The postseason is winding down for most of the Seattle Kraken’s prospect pool. Their shared American Hockey League (AHL) team, the Charlotte Checkers, have been eliminated from the Calder Cup Playoffs. Of their three prospects playing in juniors, only one has hockey yet to play, while one finished up playoffs in Finland. This edition won’t be a season wrap-up but will wrap up those who’ve already finished playing and look at whose teams are still alive.
As of now, Matty Beniers is the lone prospect expected to make the team heading into next season. However, some strong postseason performances, coupled with a productive offseason, could make things very interesting for some of these prospects going into training camp. Let’s get started.
Charlotte Checkers Eliminated From Calder Cup Playoffs
Following a Round 1 bye and a 3-1 series win over the Bridgeport Islanders in Round 2, the Checkers were swept in three games by the Springfield Thunderbirds in Round 3. It was a rough series for the Checkers, scoring four goals while allowing 15 in just three games.
Up front, Alex True followed up his strong regular season with a point-per-game performance in the postseason. He scored three goals and seven points, along with 14 penalty minutes (PIMs) in seven games. He also maintained an even plus/minus rating.
Moving out to the blue line, Cale Fleury led the team in…penalty minutes, as he spent 24 minutes in the sin bin. Offensively, he was a plus-1 and dished out three assists as his only points. It was a drop from his regular season defense-leading 33 points. Additionally, despite the movement to three different cities this season, Dennis Cholowski settled into his position with the Checkers and tallied 15 assists and 18 points in 31 games during the regular season, but managed just one assist in six playoff games.
Now we drive to the crease. Joey Daccord found consistency with the Checkers and had a solid regular season; his best as a professional. However, he struggled in the playoffs. While he earned his first AHL shutout since the 2019-20 regular season in Round 2, he finished the postseason with a 3-4 record and held a 3.15 goals-against average (GAA) and .879 save percentage (SV%) in seven games. For comparison, he went 19-11-2 in 34 regular season games with a 2.28 GAA and .925 SV%.
Daccord’s future gets more and more interesting with every passing day. As things stand, he’s the No. 3 goaltender in the organization and top goaltending prospect; especially considering Phillip Grubauer’s no-trade clause and Chris Driedger’s modified no-trade clause – though Driedger’s ACL injury could see him sidelined for seven to nine months.
The Kraken need to add goaltending depth regardless of Driedger’s injury. However, if Daccord can earn a spot as the backup next season, having that consistency could translate into success. For now, we will have to wait and see, but this offseason could be the most important one yet for his NHL career.
Kraken Prospects Who’ve Seen Postseason Ice in Junior or Abroad
We’ll kick things off with Ryan Winterton whose Hamilton Bulldogs are still alive, albeit down 2-1 in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Final. He carried his strong play during the regular season into the playoffs and has six goals and 17 points in 15 games. He’s fourth on the Bulldogs in scoring.
One of the more recent additions to the Kraken Prospect Report, Tye Kartye, and the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds saw 10 playoff games before being bounced by the Flint Firebirds in five games. The 21-year-old tallied seven goals and nine points over the 10 games; his seven goals led the team.
Jumping over to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), Jacob Melanson and the Acadie-Bathurst Titan played just eight playoff games. He scored four goals and six points with 10 PIMs en route to being swept by the Charlottetown Islanders. His four goals were tied for the team-lead.
We finish things up with the most recent addition, Finnish defenseman Peetro Seppälä. He scored eight points, all assists, in 15 playoff games for KooKoo Kouvola in the Finnish Elite League (SM-liiga).
Kraken fans should keep an eye on Winterton and the Bulldogs down the stretch here. He’ll look to carry this momentum to not only win hardware for his team this season but also when he dives into Kraken training camp next season. For more Kraken coverage, NHL Entry Draft coverage and more, stick with The Hockey Writers.