Busy start to NHL offseason? Kraken coach Hakstol gets that sense

Jun 28, 2023, 11:19 AM | Updated: 12:38 pm

The Seattle Kraken were a major player during the last NHL offseason, which helped them get over the hump and make the playoffs in just their second season in the league.

Seattle Kraken NHL Draft primer: Details on their picks, first-round mocks

Not only did the Kraken land one of the more coveted players in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft in Shane Wright, but they made waves last year both in free agency by signing Andre Burakovsky away from the then-Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche and on the trade market with a blockbuster deal to get Oliver Bjorkstrand from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

With the NHL Draft set to begin with the first round on Wednesday night and free agency opening shortly after on Saturday, could Seattle once again be in the middle of a frenzy of transactions?

Seattle Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol talked Wednesday morning with Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports, and he shared his read on that.

“There’s a lot of interesting things that seem to be kind of hanging out there,” Hakstol said. “Sometimes you see there’s an awful lot of talk in the 48 hours or 72 hours leading up to the first round, and all of a sudden nothing happens and it all (goes) up in smoke and everybody moves on about their business. I have a sense that there’s going to be more happening than not. … You know, it just feels that way, it feels a little bit different in that sense to me.”

The Kraken were able to benefit last year from other franchises feeling a crunch with the salary cap, in particular with the Bjorkstrand trade, and that’s likely to be a theme yet again this summer as the NHL officially set the cap Wednesday morning for the 2023-24 campaign at $83.5 million, an increase of just $1 million from last season.

Something else that could help Seattle is that it owns valuable trade capital with 10 picks in the draft, the most of any team in the league. It’s also worth noting that per Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, the Kraken are one of three teams that have checked in with the San Jose Sharks on star Erik Karlsson, who could perhaps be the best player traded this offseason.

Why GM Ron Francis says Kraken could be in position for another big trade

“I think there seems to be some moves that have to be made around the league. So, you know, we’ll be watching all of those pretty closely,” Hakstol said. “… I think there’s some things that have to happen here over the next day or two and beyond that leading into free agency.”

Listen to the full Brock and Salk conversation with Hakstol in either the video or audio player above, or in the middle segment of the podcast at this link.

Matty Beniers of Seattle Kraken wins NHL’s rookie of the year award

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