SEATTLE KRAKEN

Kraken make waves by adding a top name in NHL free agency

Jul 1, 2024, 10:00 AM | Updated: 11:28 am

Seattle Kraken Montour Brandon free agency Yanni Gourde...

Brandon Montour of the Florida Panthers takes Yanni Gourde of the Seattle Kraken to the ice in 2022. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

(Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

The Seattle Kraken are making a splash in free agency, adding top defenseman Brandon Montour on Monday morning.

Kraken select Berkly Catton No. 8 overall in NHL Draft

The 30-year-old Montour and Seattle have agreed on a seven-year deal worth $50 million, with the contract carrying an average annual salary cap hit of $7.14 million.

Seattle soon followed up with the addition of forward Chandler Stephenson on another seven-year deal.

Montour, who was a second-round NHL Draft pick by Anaheim in 2014, has played eight seasons in the league split between the Ducks, Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers, the latter or which he just helped win the Stanley Cup. He is considered one of the top free agents this offseason.

“Brandon is a proven winner, and we are thrilled to have him joining our organization,” Seattle Kraken general manager Ron Francis said in a press release. “We’re looking forward to him making his Kraken debut in front of the best fans in the NHL.”

The 6-foot, 199-pound Montour has been one of the highest-scoring defensemen in recent seasons, tying for fifth among players at the position in 2022-23 with 73 points. He had 33 points including eight goals in 66 games this past season, as well as three goals and 11 points in 24 postseason games during the Panthers’ title run.

Mountour averaged 23:27 minutes on the ice per game in 2023-24, which led Florida, was 25 second more on average than the Kraken’s leader, and ranked 26th in the NHL.

The Seattle Kraken add Montour at a critical point for the young franchise. After reaching the playoffs in 2022-23, their second season in the NHL, the Kraken went backwards and finished 34-35-13 for 81 points in the standings, tying them for sixth in the Pacific Division. After falling short of the playoffs, Seattle fired head coach Dave Hakstol and promoted Dan Bylsma, who was at the helm of the team’s AHL affiliate at Coachella Valley, to the position.

Insider Jon Morosi: Why Dan Bylsma is ‘best possible’ coach for Kraken

The Kraken could be in a race to establish a foothold in Seattle’s sports market with the city rumored to be a favorite for NBA expansion that is expected to be announced after the league’s new TV deal is settled.

“I mean, I’ve heard all the rumors that the Sonics might be coming back, and I think the the Kraken want to make sure they’re in a really good place for when or if the Sonics do arrive,” Friedman told Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk in May.

One step the Kraken have taken is a move to televise their games locally on KING 5 and KONG, both of which are free over-the-air channels. Improving the roster in order to make a run at returning to the playoffs no doubt is a priority, as well.

2024 NHL Draft Recap: Every pick the Seattle Kraken made

Seattle Kraken

Seattle Kraken Shane Wright...

Brent Stecker

What’s new Kraken coach Bylsma’s insight on Shane Wright?

New Seattle Kraken coach Dan Bylsma, who coached Shane Wright the last two seasons in the AHL, talked to Bump and Stacy about the 2022 first-round pick.

12 days ago

Seattle Kraken Eeli Tolvanen...

The Associated Press

Kraken, Eeli Tolvanen agree to two-year deal

The Seattle Kraken and Eeli Tolvanen have agreed to terms on a two-year deal. Seattle also inked first-round draft pick Berkly Catton.

18 days ago

Seattle Kraken coach Dan Bylsma...

Tim Booth

After whirlwind stretch, new Seattle Kraken coach Dan Bylsma settles in

Dan Bylsma’s first on-ice duties as Seattle Kraken head coach started Tuesday when the team began development camp for the top prospects in their system and concluded a wild five-week stretch.

19 days ago

Jessica Campbell Seattle Kraken...

Tim Booth

History made as Kraken hire Jessica Campbell as assistant coach

Jessica Campbell will become the first woman to work on the bench of an NHL franchise after the Seattle Kraken hired her as an assistant coach Wednesday.

19 days ago

Seattle Kraken trade Brian Dumoulin...

Brent Stecker

Seattle Kraken make trade to follow up big day in free agency

The Seattle Kraken turned heads with their big day Monday on the free-agent market. On Tuesday, they made another move that was perhaps necessary based on those acquisitions.

21 days ago

Seattle Sonics NBA Boston Celtics sale...

Brent Stecker

Key domino for Seattle Sonics return falling with Celtics for sale?

The return of the Seattle Sonics to the NBA could be one step closer to reality based on news regarding another franchise in the league.

22 days ago

Kraken make waves by adding a top name in NHL free agency