Kraken Top 15 Prospects: 2023-24 Preseason Edition

The Seattle Kraken are starting to build a strong prospect pool. From draft picks to free-agent signings, the young players Seattle has added to its organization impressed last season. Whether these prospects eventually play for the Kraken or are used in trades, most should make a meaningful impact on the organization in one way or another.

Seattle Kraken Top 15 Prospects Eduard Sale, David Goyette and Lukas Dragicevic

Note: To qualify for this list, a player must be 23 or under and played no more than 25 NHL games in their career. Statistics are from the end of the 2022-23 season. The players are ranked based on the following criteria:

  • Overall potential (how good of a player can the prospect become?)
  • NHL projectability (what type/level of player will the prospect most likely become?)
  • NHL readiness (how close to the NHL is the prospect?)
  • Importance of position (centers and defensemen tend to be valued higher than wingers and goalies.)
  • Age (how much room/time does the prospect have to grow/develop?)

Without further ado, here is a look at the top-15 prospects in the Kraken’s system heading into the 2023-24 season.

15. (D) Kaden Hammell- 2023, 148th Overall

End of Season Ranking: Not Ranked

2022-23 Stats:
Kamloops Blazers/Everett Silvertips (WHL) Regular Season: 67 Games Played (GP), 8 Goals (G), 18 Assists (A), 26 Points (P)
Playoffs: 5 GP, 0 P

Kaden Hammell enters the 2023-24 season as Everett’s top defenseman. The 2023 fifth-round pick flourished in an expanded role after being traded to the Silvertips at the 2023 Western Hockey League (WHL) trade deadline and should continue to evolve his game this season. Listed at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, his strong skating and playmaking ability make him a threat blue line whenever the puck is on his stick.

Related: Seattle Kraken Top 15 Prospects: 2023 End-of-Season Rankings

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Based on Everett’s roster, Hammell is projected to play 25+ minutes a night with extensive time on the power play and penalty kill. This is the perfect opportunity for him to showcase just how skilled he is and that he can play at a high level constantly throughout an entire season. Playing just a short drive away from Climate Pledge Arena, there will be plenty of opportunities for Kraken fans to watch him play throughout the year.

14. (C) Logan Morrison- 2023 Free Agent Signing

End of Season Ranking: 11th

2022-23 Stats:
Hamilton Bulldogs/Ottawa 67’s (OHL) Regular Season: 56 GP, 40 G, 54 A, 94 P
Playoffs: 11 GP, 10 G, 6 A, 16 P

The Kraken are hoping they found another gem like Tye Kartye in Logan Morrison. A dominant point producer throughout his Ontario Hockey League (OHL) career, Seattle was able to sign the undrafted forward on April 11, 2023, after his season with the Ottawa 67’s came to an end at the hands of Tucker Robertson and the Peterborough Petes. Projected to start in the American Hockey League next season, he adds value depth down the middle to what should be another strong Coachella Valley squad.

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After going undrafted, Morrison should come into camp with a chip on his shoulder, wanting to prove to the rest of the league that it was a mistake to pass on him in the draft. The big question, though, is how his game will translate to the pro level. Overall, this was a smart signing by the Kraken and one that could have long-term benefits for the organization.

13. (RW) Jani Nyman- 2022, 49th Overall

End of Season Ranking: 9th

2022-23 Stats:
Ilves (Liiga) Regular Season: 29 GP, 10 G, 4 A, 14 P
Playoffs: 6 GP, 1 A, 1 P
Ilves U20 (U20 SM-sarja) Regular Season: 2 GP, 5 G, 1 A, 6 P

One of the Kraken’s more intriguing prospects heading into the 2023-24 season is Jani Nyman. After a successful year in Finland’s Liiga, Seattle signed its 2022 second-rounder to an entry-level contract during the offseason before loaning him back to Ilves for the 2023-24 season. Expected to be part of Finland’s World Junior team once again this season, his progress in Finland will be something to monitor as the season progresses.

