Seattle Kraken: What is Tye Kartye’s Future Role?

They say good things come to those who wait, and Tye Kartye is seeing that firsthand. He’s in his third season with the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, and inked his three-year entry-level contract with the Seattle Kraken at the beginning of March.

The 6-foot-1, 198-pound forward can play both center and wing. He’s 20 years old, and following his final season in the OHL, may have a shot of cracking the lineup out of camp, depending on several factors. We’ll get into that a little later, though. First, let’s meet the newest Kraken.

Kartye’s Pre-Kraken Career

Kartye is used to being passed over. He fell to the eighth round of the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, where the Greyhounds snagged him. Then, he was repeatedly passed over in the NHL Entry Draft. Since then he has shown constant statistical improvement. He was a rookie during the 2018-19 season where he scored just four goals and 24 points in 64 games.

He played 64 games the following year as well, though it was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but finished with 25 goals and 53 points. It was a drastic improvement. However, he lost what should have been his third season to the pandemic, as the 2020-21 season was cancelled. Ahead of this season, and having not played for a year, he was invited to the Kraken’s inaugural training camp.

Tye Kartye Soo Greyhounds
Tye Kartye, Soo Greyhounds forward (Luke Durda/OHL Images)

Kartye is having a strong final OHL season, and is currently second on the Greyhounds in both goals and points. He has scored 37 goals and 65 points in 55 games. He’s projected to finish the year with 42 goals and 74 points in 63 games.

Where Kartye Fits With the Kraken

How the Kraken will look six months from now is very difficult to predict. They have seven restricted-free agents (RFA), as well as two unrestricted-free agents (UFA) who can play on the wing. While the trade deadline has passed, it’s becoming clear that general manager Ron Francis’ plan may have been to sell players for draft assets all along. 

That being said, the Kraken need players who can score; especially on the wing. Right now, it’s just Jared McCann. He’s the team’s only 20-goal scorer, and expected producers in Jordan Eberle and Jaden Schwartz haven’t gotten the job done. While Kartye can play center, he should be used on the wing to maximize his goalscoring potential.

According to Pat Quinn from Dobber Prospects: “His goal scoring is way up, scoring goals at a 0.73 per game pace, as he is utilizing the strength of his one-timer, especially as the bumper on the Soo power play. The threat to score all over the ice is what will bring Kartye to the NHL and he has really worked on his game to get to this level of notice. If he can make the Kraken, within a few seasons, he could be a goal-heavy middle-six winger.”

The Kraken are near the league’s basement regarding power-play conversion, and Kartye leads the OHL in power-play goals with 19. He’s also added two shorthanded goals. That leaves 16 goals at even-strength, which is something he needs to work on. While it’s fair to argue that he is an over-ager playing in the OHL this year, he still has to manage to put the puck in the net. 

Related: Kraken Prospect Report: Daccord, Melanson, Winterton & More

If he cracks the Kraken roster out of camp, it would be best for his development to see consistent third-line ice time with some secondary special teams time. If head coach Dave Hakstol decides to play him minimally on the fourth line with no special teams time, as he has with other prospects, he should be given top-six playing time in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the inaugural Coachella Valley Firebirds.

Was Signing Kartye a Hit or a Miss?

Francis hit with this under-the-radar signing. It’s a good message to future potential prospects or players who come to training camp and don’t earn a contract that, just because you were cut and let go, doesn’t mean you’ve been fully rejected from the team or off their radar. 

Kartye has the potential to be a decent middle-six scoring winger for the Kraken, and if he continues to round out his game to fit on both special teams units, he’ll become very valuable. Even if he needs extra time in the AHL, he may be ready to make the jump to the NHL when the Kraken start to turn things around and prospects like Matty Beniers and Ryker Evans burst onto the scene.

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