The Seattle Kraken have already started building a decent prospect pool through not just the draft, but free agency as well. While the majority of these prospects will not play in the NHL this season, it is important for the health of this organization that they keep building for the future. If Seattle has any plans of becoming a powerhouse like the Colorado Avalanche or Tampa Bay Lightning, developing prospects will be a key component in their path to becoming one of the league’s best.
This list will look at the top 10 prospects currently in the Kraken’s system. To be eligible, a player cannot have played previous games in the NHL. This means that Matty Beniers will not be included. The players are ranked based on current play and potential. The hope is all these prospects can play a role with Seattle in the future, with a few having a chance to see ice time this coming season.
10. Peetro Seppälä
22-year-old Peetro Seppälä will be one to watch this season for the Coachella Valley Firebirds. The undrafted left-shot defenceman had a monster year with KooKoo in the Finnish Liiga last season with 29 points in 57 games while adding an additional eight assists in 15 playoff games. The one issue is that the Kraken’s left side is already packed, which will make it difficult for him to be called up to the NHL this season. There is a lot of potential with this prospect, and if he can step in and play big minutes at the American Hockey League (AHL) level throughout the campaign, it could be sooner rather than later that fans get to see him in a Kraken regular season game.
9. Ville Ottavainen
During Seattle’s inaugural draft in 2021, they selected right-shot defenceman Ville Ottavainen. The Finnish defenceman had played the 2019-20 season in North America with the Kitchener Rangers but has spent the last two seasons back in Finland playing for JYP. His biggest strength is well, strength, as he is 6-foot-5, 216 pounds. He isn’t a player who is going to generate a ton of offence, but he did play 44 games in the Liiga as a 19-year-old last season, showing he has defensive value to his team. The Kraken need more right-shot defencemen, so his development will be crucial for the organization over the next few seasons.
8. Ty Kartye
After a strong junior career with the Soo Greyhounds, Seattle signed Ty Kartye as an undrafted free agent this summer. Last season, he finished second on the Greyhounds with 79 points in 63 games but led the team in goals with 45. He also added seven goals and two assists during their 10-game playoff run.
Kartye will be fighting for minutes on the Firebirds this upcoming season but should see time on the power play. He has shown improvement year after year in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), which should help him make the transition to the American Hockey League (AHL) this coming season. This is a prospect who knows how to score goals but will need to work on his overall game if he wants to take the next step and make it to the NHL.
7. Jani Nyman
The Kraken selected forward Jani Nyman with the 49th overall selection in the 2022 Entry Draft. The recently turned 18-year-old has great size at 6-foot-3, 216 pounds and is known as a shot-first type of player when in the offensive zone. If he continues to improve his defensive play, he could become a well-rounded player by the time he makes the jump to the NHL.
Last season in the Mestis, which is Finland’s second division, he scored 18 goals and added 17 assists for 34 points as a 17-year-old. The big question now is can he keep up his scoring this season with Ilves in the Liiga? Once he works on his skating and brings it up to NHL standards, he should have no problem pushing for a spot on Seattle’s roster.
6. Ryan Winterton
Ryan Winterton has had a rough start to his career. Between the pandemic and injuries, he has only played 90 regular season games since the start of the 2019-20 season. Last season, however, Kraken fans finally got to see why Seattle was so excited when they snagged him at 67th overall in the 2021 Entry Draft.
Winterton became a leader this season for the Hamilton Bulldogs of the OHL. He scored 20 goals and added 26 assists in 37 games and helped the Bulldogs make it all the way to the Memorial Cup Final. A dynamic offensive player, he started the playoffs by recording a point in 11 straight games. Now fully healthy and expected to take on more responsibility this season, he could develop into a solid middle-six forward at the pro level over the next few seasons.
5. Ty Nelson
The NHL has seen a shift when it comes to defensemen, and Ty Nelson fits that new mould. The 2022 third-rounder is a strong skater whose strength is his defensive game. He has great gap control when defending against the rush and isn’t afraid to play a physical game. There is also some offensive upside, as he recorded 51 points in 66 games last season for the North Bay Battalion of the OHL. While his arrival to the NHL won’t be for a couple of years, his potential is something the Kraken organization should be excited about.
4. David Goyette
Seattle was extremely lucky they were able to snag David Goyette with the 61st pick in the 2022 Draft. An offensively gifted center, he led the Sudbury Wolves last season as a rookie with 73 points in 66 games. His most impressive accomplishment, however, happened during the 2019-20 season while playing for the South Kent School Selects Hockey Academy U15. That season, he put up 104 assists and 153 points during the 65-game 15U AAA season. A playmaker who makes difficult passes look easy, expect him to be amongst the OHL point leaders this coming season.
3. Ryker Evans
One of the players to watch during the Kraken’s 2022 training camp will be Ryker Evans. The second-round pick from 2021 is ready to make the jump to the pros and, according to general manager Ron Francis will be given every opportunity to make the opening night NHL roster.
The big question is can he live up to the high expectations he set for himself while a member of the Regina Pats during his Western Hockey League (WHL) career? Remember, he was playing with Connor Bedard the last two seasons which gave his point totals a bump. He has a lot of potential; now, it is all about whether or not he can live up to it.
2. Jagger Firkus
The Kraken do not have any player in their prospect pool like Jagger Firkus. He is one of the most creative players when it comes to offensive zone play and showed he can beat goalies not just from in front of the net but also from behind. If all works out, he could very well be the steal of the 2022 Draft.
While it may take a few seasons, Firkus has the potential to be a star at the NHL level. He already possesses high-end offensive skills and was one of the most dangerous players in the entire WHL last season. While his game still needs some rounding out, with the focus being on his defensive play, he should play a key factor in the Kraken organization in the years to come.
1. Shane Wright
Shane Wright will not be classified as a prospect for much longer as he is projected to be a key part of the Kraken during the 2022-23 campaign. The fourth overall pick from the 2022 Draft will be a game changer for this franchise and is expected to be a key contributor for hopefully the next 15-20 years. While it may take him some time to get acclimated to the NHL, he should have no problem becoming this team’s top-line center as the season progresses.
Kraken Have Built a Good Prospect Pool
While the Kraken’s prospect pool is small, there are quite a few prospects to get excited about. The goal, at least for the next couple of seasons, should be to accumulate as many picks and create one of the best pipelines in the NHL. If these prospects hit and others reach their potential, it won’t be long before Seattle becomes a perennial playoff contender.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at area51sportsnet.com where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.