Before I dive into Seattle Kraken prospects, let me share a few memories about Andy Eide, who – in my opinion, was the preeminent champion for hockey in the Puget Sound region.
When I first took the job at the Everett Herald to cover the Everett Silvertips, my predecessor, Jesse Geleynse, gave me the inside scoop on how to cover the Tips beat, and who I should get to know. One of the first people he mentioned was Andy.
So I got to know Andy. He covered the Seattle Thunderbirds for ESPN 710, and we shared stories, information, and advice – well, I mostly asked him for advice. He was always willing to hop on my podcast or just shoot the breeze.
Andy was a veteran Western Hockey League reporter, and I leaned on him for his expertise. The way he cultivated relationships was so admirable. He knew everything about the WHL, seemingly. He was plugged in, informed, and a damn good writer, to boot.
Andy worked his ass off. He was writing about hockey in Seattle before it was cool. The way Andy covered the T-Birds, without a consistent paycheck dangling in front of his face, was inspiring. He didn’t do it for financial reasons or to boost his ego; he did it because he loved the sport and believed he could cover hockey at the highest level.
Back when I really knew Andy, we were both vying for roles covering the professional team in Seattle, but there wasn’t a single drop of jealousy with Andy. We both wanted each other to succeed and seeing him accomplish his goal of covering the Seattle Kraken brought me immense joy.
He opened many doors for me, including introducing me to John Barr and Darren Brown. I don’t think I would be writing for Sound Of Hockey without Andy’s kindness.
Above all, in addition to being an excellent hockey writer, Andy was a better person. Rest in peace, my friend.
Kartye named AHL’s top rookie
Kraken forward prospect Tye Kartye was announced as the American Hockey League’s rookie of the year this week.
The 21-year-old center posted 57 points in 72 regular-season games for Coachella Valley but really clicked toward the second half of the season. Kartye notched 42 points over the last 40 games of the season, and his 23 goals led the team during that stretch.
Not too shabby for an undrafted free agent signee, huh?
Coachella Valley kicks off AHL playoffs with ‘W’
Max McCormick scored two goals and added an assist, Ryker Evans dished out three helpers, and Joey Daccord stopped 45 shots to lead Coachella Valley to a 5-1 Game 1 win in its best-of-three series with the Tucson Roadrunners.
Notable: Shane Wright was in the lineup for Coachella Valley and could be a nice boost to their playoff run. Wright, who was traded to Windsor at the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) trade deadline, was knocked out of the junior playoffs prematurely as the top-seeded Spitfires were swept in the first round.
The Firebirds, the second-seeded team in the Pacific Division, can advance with a win in Game 2 on Friday night at Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert, California.
Goyette signed to ELC
After a terrific season for the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves with 92 points (41 goals, 51 assists) in 63 regular-season games, the Kraken signed 2022 second-round pick David Goyette to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Like Wright, he was assigned to Coachella Valley after his junior season ended in the first round of the OHL playoffs on a professional tryout, but he wasn’t in the lineup for the Firebirds in Game 1 of the playoffs. He played in two AHL regular-season games and didn’t reach the scoresheet.
Firkus on a tear
Kraken forward prospect Jagger Firkus has been an offensive engine for the Moose Jaw Warriors in the Western Hockey League playoffs, with 18 points in eight games. After sweeping the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the first round, Moose Jaw is deadlocked, 2-2, with the Winnipeg Ice, considered a favorite to win the WHL Championship, in the Eastern Conference semis.
Around the OHL
- Ryan Winterton will play in the Western Conference finals with the London Knights against the Sarnia Sting. Winterton, who missed the first half of the year and was traded to London at the deadline, boasts 11 points in nine playoff games.
- Ty Nelson has been productive for the North Bay Battalion with 12 points in 10 games, including four goals from the blue line. His teammate and fellow Kraken prospect Kyle Jackson has nine points in 10 games. North Bay is tied 2-2 in the Eastern Conference semifinals with the Barrie Colts.
- There could be a battle between Kraken prospects in the Eastern Conference finals, as Tucker Robertson and the Peterborough Petes lead their series, 3-1. Robertson has six points in eight games. Are the Petes and the Battalion on a collision course?
In the ‘Q’
Jacob Melanson has 11 points in eight games, and the Sherbrooke Phoenix are rolling in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs. The Phoenix are undefeated, having swept both Blainville-Boisbriand and Drummondville.
- Forward Jani Nyman’s season is over, after Ilves won the Bronze Medal game in the Liiga playoffs. The second-round pick in 2022 notched an assist in the 3-2 win, his only point of the playoffs – Nyman played in six of 12 playoff games.
- Goaltender Niklas Kokko, a second-round selection in 2022, was loaned back to Hermes of the Mestis, Finland’s second league, and he’s played in three playoff games with a .917 save percentage and a 2.31 goals against average (GAA).
- The Seattle Thunderbirds are moving onto the WHL’s Western Conference finals after sweeping the Prince George Cougars. Arizona Coyotes first-round pick Dylan Guenther and Winnipeg Jets first-round pick Brad Lambert have led the way for Seattle with 15 points each. Up next: A showdown with the Kamloops Blazers, the eventual Memorial Cup Host – Kamloops hold an automatic bid to the Memorial Cup, the Canadian Hockey League’s grand prize – who are fresh off a sweep of the Portland Winterhawks.
- Former Everett Silvertips goaltender Dustin Wolf was named the AHL’s goaltender of the year for the second straight season. Wolf, 22, posted a .932 save percentage for the Calgary Wranglers in 55 games and debuted in the NHL for the Flames this season.
- Like Wolf, his head coach, former Everett Silvertips defenseman, cult hero, and assistant coach Mitch Love won the AHL Coach of the Year award for the second straight season.