This is a massive year for Nyman, as it should be his final season in Finland before moving over to North America. He needs to show not only that he can produce at a high level in Liiga but also in an expanded role for Ilves. If he can continue to develop at a steady pace, he should have no problem adjusting to the North American game once he makes the move from Finland.

12. (LW) Carson Rehkopf- 2023, 50th Overall

End of Season Ranking: Not Ranked

2022-23 Stats:
Kitchener Rangers (OHL) Regular Season: 68 GP, 30 G, 29 A, 59 P
Playoffs: 9 GP, 2 G, 4 A, 6 P

A dynamic scorer who can rip one-timers, Carson Rehkopf had a fantastic season with the Kitchener Rangers scoring 30 goals for the first time in his OHL career. Listed at 6-foot-2 and 194 pounds, he showed throughout his draft year that he can also play a physical game and is not afraid to get in on the forecheck to try to create turnovers. A potential power forward at the NHL level, he proved to be a pain to play against last season and will be looked upon to be an offensive leader in Kitchener in 2023-24.

Carson Rehkopf Kitchener Rangers
Carson Rehkopf, Kitchener Rangers (Natalie Shaver/OHL Images)

One area to watch this season will be whether or not Rehkopf can improve his skating. This should not only help out on the defensive side of the game but also make him more difficult to play against in the offensive zone. If he can improve his skating, he has the potential to be a solid middle-six winger at the NHL level for a long time.

11. (D) Caden Price- 2023, 84th Overall

End of Season Ranking: Not Ranked

2022-23 Stats:
Kelowna Rockets (WHL) Regular Season: 65 GP, 5 G, 35 A, 40 P
Playoffs: 4 GP, 1 G, 1 A, 2 P

A potential third-round steal, Caden Price is a prospect that fans in Seattle should be very excited about. Not only is he strong defensively, but he can also transition the puck well and hit teammates in stride with breakout passes. Canada’s leader in points by a defenseman at the World U-18’s, he should hit the 60-point mark with the Kelowna Rockets this season.

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The biggest area Price needs to work on is his overall consistency. While there were games, he was phenomenal, too many nights last season, he was invisible or made simple mistakes that a player of his quality shouldn’t be making. The good news is that he is still young, only turning 18 on Aug. 24, 2023, so there is still plenty of time for him to develop into a solid NHLer.

10. (C) Tucker Robertson- 2022, 123rd Overall

End of Season Ranking: 5th

2022-23 Stats:
Peterborough Petes (OHL) Regular Season: 68 GP, 36 G, 54 A, 90 P
Playoffs: 23 GP, 9 G, 13 A, 22 P

In his final OHL season, Tucker Robertson was nothing short of phenomenal. He was one of the best players in the OHL from start to finish and played a key role in Peterborough’s run, which landed them a spot in the Memorial Cup tournament. Signed to an entry-level contract in early July, he is set to make the jump to the AHL after playing over 190 games with the Petes organization.

When it comes to Robertson, one big question will be whether or not he plays center at the AHL level. While he played center in the OHL, he is one of the smaller forwards on the team and could be pushed to the wing during his rookie season. Regardless of what position he plays, he is an exciting prospect who could surprise in 2023-24.

9. (RW) Jagger Firkus- 2022, 35th Overall

End of Season Ranking: 7th

2022-23 Stats:
Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL) Regular Season: 66 GP, 40 G, 44 A, 88 P
Playoffs: 10 GP, 10 G, 11 A, 21 P
Coachella Valley Firebirds (AHL) Playoffs: 1 GP

Few prospects in the Kraken system are as talented as Jagger Firkus. The Moose Jaw Warriors winger isn’t afraid to show off his skill, ending up on top 10 plays list throughout the season. Entering his fourth WHL season, he is projected to come close to 100 points while also being a contender for Team Canada’s World Junior team.

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

One trend to watch with Firkus this season will be whether or not he can improve his defensive game. While this may come at the cost of his offensive production, it is an area of his game that needs improvement before he jumps to the pro level. Undoubtedly, he has the talent to play in the NHL; the question will be whether or not his overall game is strong enough to have a long career.

