Quick List of Kraken's Off-Season To Do List
The Stanley Cup Playoffs continue to roll on... faster than many anticipated. Seattle is still licking their wounds from their second round exit but eager to start planning for next season.
Here is a quick list of Seattle's crucial off-season needs and plan:
1) Sign Vince Dunn
When Dunn was first selected by the Kraken in expansion, the hope was he would turn into a reliable top 4 defenseman for the team. After a first year with plenty of good and bad moments, Dunn exploded in his contract year with 64 points in 81 games and establishing himself as a legitimate top pairing option.
Dunn is an RFA and is about to get paid and deservedly so. How Francis negotiates with Dunn and his camp and how expensive the contract is will greatly effect what else the team is able to do in the off-season.
2) Sign Soucy
There is going to be a ton of interest around the big defender Carson Soucy. The 6'5 28 year old continues to be a reliable and tough to play against option on the blueline. I could see teams that are willing to throw 3 million dollars at this player. The Wild decided they didn't want him and Seattle was more than happy to take him. I know sports is a tough gig but maybe there is enough good will there for Soucy to take a lower dollar amount and stay with the team he has had success with.
3) Make Gourde Captain
Gourde is the heart and soul guy of this team. Beniers and Wright may be the future but Gourde has seen it all and is respected by every play in that dressing room. Making Gourde captain is also smart because he has two years remaining on his deal. Let Gourde captain the team for the next two seasons and after that let one of the young guys take over.
4) Speed on the Blueline
One of the big reasons why Seattle improved so much between years 1 and 2 was that Ron Francis focused on adding speed through the forward core after feeling like his team was too slow. It worked in spades as players like Burakovsky, Sprong, Tolvanen, and Bjorkstrand added much needed skill to the roster.
Francis now needs to look at doing the same on the blueline which may be a reason why Soucy isn't back. The blueline is already patrolled by tougher bigger players in guys like Larsson and Oleksiak. Seattle needs at least another top 4 defender and preferably someone who is adept at transitioning the puck out of the defensive end.
5) Keep Draft Picks
Seattle has 10 draft picks in this years NHL Entry Draft. After making it to the second round there is going to be temptation to make trades to bolster the roster and push to go all in. Seattle isn't remotely close to doing that yet. This is a good team and Francis needs to trust the players that got them there this season.
More importantly is the best NHL teams have a steady flow of young prospects who push for roster spots and bolster the roster. We saw that in Tye Kartye in the post season.
Seattle has some young exciting prospects but you can never have enough, especially as a new expansion team.
Thanks for reading