Even though Morgan Geekie and Daniel Sprong were not tendered qualifying offers, we still don’t expect any ground-breaking moves by the Seattle Kraken when free agency opens Saturday at 9 a.m. Pacific. Let’s examine the roster position by position to see where opportunities exist to add to the team.


The Kraken are pretty set in net with Philipp Grubauer locked in and Chris Driedger and now Joey Daccord expected to battle it out for the backup goaltender spot. The Kraken have already added Czech goaltender Ales Stezka, who is likely earmarked to spend the season in Coachella Valley for the Firebirds. The Kraken also signed their 2022 NHL Entry Draft goaltender Niklas Kokko to his entry-level contract earlier this year, but there is a good possibility he plays at least one more year in Finland. The Kraken may add one more goalie for depth, but in all likelihood, anyone they add would be the type of goalie that bounces between the AHL and ECHL.


The only departure from the blue line this offseason appears to be defenseman Carson Soucy. If you blinked, you might have missed it, but the Kraken did trade for left defenseman Jaycob Megna back in February. He only drew into six regular-season games and did not register a point. On the right side, Cale Fleury was with the Kraken all season but only played 12 games.

Unfortunately for Fleury, the right side is relatively set with Adam Larsson, Will Borgen, and Justin Schultz still in the fold. There are certainly opportunities to improve on both sides of the defense corps, so signing someone in free agency might create a scenario where somebody else gets traded. This might be the reason we are hearing occasional Borgen trade rumors.

The biggest opportunity to improve is on the left side, but the challenge is that Seattle has Ryker Evans waiting in the wings. He probably needs one more year in the AHL before he is ready to make the jump to the NHL, though. Ideally the team signs a significant upgrade on the left side for just one year, but who is out there that would actually be an upgrade and would take that short of term?

The good news is that based on the expected large salary cap increase for the 2024-25 season, there might be a few skilled defensemen willing to sign a one-year contract with the expectations they can cash in next offseason as teams have more money to spend against the cap. Connor Clifton or Niko Mikkola could fit that profile, or the Kraken could hold out to see who needs a home later in the summer. The dream scenario is if Matt Dumba does not like what he sees long term and is willing to sign a one-year deal like John Klingberg did last free agent period.

On the right side of the defense corps, the Kraken could swing a little harder with the intent that any right D they add probably means someone else is moving out. The challenge here is that the free agent pool is limited. It is not clear if you could get him on a reasonable deal, but Klingberg could fit this scenario. He could step into one of the power play units that struggled at times this season and should be available for significantly less than what he was looking for last year. Still, at 30 years old and even at a discount, is he worth the defensive risk?


With Sprong, Geekie, and Ryan Donato hitting free agency, that opens the door for three forward spots on the squad. It is unlikely the Kraken will fill all those spots with free agents, though, considering who they have knocking on the door.

First there is Tye Kartye. Kartye took his opportunity by the horns in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and scored five points in 10 games, including a goal in his first game that had Kraken fans immediately buying jerseys with his number on them. He has proven he is ready for the NHL, but even if the Kraken do not make any moves, I don’t think he is a lock to make the club out of training camp.

If you recall, Kartye drew into the lineup because Jared McCann was injured on the Cale Makar hit. I expect McCann to take his appropriate spot back in the lineup when the season starts, so that would shuffle Kartye to the fourth line. Keep in mind the Kraken fourth line acts more like a third line, and Kartye could fit in nicely as a Sprong replacement.

With all respect to Kartye, there is another player that had a very good season in Coachella Valley that might be competing for a spot: Kole Lind. Lind had 30 goals and 32 assists, compared with Kartye’s 28 goals and 29 assists. The difference is Lind is a right winger and Kartye is a left winger, but Brandon Tanev can play either side. If either Kartye or Lind claims a spot on the fourth line, Tanev can flip to the other side.

And then there is Shane Wright. Wright’s eligibility for the AHL next season is still in doubt, and there is still a decent possibility that he makes the Kraken out of camp. If he does make the team, that takes another spot. If Shane is ruled eligible for the AHL next season, that is good news for the Kraken, as they can move him up and down to the AHL without requiring waivers. The same goes for Kartye. If both Kartye and Wright spend most of the season in the AHL, that opens one spot for free agency.

That all adds up to complexity in the Kraken’s approach to forwards in free agency Saturday and beyond. It sure feels like they need to add a center, and of the available free agents, Evan Rodrigues might be the perfect upgrade the Kraken are looking for.

Additionally, I am sure they would love to add a bit more goal scoring, but so does everyone else, which could translate to an overpay. Maybe the Kraken end up adding a Vladimir Tarasenko, Jason Zucker, or Tomas Tatar in the hopes they can fill the gap for the departure of Sprong. For any of those three players, the Kraken might need to sign a longer-term contract than they are comfortable signing, but there are several forward contracts rolling off the books the next few years. So, perhaps that could make it more palatable?

Change is necessary to get better

If we expect the Kraken to improve next season, they must make changes to the roster. We have already seen two fan favorites likely leave after the team chose to not qualify Sprong and Geekie, and trades could still come to add skill to the club. These next few days will be very telling of how the Kraken will shape up next season.

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