8. (D) Ty Nelson- 2022, 68th Overall

End of Season Ranking: 6th

2022-23 Stats:
North Bay Battalion (OHL) Regular Season: 67 GP, 24 G, 52 A, 76 P
Playoffs: 20 GP, 6 G, 19 A, 25 P

Ty Nelson is the definition of the new-age defenseman. He is strong in his own zone and has developed into one of the premier offensive defensemen in the OHL. A third-round pick in 2022, he has already signed his entry-level deal with Seattle and should once again be near the top of league scoring among defensemen.

At this stage of Nelson’s development, the focus should be on fine-tuning his game to prepare him for the jump to the pros in 2024-25. This could be anything from more time on the penalty kill to better overall shot selection. If he can keep developing and getting stronger, there is little doubt that he will make the NHL one day.

7. (C) Oscar Fisker-Mølgaard- 2023, 52nd Overall

End of Season Ranking: Not Ranked

HV71 (SHL) Regular Season: 41 GP, 4 G, 3 A, 7 P
HV71 J20 (J20 Nationell) Regular Season: 21 GP, 6 G, 17 A, 23 P
Playoffs: 3 GP, 2 G, 2 P
HV71 J18 (J18 Nationell) Playoffs: 2 GP, 1 G, 1 A, 2 P

Oscar Fisker-Mølgaard is the type of prospect that teams love to have in their organization. Not only does he have some offensive upside, but he is also a player who rarely takes a shift off and impressed to the point that he became a regular in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) at just 17 years old. He also had the opportunity to play for Denmark at the World Championships, having an impact in every game despite not finding the scoresheet.

Now that Fisker-Mølgaard has shown he can play in the SHL, point production is the next step in his development. No one should expect a 40-50 point season, but double digits in goals and assists should not be out of the question. If everything goes as planned, he could jump to the AHL as soon as the 2023-24 season.

6. (D) Lukas Dragicevic- 2023, 57th Overall

End of Season Ranking: Not Ranked

2022-23 Stats:
Tri-City Americans (WHL) Regular Season: 68 GP, 15 G, 60 A, 75 P
Playoffs: 6 GP, 4 A, 4 P

Few players in the 2023 NHL Draft were as polarizing as Lukas Dragicevic. The right-shot defenseman out of Tri-City was arguably the best offensive defenseman available in the draft but slipped to 57th because of questions surrounding his defensive game. The good news for fans in Seattle is that they will have plenty of opportunities to monitor his development as he is set to play in the WHL once again next season.

Heading into 2023-24, Dragicevic needs to show that he can be reliable defensively and that his skating improved over the season. Even if his point production takes a little bit of a hit, the long-term benefit to his game would be to play more on the penalty kill and show that he can engage physically in his own zone. If he can work on these areas of his game, he could easily develop into a top-four defenseman at the NHL level.

5. (C) David Goyette- 2022, 61st Overall

End of Season Ranking: 4th

2022-23 Stats:
Sudbury Wolves (OHL) Regular Season: 63 GP, 41 G, 51 A, 92 P
Playoffs: 4 GP, 1 G, 3 A, 4 P
Coachella Valley Firebirds (AHL) Regular Season: 2 GP
Playoffs: 7 GP, 2 A, 2 P

When it comes to David Goyette, it is clear that the Kraken are extremely excited to have him in their system. Not only did they waste little time signing him after his 2022-23 OHL season came to a close, but they also gave him the opportunity to make his AHL regular season and playoff debut, all before turning 19. A late second-round pick in 2022, he is already looking like a draft-day steal and a player that Seattle has big plans for in the future.

Bound for Sudbury once again, Goyette will be a front-runner to make Team Canada’s World Junior Team. Whether or not he hits 100 points will also be something to monitor, as he is projected to once again lead to Wolves in scoring. A candidate to be team captain in Sudbury this year, this should be his final season in junior.

