NHL Pacific Division Reset: Seattle Kraken

Kraken add Burakovsky, try to build winning culture in second season

Hope two-time Cup winner, newcomers Schultz, Bjorkstrand boost power play

by Jackie Spiegel @jackiespiegel93 / NHL.com Staff Writer

2021-22 season: 27-49-6, eighth in Pacific Division; did not qualify for Stanley Cup Playoffs

Key arrivals

Andre Burakovsky, F: The 27-year-old signed a five-year contract July 13 after winning the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche last season. He had an NHL career-high 61 points (22 goals, 39 assists) in 80 regular-season games and eight points (three goals, five assists) in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He also won the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals in 2018. … Oliver Bjorkstrand, F: The 27-year-old was acquired in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets on July 22. He had an NHL career-high 57 points (28 goals, 29 assists) with an average ice time of 17:57 per game, third among Columbus forwards, in 80 regular-season games last season. … Justin Schultz, D: The 32-year-old agreed to a two-year contract July 13. He had 23 points (four goals, 19 assists) in 74 regular-season games last season with the Capitals and had three points (one goal, two assists) in six postseason games. Schultz won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017. … Martin Jones, G: The 32-year-old signed a one-year contract July 13. He is expected to back up Philipp Grubauer while Chris Driedger recovers from surgery he had in June to repair a torn ACL (he’s expected to miss at least the first three months of the season). In 35 games (33 starts) with the Philadelphia Flyers last season, Jones was 12-18-3 with a 3.42 goals-against average and .900 save percentage.

Key departures

Riley Sheahan, F: An unrestricted free agent, he had 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) in 69 regular-season games last season. … Daniel Sprong, F: Acquired in a trade with the Capitals on March 21, he did not receive a qualifying offer and became an unrestricted free agent July 13. Sprong had six goals in 16 games with the Kraken last season and 20 points (14 goals, six assists) in 63 regular-season games with Washington and Seattle. … Victor Rask, F: Acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Wild on March 21, the unrestricted free agent had 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in 47 regular-season games with Minnesota and Seattle.

On the cusp

Matty Beniers, F: The 19-year-old was the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, the first selection in Kraken history. He had nine points (three goals, six assists) in 10 games with Seattle last season after signing a three-year, entry-level contract April 10 following the completion of his sophomore season at the University of Michigan. … Shane Wright, F: The 18-year-old was selected No. 4 in the 2022 NHL Draft and signed a three-year, entry-level contract July 13. He had 94 points (32 goals, 62 assists) in 63 regular-season games with Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League last season and 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in 11 playoff games. … Alexander True, F: The 25-year-old signed a one-year, two-way contract July 12. He had no points in eight games with Seattle last season and led Charlotte of the American Hockey League with 42 points (18 goals, 24 assists) in 60 regular-season games.

What they still need

Help on the penalty kill. The Kraken are building from the ground up entering their second season and brought in key pieces that should help establish a winning culture, but though Bjorkstrand (19 power-play points last season), Burakovsky (11) and Schultz (five) are expected to spice up a power play that was fourth worst in the NHL last season (14.6 percent), the three combined for 8:08 of shorthanded ice time. They won’t do much to jump-start a penalty kill that was tied for 30th in the League (Vancouver Canucks, 74.9 percent).

They said it

“There’s some exciting young talent in Seattle with Matty coming up and just drafting Shane. The goal for us coming into the season is to be very competitive from the beginning, go out there and push and push for playoffs. The goal is to make playoffs and compete for the Stanley Cup.” — forward Brandon Tanev

Fantasy focus

Beniers is likely to play on the top line after an impressive start for Seattle last season, leading NHL rookies in points per game (0.90, minimum 10 games). Beniers is the highest-ranked rookie (No. 126) in NHL.com’s top 250 and gains fantasy appeal from the additions of Bjorkstrand and Burakovsky. Beniers should be considered a fringe top 125 overall fantasy player as the Kraken look to build on their inaugural season. — Anna Dua

Projected lineup

Andre Burakovsky — Matty Beniers — Oliver Bjorkstrand

Jaden Schwartz — Alex Wennberg — Jordan Eberle

Jared McCann — Yanni Gourde — Karson Kuhlman

Brandon Tanev — Morgan Geekie — Joonas Donskoi

Vince Dunn — Adam Larsson

Jamie Oleksiak — Justin Schultz

Carson Soucy — William Borgen

Philipp Grubauer

Martin Jones

NHL Pacific Division Reset: Anaheim Ducks

Ducks turn to Strome, Vatrano after Getzlaf retires

Former Rangers forwards projected for top six this season

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

2021-22 season: 31-37-14, seventh in Pacific Division; did not qualify for Stanley Cup Playoffs

Key arrivals

Ryan Strome, F: The 29-year-old center signed a five-year contract July 13. He had 54 points, including an NHL career-high 21 goals, in 74 games for the New York Rangers last season and nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 19 playoff games. Strome could be the top-line center and skate on the top power-play unit. … Frank Vatrano, F: The 28-year-old agreed to a three-year contract July 13. He had 32 points (18 goals, 14 assists) in 71 regular-season games for the Rangers and Florida Panthers last season and 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 20 playoff games.

