KRAKEN

Who Seattle Kraken can target in 2nd round with 4 NHL Draft picks

Jun 22, 2022, 12:45 PM
Seattle Kraken Reid Schaefer...
Reid Schaefer of the Seattle Thunderbirds skates during Game 3 of the WHL Championship in Kent. (Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images)

We are a few short weeks away from the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal, and it could prove to be a busy couple of days for the Seattle Kraken. With the fourth overall pick on July 7, Seattle should be able to snag a top-end player in the first round. But what about Day 2 on July 8?

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General manager Ron Francis acquired a number of extra picks at last spring’s NHL trade deadline, and this draft the Kraken have four picks in the second round. Starting at 35, the third pick in the second round, the Seattle Kraken also hold the 49th, 58th, and 61st picks.

Francis has said publicly that he hopes not to use all four of those picks, hoping they can be extra capital to sweeten potential trades. If that doesn’t happen, then the Kraken will be in a spot to pick up prospects to start filling their system, which right now is small. Not the worst consolation prize.

Second-rounders are not as flashy as the top of the draft guys, and there is no guarantee that they will end up being contributors at the NHL level. But the more players you pick, the better your chances are, and that might be where Francis strikes some gold.

Who are these second-rounders?

It’s nearly impossible to try and predict which players will be available when the Seattle Kraken picks come up. There is too much happening in the first round and it’s too soon to know who will fall, who will rise, and which surprise pick could change the draft’s whole outlook.

With that in mind, here is a list of names to keep an eye on as the Kraken picks are on deck. Seattle needs offense and goal scorers so most of these names have that in common.

None of these names are players who will be in the NHL next season. They’ll all need at least one more year of development in the amateur ranks, but they would give the Kraken a more robust pipeline of talent, and it’s expected to see Kraken draft picks on the ice at Seattle’s development camp that will be held at the Northgate facility from July 10-14.

Top of the second round

Reid Schaefer: Forward, Seattle Thunderbirds, 6 foot 3, 213 pounds

Right in the Kraken’s backyard, Schaefer is a big power forward who can skate and has an offensive touch. Playing in his first full season with Seattle in the WHL, Schaefer broke out with 32 goals and 58 points in 66 games. He was a big part of the Thunderbirds’ playoff run where he had 21 points in 25 games.

Schaefer has been one of the biggest risers in the draft, and there has been some speculation that he won’t last until the second round and instead will go late in the first. If he’s still there, the Kraken could make him their first local player taken through the entry draft.

Jagger Firkus: Forward, Moose Jaw Warriors, 5-10, 154 pounds

Not just a cool name, Firkus is a dynamic scorer whose size has him ranked as a second-rounder in the draft. He made a statement for himself at the CHL Top Prospects game this winter where he might have been the best player on the ice. With the Warriors, he scored 36 goals and 80 points in 66 games. He can score and distribute the puck as well as anyone.

The big question is his size. Can he play the same at the next level? If the Kraken, or any other NHL club, thinks the answer to that is yes, he’ll be a second-round steal.

Middle of the round

Kasper Kolunummi, Defense, Jokerit, 6-0, 174 pounds (video)

The Kraken could use puck-moving defensemen in their system and Kolunummi could provide that. Playing with Jokerit’s U-20 club, he showed NHL skill-level skating while scoring three goals with 26 assists for 29 points in 40 games. Kolunummi is probably a good two to three years away from the NHL so don’t expect instant help.

Matyas Sapovaliv: Center, Saginaw Spirit, 6-3, 183 pounds

As a big forward that plays hard and with high-end skill, Sapovaliv impressed in his first season playing in North America with Saginaw, scoring 18 goals and 52 points in 68 games. He has a ton of experience playing internationally with Team Chzechia, which should help him make the jump to the next level. He would give the Kraken some size at center, which their system could use.

Late Round

Ty Nelson: Defense, North Bay Battalion, 5-10

Nelson is an offense-first defenseman, which the Kraken don’t have a ton of. Nelson piled up 51 points (nine goals, 42 assists) in 66 OHL games. The reason he’s projected as a mid-to-late second-round prospect are questions about play in his own end. He may be a project, but the offensive upside could be worth it.

Cruz Lucius: Forward, USNTDP, 6-0, 185 pounds

The onetime Seattle Thunderbirds draft pick may be flying a little under the radar after injury limited him to just 15 games with the United States Development team, but he showed well at the U18 World Championship, which may have impressed scouts enough to take a chance. He has the skill and scoring touch but is probably a few years away from the NHL. He’s committed to the University of Wisconsin next season.

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