struggle to score from above the faceoff dot (between the faceoff dot and the blue line), Firkus is the opposite, having scored 44 percent of his goals from this location. He was also not restricted to the center of the ice as he was able to score multiple times from the side boards. Whether he is in front of the net, on the right or left flank or even close to the blue line, he finds a way to put the puck in the net. His shooting versatility is a gift that will get better with time, and something Kraken fans and management should be excited about when it comes to this prospect in the future.
Firkus’ playmaking and creativity were also on full display this season. From his “Michigan Goal,” which won WHL Play of the Year, to how he can slow down the game in order to find trailing teammates for scoring chances, he thrives with the puck on his stick. The way he sees the game is why defenders have such a difficult time defending him as he can beat them with a quick no-look pass or pull off a deke that allows him to cut to the middle and drive the net. Lastly, he isn’t afraid to take chances. If he sees an opening, whether it be via passing or shooting, he is going to take it. Overall, he is a confident player who understands how to maximize his skill set.
Firkus’ Areas for Further Development
There are a couple of areas that Firkus will need to focus on to help him make the jump to the NHL. The first is skating. While he is a quick skater, meaning he can change direction well, he needs to work on his straight-line speed. This will help him get back in the play quicker while also increasing his top speed, which he will need at the pro level. His overall speed is fine, but he won’t be able to blow by defenders at the NHL level as he has in the Western Hockey League (WHL) unless he fully develops his skating strength and power.
The other area is his size. Currently, he is listed at 5-foot-10, 154 pounds. While his height is not a major issue as shorter players have had success at the NHL level, it’s his weight and strength that need to be worked on. Let’s look at fellow Moose Jaw alumni Brayden Point. He is the same height at 5-foot-10 but weighs almost 30 more pounds which has helped him become one of the premier centers in the NHL. If he can add some strength in the summer and develop his game to include utilizing his new size, he could be in the running for WHL MVP this season.
Kraken Steal Firkus in Second Round
The Kraken are lucky Firkus fell to them as they do not have any players or prospects that replicate his style of play. While they do have offensively minded players like Jordan Eberle, Jared McCann and Jaden Schwartz, they aren’t forwards that generally create plays off the rush.
Firkus adds that dynamic factor, as he does some of his best work in the transition game. As mentioned, he could be the steal of the draft if he can bring the same level of creativity he has shown at the WHL level to Seattle. Fans should be excited as they will have front-row seats to what many are calling the “Firkus Circus” for many years to come.
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.