Key departures

Ryan Getzlaf, F: Anaheim’s captain the past 12 seasons retired after 2021-22. The 37-year-old center played all 17 of his NHL seasons for the Ducks and is their leader in games played (1,157), assists (737) and points (1,019) in the regular season and fourth in goals (282). His presence on and off the ice will be hard to replace. … Sonny Milano, F: He’s an unrestricted free agent after not receiving a qualifying offer. Milano set NHL career highs in assists (20) and points (34) and tied his high of 14 goals in 66 games last season. … Sam Steel, F: He had 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 68 games last season and is a UFA after not receiving a qualifying offer. … Andrej Sustr, D: Agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with the Minnesota Wild on July 13. He had five assists and averaged 17:27 of ice time in 23 games last season.

On the cusp

Mason McTavish, F: The 19-year-old, who was the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, split last season between the Ontario Hockey League (20 goals, 27 assists, 47 points in 29 games for Hamilton and Peterborough), the American Hockey League (one goal, one assist in three games for San Diego) and Anaheim (two goals, one assist in nine games). … Jacob Perreault, F: The 20-year-old, who was the No. 27 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, showed promise in the AHL with 37 points (14 goals, 23 assists) in 55 games and played one game for the Ducks. … Brayden Tracey, F: The 21-year-old, chosen No. 29 in the 2019 NHL Draft, had 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) in 55 AHL games and played one NHL game. … Benoit-Oliver Groulx, F: The 22-year-old, a second-round pick (No. 54) in the 2018 NHL Draft, had 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 40 AHL games and three points (one goal, two assists) in 18 NHL games. … Lukas Dostal, G: The 22-year-old made his NHL debut last season, playing four games (1-2-0, 2.98 goals-against average, .907 save percentage). A third-round pick (No. 85) in the 2018 draft, Dostal played 40 AHL games (18-14-4, 2.60 GAA, .916 save percentage, two shutouts).

What they still need

To sign restricted free agents Isac LundestromSimon Benoit and Urho Vaakanainen. Lundestrom, a 22-year-old center, had NHL career highs in goals (16), assists (13) and points (29) in 80 games last season. Benoit, a 23-year-old defenseman, had five points (one goal, four assists) in 53 games as a rookie. Vaakanainen, a 23-year-old defenseman, had two assists in 14 games for the Ducks after he was acquired in a trade with the Boston Bruins on March 19 for defenseman Hampus Lindholm.  

They said it

“I think you can see all the pieces are there. There are great veterans on the team, guys who have been around a long time, and then you have younger guys who have proven themselves already at such a young age. When you have a good mix of veteran leadership and young players who can push the play, that’s a sign of a great team.” — forward Frank Vatrano

Fantasy focus

Forward Trevor Zegras is the Ducks’ most valuable player in NHL.com’s top 250 and is ranked among the top 100 overall for this season. Zegras, who was second in points among NHL rookies last season (61 in 75 games) behind Toronto Maple Leafs wing Michael Bunting (63 in 79) and tied for the second-most goals (23) in his class behind Nashville Predators wing Tanner Jeannot (24), should be prioritized in keeper and dynasty leagues. Zegras could either play on a line with breakout wing Troy Terry (led Ducks with NHL career highs of 37 goals and 67 points last season) and/or get a boost from Anaheim’s sneaky forward signings in Strome and/or Vatrano, who were top-six contributors during the Rangers’ run to the Eastern Conference Final. — Anna Dua

Projected lineup

Adam Henrique — Trevor Zegras — Troy Terry

Max Comtois — Ryan Strome — Frank Vatrano

Max Jones — Mason McTavish — Jakob Silfverberg

Derek Grant — Isac Lundestrom — Sam Carrick

Cam Fowler — Jamie Drysdale

Uhro Vaakanainen — Kevin Shattenkirk

Josh Mahura — Simon Benoit

John Gibson

Anthony Stolarz

Source: nhl.com