Things are a bit different in this edition of the Kraken Prospect Report. One Seattle Kraken prospect sees respectable NHL ice time, while another dominates in the American Hockey League (AHL). There’s also a new face to add to the mix. We have lots to get to, so let’s dive in.
Kraken Prospects on the NHL/AHL Bubble
Kole Lind Sticks in Seattle
Believe it or not, Kole Lind spent most of March in the NHL. Not only that, but he saw better ice time than he did in his first five games for the Kraken. In his first five games, one being in early March, he scored two assists in 8:48 average time on ice (ATOI). In his current stint which started March 12, he has a goal and three points with 11:49 ATOI in eight games. It’s a nice change from head coach Dave Hakstol burying him on the fourth line.
He scored a goal and an assist in his four AHL games for the Charlotte Checkers, but it looks like he’ll finish the season with the Kraken, barring outside circumstances. It’s evident that injury and losing roster players to trade are factors in this, but his best-case scenario is playing himself to a permanent role by the end of the season.
Alexander True and Joey Daccord Lead the Way for Checkers
Alexander True hasn’t seen NHL ice since Jan. 17 when he tallied three hits and a faceoff loss in just seven shifts and a career-low 4:47 time on ice (TOI). However, his decent play for the Checkers has continued. He leads the team in scoring with 38 points in 52 games. He scored two goals and eight points in 12 games in March.
Now, how about Joey Daccord? He hasn’t seen NHL action since allowing five goals in a Jan. 21 shutout loss to the St. Louis Blues. However, he has found his form with the Checkers and was named March’s AHL Goaltender of the Month. He went 6-1 in seven games and held a 1.55 goals-against average (GAA) and .956 save percentage (SV%).
Eight different goaltenders have suited up for the Checkers, and Daccord has seen the most ice, playing in 30 games. The closest behind him is the Florida Panthers’ Spencer Knight with 11 games played and he has posted worse numbers. Daccord now has 16 wins with a 2.36 GAA and .924 SV%. Despite Philipp Grubauer and Chris Driedger being signed long-term, he may force general manager Ron Francis’ hand ahead of next season should this strong play persist.
Kraken Prospects Playing NCAA and Junior Hockey
Tye Kartye and Ryan Winterton Continue Strong Play in Ontario Hockey League
This is Tye Kartye’s first appearance in the Kraken Prospect Report as he was just signed on March 1. The 20-year-old from Kingston, ONT has scored 40 goals and 70 points in 58 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) games for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. In 11 March games, he scored four goals and seven points.
Ryan Winterton has continued to score at a great pace since making his debut with the Hamilton Bulldogs. He’s scored 17 goals and 41 points in 33 games and is a plus-30 in 33 games on the year. He played 13 games in March and scored four goals and 11 points. The Bulldogs look poised for a strong playoff run, and it’ll be his first taste of junior hockey playoffs. It’ll be a good test for the 18-year-old pivot.
Matty Beniers Leads Michigan Wolverines to the Frozen Four
Matty Beniers is gearing up to head to TD Garden in Boston for the NCAA’s Frozen Four. He played six games in March and scored three goals and six points. He is second on the University of Michigan Wolverines with 20 goals and leads the team with 43 points in 36 games. The Frozen Four semifinals are on April 7, and the finals are on April 9.
Beniers will likely make the jump to professional hockey and join the Kraken following the tournament’s end. It’ll be interesting to see how Hakstol utilizes him, but it’ll be good for Kraken fans to get a glimpse of what the future has in store.
Ryker Evans Continues To Lead Regina Pats Defense
Ryker Evans is still performing strongly for the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Regina Pats, and his 14 goals lead the team’s defensemen. He leads the team with a plus-6 in the plus/minus column, while his 45 assists and 96 penalty minutes (PIMs) also lead the team. His 59 points in 62 games sit him at third.
Suffice to say, he’s involved in everything the Pats are doing. The Kraken’s inaugural second-round pick is looking like someone who could provide some much-needed creativity and offense from the blue line. He scored a goal and seven points in a dozen games in March.
Jacob Melanson Crosses the 30-Goal Plateau
Jacob Melanson is demonstrating the goalscoring touch that the Kraken desperately need in their lineup right now. He’s hit 31 goals in 45 games for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), which is second on the team. He scored a strong nine goals and 16 points, including two three-point games, and put up 17 PIMs in 13 March games.
Semyon Vyazovoy Carries Strong Play Into Playoffs
Semyon Vyazovoy finished his season 25-10-3 in 41 games with five shutouts. His numbers were very strong; a 2.03 GAA and .927 SV%. In four playoff games, he went 1-1-1, earning one shutout, with a 2.71 GAA and .911 SV%. It wasn’t the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), and he may be far away from the NHL, but he just might become the Kraken’s goalie of the future and he’s off to a good start with his play this season.
Despite their elimination from playoff contention, the Kraken have a lot to be excited about as the season winds down. They have several prospects who could make an impact next season, and more who, despite needing more time, could be ready once the team turns a corner in their development. Especially with how strong the next two NHL Entry Drafts are, and how many picks the Kraken have, they’re in a better position than one would think.
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.