Seattle Kraken Prospect Report: Wright, Petman, Firkus & More

We are about two months into the 2022-23 hockey season, and it’s time for another edition of the Seattle Kraken Prospect Report! With the holiday season rapidly approaching, we’re going to take a look at five Kraken prospects who will likely be seeing themselves on the “nice” list once Santa Claus takes flight.

Seattle Kraken Prospects Report
Seattle Kraken Prospects Report (The Hockey Writers)

In this December edition, we’re going to take a look at two players playing on the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Coachella Valley Firebirds. Then, we’re going to take a trip to the Western Hockey League (WHL) before boarding a (figurative) flight to visit Europe and Russia to close things out. 

We’ve got a flight to catch, so let’s get things started with our trip to visit the Firebirds. 

Shane Wright Saga Continues With Firebirds

Shane Wright’s playing time is arguably the most controversial conversation you can have when it comes to the Kraken. Aside from a Nov. 3 game against the Minnesota Wild where he spent 13:45 time on ice (TOI), he never surpassed 8:42 TOI in a game for a season average of a measly 8:06 average time on ice (ATOI). 

Shane Wright Seattle Kraken
Shane Wright, Seattle Kraken (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

He tallied a lone assist and two penalty minutes, with a plus-4 rating in his seven-game NHL stint. On Nov. 20, he was reassigned to the Firebirds on a conditioning loan. In five AHL games, he’s already scored four goals with a plus-1 rating. Incredibly, those four goals have come on just 11 shots. 

Related: Kraken Need to Send Wright Back to the OHL

I was a big proponent of Matty Beniers and Shane Wright leading the team to glory as its top-two centers, but given what we’ve seen thus far, my stance has changed. I agree with THW’s Adam Kierszenblat, whose article I tagged above. The Kraken need to stop wasting his time and allow him to get into as many games as he can, which is why it’s good that he’s on this conditioning stint in the AHL. 

Regardless, he needs to be on Canada’s World Juniors team when the tournament comes around. He’s a fourth-overall pick with first-overall potential, just because he didn’t step in and emulate Connor McDavid doesn’t mean you should give up on him just yet. Wright was recalled to the Kraken on Dec. 5.

Ville Petman off to Good Start in First North American Season

Ville Petman is in a really good position right now. He’s coming off a breakout season in the Finnish Elite League (SM-liiga) where he scored 15 goals and 39 points in 59 games. So far with the Firebirds, he’s scored four goals and seven points in his first 17 AHL games. His previous career high in scoring was eight points during the 2019-20 SM-liiga season.

Related: Kraken Prospect Report: Ville Petman

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The 22-year-old, left-shot center isn’t fighting for the team lead in points or anything crazy, but he’s playing with discipline (only seven penalty minutes) and he’s a plus-1. He’s seen action in all situations as he has both a power-play and shorthanded goal to his name. 

One thing he needs to improve upon is his shot frequency. While it’s exciting to see his 26.7 shooting percentage, he’s only taken 17 shots in his 17 games. He’s 14th on the team in shots; to put some context into that, four defensemen have higher shot totals. Good things happen when he shoots the puck, as his shot in their Dec. 3 game against the Henderson Silver Knights deflected off Austin Poganski for the game-winning goal in the franchise’s first shutout.

He’s off to a really strong start, especially when you consider that he has to adjust to North American ice. However, he could really become someone to watch if the Kraken run into injury trouble, and he gets added responsibility and a larger role with the Firebirds.

2022 35th-Overall Jagger Firkus Looking Like a Steal

For many, it was surprising to see Jagger Firkus fall out of the first round and into the second. Many, including THW’s talented draft rankings trio Andrew Forbes, Matthew Zator, and Peter Baracchini had him ranked in the late first round. Despite all this, the Kraken couldn’t care less about where he was ranked, they’re just glad he fell into their tentacles. 

