Free-agent forward Jaden Schwartz has signed a five-year, $27.5 million contract to join the Seattle Kraken. The 29-year-old comes to the expansion franchise after spending his entire 10-year career to this point with the St. Louis Blues. After drafting a young team in the expansion draft, Seattle saved their cap space to make a splash in free agency and do just that with this signing.
Schwartz was relied on as a locker-room presence and leader for the Blues and will assume the same role with the young core of the Kraken. His scoring touch will also be relied on heavily, especially early, as the Kraken attempt to make an impact in their inaugural season.
Fit with the Kraken
Schwartz is a great fit for a Seattle forward group that is lacking proven performers. The team has a dire need for centers, but adding Schwartz to the wing can’t hurt, as the offense looks to be the weakest part of the team on paper. Schwartz won a Stanley Cup with St. Louis and will bring his 560 games of NHL experience with him to the Pacific Northwest. He should find himself in Seattle’s top-six and on the power play, a role he assumed often during his time with the Blues. In his 10 seasons with St. Louis, he amassed 154 goals and 385 points to go with a plus-74 rating. In 88 playoff games over eight postseasons, he added 26 goals and 54 points.
Schwartz joins Jordan Eberle, Yanni Gourde, and Joonas Donskoi among the veterans on Seattle’s forward depth chart. With Gourde slated to miss time at the beginning of the season, Schwartz will be leaned on even more to produce early in the season. He has five seasons with at least 55 points, a good sign of his ability to lead the charge as Seattle looks to make a strong first impression in the NHL.
Familiar Faces in Seattle
Schwartz joins longtime teammate Vince Dunn with the Kraken, who was selected from the Blues in the expansion draft. The two didn’t share the ice very frequently with the Blues but were teammates for all four of Dunn’s professional seasons. With Seattle, there might be opportunities for both players to be on the ice at the same time, particularly on the power play. If Dunn can command a role on one of the team’s power-play units, he could use the familiarity he has with Schwartz to his advantage. Seattle doesn’t have as many power-play specialists as there were on the blue line in St. Louis, so Dunn could have an opportunity to carve out a role there and play with Schwartz more often.
Covering the New York Islanders and Seattle Kraken for The Hockey Writers. MBA Sports & Entertainment Management Candidate at Hofstra University. Formerly Marketing Intern with the American Flag Football League & Operations Intern for the Long Island Nets, G-League Affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets.