Seattle Kraken trade rumors: How GM Ron Francis should approach the franchise’s first deadline
It was a season of firsts for the Kraken in the NHL. First match, first goal, first victory. Now, just around the corner, comes the franchise’s first NHL trade deadline. General Manager Ron Francis has the opportunity to sell some assets and gain capital that can be invested in the future of this team.
The first season was not good in Seattle.
It wasn’t long before the fantasy of repeating the success of the Golden Knights in their first season was thrown out the window. The Kraken are a team that lack star power all around, with weaknesses in both offense and defense holding the team back.
So far, the Kraken have amassed an 18-27-6 record while averaging the third-lowest goals per game (2.57) and giving up the fourth-most goals per game (3.59). ). It’s clear the team should be sellers by the deadline.
The focus must be on the future. Francis can collect draft picks and prospects at the deadline to build an identity that this team lacks. He swung and missed the expansion draft and free agency last offseason.
Let’s see if he can catch up by the deadline.
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Who should the Kraken trade?
Any pending free agents that the Kraken don’t feel they can/want to extend should be on the trade block.
The Kraken have already extended center Jared McCann to a five-year contract, locking him into their future plans. The rest? If a contract extension doesn’t come, there’s no reason not to try and secure assets for those players who will be walking free in free agency.
Seattle now has five pending UFAs on the roster in addition to seven RFAss. RFAss are more difficult to move due to the qualifying offer having to be extended to the player by the team owning their rights, but if a team is interested they should facilitate a trade.
Here are Kraken’s top trading assets that they should be looking to trade.
It is the centerpiece of the Kraken. ESPN’s Emily Kaplan said it was almost certain Giordano would be moved on the deadline day.
It is among the top rankings of most experts for business purposes and rightly so. The 38-year-old defenseman would be a great addition to a contender’s blue line, with his ability to jump quickly and move the puck quickly and efficiently out of his own zone.
Giordano has 23 points in 55 games for Seattle this season.
While Giordano is the belle of the ball among those in Seattle’s trading bloc, it’s Jarnkrok who is perhaps the most valuable to a potential buyer.
Jarnkrok does it all – he can play wing or center, can be used on the shorthanded and on the power play, and is responsible in all three areas of the ice. Plus, it carries with it a very reasonable cap of $2 million. The Swedish forward has 26 points in 49 games this season in Seattle.
Johansson is used to being a commercial chip. He has been traded three times in his NHL career, once at the deadline in 2017, moving from the Devils to the Bruins.
Like Jarnkrok, he is versatile in both his positioning and his responsibilities and would fit in well in the last six of a good team. He has a cap of just $1.5 million this season and has 23 points in 49 games.
If a team needs a forechecking forward, Blackwell could be that guy. The 28-year-old followed a solid 2020-21 campaign in New York with a respectable season in Seattle. He has 16 points in 37 games with the Kraken and can play a deep role in a deep team.
One of seven RFAs in Kraken’s roster, Fleury has shown signs of becoming a promising young defender, but hasn’t had a ton of opportunities. He skated in just 31 games with Seattle, recording three points, and has one of the highest plus/minus on the team, at -1. Despite his offensive advantage, he’s been knocked out in almost half of the games this season.
If Seattle isn’t considering extending a qualifying offer to Fleury, it would be wise to find a suitor willing to take a risk on the 2014 first-round pick.
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What should the Kraken trade for?
Draft pick. Collect as many as you can.
Considering what the Kraken currently have on their roster, we won’t be expecting high-end picks in return. But there’s no reason Seattle can’t get a first-round pick for Giordano.
The rest of their potential trade assets should bring mid-range draft picks to the organization. Right now, their only top prospect is Matty Beniers, who will be the face of the franchise in a few seasons. But the Kraken needs to start filling the pipeline with potential NHL players to surround the potential star.
At this point, the closet is empty in Seattle. It’s not their fault, that’s how expansion teams start. But it doesn’t matter if these selections are in the third, fourth or even seventh round. Take as many as possible.
If a lead can be acquired, then that’s another step in the right direction. But again, maybe a top player comes out of a Giordano trade, otherwise the Kraken won’t expect top youngsters to come back.
Will the Kraken be a team of salary cap brokers?
The Kraken have the extra cap space to help a team that’s running out of cap and looking to acquire a player, coming in as a third team to help negotiate a deal.
Francis has already made it clear that the Kraken are willing to use the space to support a percentage of player salaries that are traded. This way, a competitor getting the player can put him under the cap, while the Kraken will be compensated for taking the extra money.
If Seattle goes that route, they could get a fourth- or fifth-round pick for next to nothing. That cap space isn’t being used this season, so why not add part of a contract to their cap and get a draft pick in return?