He scored 36 goals and 80 points in 66 games during his draft year, adding on six goals and 12 points in 10 playoff games for the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors. So far this season, he’s scored 16 goals and 36 points in 26 games, leading the team in points and tied for the team-lead in goals. His 20 assists are second on the team.

Related: Kraken May Have the Steal of the 2022 Draft in Jagger Firkus

“Firkus has legitimate top-six, 30-goal potential. He possesses one of the best shots in this draft and has a well-rounded offensive arsenal at his disposal. His ability to score on the power play also gives him a bit more NHL certainty, as in the worst-case scenario, he’s a top-nine power-play specialist. There’s serious play driving and goal-scoring potential in Firkus, which should excite the fans of whatever team drafts him.”

THW’s Austin Stanovich

He has a lethal shot and a really quick release. I’ve long said that the Kraken need a goalscorer, and they’ve gone out and addressed that, but I love it even more when that can come from within. 

2022 49th-Overall Jani Nyman Quietly Succeeding in Finland

The Kraken hit on another pick in the second round, this one is currently playing in Finland for the SM-liiga’s Ilves Tampere. Jani Nyman’s scored seven goals and 10 points in 20 games so far this season; this coming after a 10-game stint with the team last season where he tallied a lone assist. 

He spent most of his draft year playing in the Mestis, the second-highest league in Finland, for KooVee Tampere. He was a point-per-game player with KooVee, scoring 18 goals and 35 points in 34 games. 

“Nyman has the potential to become a real goal-scorer in the NHL. His shot and offensive awareness allow him to make plays that other simply can’t, and if he can translate it at a higher level of competition, he’s going to rack up goals and points at the NHL level. He’s not an elite offensive talent, but he has the potential to become a consistent second-line scoring threat at his peak, maxing out in the 30-goal range.”

THW’s Devin Little

He’s 6-foot-3, 212 pounds and has a great shot, one he loves to fire from the circle on the power play a la Alexander Ovechkin. He may not be stapled to the first line, but he could find himself playing decent ice time for the Kraken one day if his development keeps the same trajectory. 

Semyon Vyazovoy’s Solid Numbers Continue in Russia

The lone goaltender selected by the Kraken in their inaugural draft, 163rd-overall selection Semyon Vyazovoy is starting strong in Russia. He has split time between the Russian Junior Hockey League (MHL) and their second-highest level of professional hockey, the Supreme Hockey League (VHL).

In 16 MHL games this season, still playing for Tolpar Ufa, he holds an 8-5-3 record with three shutouts, a 2.28 goals-against average (GAA) and a .938 save percentage (SV%). He looks to be picking up where he left off from last season, despite the mediocre record. In eight VHL games for Toros Neftekamsk, his first taste of VHL action, he is 5-3 with a 2.00 GAA and .929 SV%.

It’s tough to get a really good feel for how much those numbers mean given that he’s not playing at the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) level, which is Russia’s top professional league. He’s a long ways away from the NHL, even the AHL, and the Kraken still have time before they have to offer him a contract. 

Looking ahead, the Kraken have Philipp Grubauer under contract for five more years with a no-trade clause; Grubauer will be 36 years old by time his contract is up. A lot could happen in five years, and it gives Vyazovoy all the time in the world to develop with no rush to get to NHL action. 

Kraken Prospects Continue to Impress

The Kraken’s success so far this season could be an added benefit for their prospects, especially those already in the AHL. If the team is succeeding, they don’t have to be rushed into action right away. They’ll have the proper time to continue to develop. Then, they can complement the team and get their feet wet in the NHL at their own pace when they’re ready to make the jump, rather than be expected or asked to make a big impact off the hop.

Related: Kraken’s Beniers Making a Strong Case for Calder Trophy

Several prospects who weren’t on this prospect report easily could’ve been, but we have to keep it fresh, especially early in the season to cover all our bases. Heading into the new year, there could be some familiar names on the January edition, maybe even some new ones. Either way, it bodes well for the Kraken’s future.