Considering the team’s place in the standings, the Seattle Kraken should be giving some of their “bubble” prospects more of a look than they’ve been receiving. Especially with the trade deadline approaching, they should be selling all they can for prospects and draft capital, and that could open the door for some of their top prospects to play in the NHL this season.
We’ll look at three prospects on that minor league/NHL bubble here in the fifth Kraken Prospect Report, as well as five prospects between junior hockey and the NCAA. None of these players will be strangers to the report, and despite the Kraken’s struggles, this should give fans a reason to be excited as we creep towards the home stretch.
Kraken’s Bubble Prospects See No NHL Ice in February
Neither Kole Lind, Alexander True, nor Joey Daccord saw NHL action in February. While Lind and True played decently, Daccord’s NHL struggles have started to creep into the American Hockey League (AHL).
This past month, Lind played eight AHL games and tallied four goals and nine points. He only played one game where he didn’t take a penalty, and tallied 30 penalty minutes (PIMs) over those eight games, including 16 in one game. He’s scored 16 goals, and now leads the team with 33 points and 98 PIMs in 43 games. He was called up for a game in March and tallied an assist, but has since been re-assigned to the Charlotte Checkers in the AHL.
True scored three goals and eight points, including a power-play goal and a game-winning goal, in 12 February games. He’s scored 11 goals and 30 points along with 32 PIMs in 40 games this season.
Daccord struggled mightily during February. He played in seven games and won just one, in one game he played 33:21, and another just 11:13. He allowed 21 goals and held a 4.96 goals-against average (GAA) and .834 save percentage (SV%). Overall, he has a 2.62 GAA and .913 SV% in 21 games for the Checkers.
Kraken Prospects Still Succeeding in Juniors and NCAA
Matty Beniers played just two games in February and scored a lone goal due to his time with Team USA for the Olympics, where the team lost to Slovakia in the quarterfinals. He scored a goal and an assist in four Olympic games. Back at the University of Michigan, he leads the Wolverines with 18 goals and 38 points in 31 games. Kraken fans should be excited for him to make the jump to pro hockey following the NCAA season.
Jacob Melanson only played in three games for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s (QMJHL) Acadie-Bathurst Titan this past month, but still produced. He scored three goals and five points and even dropped the mitts. The 18-year-old’s 19 goals and 29 points place him third and fourth on the team respectively in 33 games. He’s tied for the team lead in penalty minutes with 51. The Kraken need goalscoring and he may become that guy one day.
The Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Hamilton Bulldogs are surging, and Ryan Winterton is a big reason why. In 12 February games, he scored nine goals and 15 points, which included three two-goal games, and three three-point games. That brings his season totals to 13 goals and 28 points in 19 games.
Winterton may have missed a majority of the season thus far, but you wouldn’t know it based on his play. His confidence is back and he’s looking to not only help the Bulldogs to a Memorial Cup but catch the eye of the Kraken brass as well.
Ryker Evans is still one of the top defensemen in the Western Hockey League (WHL). He’s fourth in scoring among defensemen with 52 points in 50 games. His 39 assists lead the Regina Pats, and his 79 PIMs also lead the team. The Kraken need offense from the blue line, and Evans could make a real push to crack the roster out of camp next season.
Semyon Vyazovoy struggled a bit this past month, but that isn’t really much cause for concern as his numbers are still very strong. He went 3-2-1 and is now 25-9-2 with a 2.00 GAA and .928 SV% this season with five shutouts.
Things could get interesting for the Kraken’s prospects following the trade deadline this month. Some could get the call and see an increased role, while some of their younger prospects look to make playoff pushes and continue their strong play for their junior teams. Stick with The Hockey Writers for Kraken coverage and more as we move through the month of March.
Sean Raggio lives for hockey. He will be covering the Seattle Kraken, and is a co-host of “What’s Kraken” for THW. Sean gained experience in writing for television, print and radio while studying journalism at Quinnipiac University and being an active member in the student media organizations there. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out on Twitter! A link can be found at the bottom of his articles, such as this one.