The postseason is kicking into full swing across the hockey world, and the Seattle Kraken have several prospects looking to lead their teams to some hardware. Kraken fans will have a lot to keep an eye on heading into, hopefully, the nice part of spring.
They say that “April showers bring May flowers,” and while the jury is still out on that, we know that with May comes another Kraken Prospect Report. This one will be geared toward players who are playing playoff hockey this season. It’s the start of the best time of year, so let’s get going.
Charlotte Checkers Gear Up for Calder Cup Run
In their lone season being partially affiliated with the Kraken, the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Charlotte Checkers earned a bye and sit as the No. 1 seed in the Atlantic Division Semifinals. They will take on the Bridgeport Islanders in the second round, and look to defend their 2018-19 title. That season was the last time the Calder Cup was awarded.
Joey Daccord Looks To Lead the Way
Joey Daccord struggled in his five NHL appearances this season, but his play in the AHL was superb. He played in 34 games for the Checkers, more than double the next closest goaltender, and won 19. His 2.28 goals-against average (GAA) and .925 save percentage (SV%) also led the team. However, he never recorded a shutout.
His save percentage was second in the AHL, and a Checkers franchise record. He’ll look to lead his team on a strong playoff run, and the Kraken brass should be paying close attention. He’s slated to be the starting goaltender for the Coachella Valley Firebirds in their inaugural season since Philipp Grubauer and Chris Driedger are presumably the duo to start for the Kraken in 2022-23.
Related: Kraken Should Pursue Charlie Lindgren in Free Agency
Despite his strong play, the Kraken still need to look at adding more goaltending depth. Between that and his entering a contract year next season, Daccord will want to finish this year strong to propel him into training camp.
Ryker Evans Turns Pro
Despite the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Regina Pats not qualifying for the postseason, Ryker Evans will see playoff hockey this season. He has now signed his entry-level contract (ELC) with the Kraken and is expected to make the jump to the AHL to join the Checkers for their Calder Cup run.
Evans finished this season with 14 goals and 61 points in 63 games and completed his WHL career with 25 goals and 131 points in 195 games. He’s shown statistical improvement every year since his first year with the Pats as a 16-year-old.
Checkers Get Cale Fleury, Dennis Cholowski Back From Kraken
Cale Fleury had a cup of coffee with the Kraken, going pointless in nine games with a minus-3 rating, and will be playing with the Checkers for their playoff run. It’s for the best, as the 23-year-old was the team’s leading defensive scorer with seven goals and 33 points in 58 games and a plus-13 rating.
Similar to his older brother Haydn, he’s a restricted free agent (RFA) this offseason. Not only is he playing for the Calder Cup, but he’s playing for a new contract as well. Being that he’s restricted, it would be surprising if the Kraken did not extend him. Whether or not he’s going to be a factor on the Kraken blue line next season, it could be good for his development to be a go-to defenseman on the Firebirds blue line.
Dennis Cholowski has racked up some Air Miles this season. To start, the Kraken claimed him from the Detroit Red Wings in the expansion draft, then on Oct. 14, he was claimed off waivers by the Washington Capitals. He played seven games for the Capitals, tallying an assist, before the Kraken claimed him back on Feb. 9. He played four games for the Kraken and dished out two assists. He has played as low as 9:57 time on ice (TOI) with the Capitals (coincidentally against the Kraken) and as high as 23:15 in the Kraken’s May 1 season finale, averaging 15:49 on the year.
Cholowski saw some consistency in the AHL, solely playing with the Checkers. He played 31 games and scored three goals and 18 points with a plus-8 rating. He was sent down following the season finale loss to the Winnipeg Jets and will join the Checkers for their postseason run.
Alexander True Led Checkers in Regular Season Scoring
Alexander True finished his NHL season having not played a game since Jan. 17. He finished the season with no points, two penalty minutes (PIMs) and a minus-2 rating. He had 22 hits and won 80 percent of his faceoffs, though he took less than 30, in 8:15 average time on ice (ATOI).
He led the Checkers in scoring this season with 42 points in 60 games. While it wasn’t his most prolific offensive AHL season, it’s something he should look to build on during the postseason and into training camp next season. Like the Fleury brothers, he’s an RFA this offseason.
Kraken Have Several Players to Watch Across CHL Playoffs
Kraken faithful will have three prospects to keep an eye on between the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).
Kraken Will Be Watching Tye Kartye and Ryan Winterton in OHL Playoffs
One of the Kraken’s more recent signings, Tye Kartye finished the season with 45 goals and 79 points in 63 games for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. That’s a wonderful sign for the Kraken, who desperately need and are actively looking for goal scoring. So far through five playoff games, he’s scored five goals and seven points. Kraken fans and brass alike should keep an eye on this recently-turned 21-year-old as the OHL Playoffs continue.
Moving from Sault Ste. Marie over to Hamilton, Ryan Winterton is continuing the productive play of his shortened season into a strong start in the postseason. He finished the regular season with 20 goals and 46 points for the Hamilton Bulldogs and was a plus-35. Through four playoff games, he’s tallied five assists and six points. He’s seen improvement in all major offensive categories while having played fewer games than last season. He’s also only 18 years old.
Jacob Melanson Hoping To Continue Goalscoring Ways in QMJHL Playoffs
Jacob Melanson finished his second year with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan and now enters the postseason against the Halifax Mooseheads. While he hasn’t scored in the lone game in the series, he comes into it as a 35-goal scorer. He added 21 assists for 56 points in 54 games and led the Titan with 85 PIMs. It was a career year for the 19-year-old. Similar to Kartye, Kraken brass should be eager to see how his goalscoring translates to the postseason.
Related: Kraken’s Beniers Showed Why He Is Future Face of Franchise
There is a ton of hockey to watch. Whether it’s the Stanley Cup Playoffs or following prospects on their runs for the AHL’s Calder Cup or respective CHL titles. For Kraken fans, they should keep a close eye on these prospects as they look to not only hoist some hardware but make a good impression on management ahead of next year’s training camp.