4. (C) Tye Kartye- 2022 Free Agent Signing

End of Season Ranking: 3rd

2022-23 Stats:
Coachella Valley Firebirds (AHL) Regular Season: 72 GP, 28 G, 29 A, 57 P
Playoffs: 18 GP, 6 G, 2 A, 8 P
Seattle Kraken (NHL) Playoffs: 10 GP, 3 G, 2 A, 5 P

Few players surprised like Karte did last season. The undrafted free agent not only showed he can make the jump to the pros with ease, but he also won AHL Rookie of the Year and showed during the NHL playoffs that he could be ready to join the Kraken as early as this season. A hard-working player who is willing to play any role assigned to him, his play in 2022-23 shows why scanning the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) free-agent pool can be beneficial to teams.

Based on the Kraken’s current roster, it may be hard for Kartye to make the team but not impossible. He is versatile, able to play all three forward positions and has gained the coaching staff’s trust based on his play last year. If he doesn’t make the team right out of the gate, expect him to be the first player called up when an injury occurs.

3. (LW) Eduard Šalé- 2023, 20th Overall

End of Season Ranking: Not Ranked

2022-23 Stats:
HC Kometa Brno (Czech Republic) Regular Season: 43 GP, 7 G, 7 A, 14 P
Playoffs: 6 GP, 0 P

With their first pick in the 2023 draft, Seattle drafted winger Eduard Šalé who played last season in the Czech Republic’s top men’s league. A prospect known for his offensive abilities, he was considered one of the best playmaking wingers available in this year’s draft. If he can hit his ceiling, he could easily develop into a first-line winger that can produce 40+ assists this season.

Related: Kraken Add 10 New Names to Their Franchise at the Draft

Instead of playing in the Czech Republic next season, Šalé will be moving to the OHL to play for the Barrie Colts. This will allow him to get used to the North American ice surface and be closer to Seattle’s development team, who can monitor his progress throughout the season. Expect him to make the jump to either the AHL or NHL during the 2024-25 season and become a regular in the Kraken lineup in the next four to five years.

2. (C) Shane Wright- 2022, 4th Overall

End of Season Ranking: 2nd

2022-23 Stats:
Windsor Spitfires (OHL) Regular Season: 20 GP, 15 G, 22 A, 37 P
Playoffs: 4 GP, 1 G, 2 A, 3 P
Coachella Valley Firebirds (AHL) Regular Season: 8 GP, 4 G, 2 A, 6 P
Playoffs: 24 GP, 2 G, 7 A, 9 P
Seattle Kraken (NHL): 8 GP, 1 G, 1 A, 2 P

Few players will have more pressure on them than Shane Wright heading into training camp. The former fourth-overall pick had a decent playoff run with the Firebirds and will once again attempt to make the Kraken’s roster full-time. While he still has plenty of time to develop into a solid NHLer, he needs to make a statement and actually be in the lineup this season rather than sitting up in the press box.

The Wright situation gets even more complicated if he doesn’t make the team; it could mean another year in the OHL. Other than trying to build up his confidence, there is little to no value in having him sent back to junior. Seattle has a solid lineup, but it may be beneficial long term to ensure that he has an everyday spot in the lineup rather than having him as a healthy scratch for the majority of the season.

1. (D) Ryker Evans- 2021, 35th Overall

End of Season Ranking: 1st

2022-23 Stats:
Coachella Valley Firebirds (AHL) Regular Season: 71 GP, 6, G, 38 A, 44 P
Playoffs (AHL): 26 GP, 5 G, 21 A, 26 P

Ryker Evans showed he is much closer to being NHL-ready than most thought last season. He was named to the AHL All-Star Game and developed into Coachella Valley’s number-one defenseman, helping them reach the Calder Cup Final in their first season. A strong playmaker who showed he can step up in big moments, he earned a chance at the NHL level.

The biggest hurdle for Evans is that the Kraken’s defense looks set for the upcoming season. Unless a trade happens or he learns to play the right side, there is no room to pencil him in. Just like Kartye, he may start the season in the AHL but should be called up to make his NHL debut this season.

Honorable Mentions

  • Andrei Loshko
  • Jacob Melanson
  • Tyson Jugnauth
  • Niklas Kokko