The Seattle Kraken have made waves ahead of the Expansion Draft’s start, signing pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Jamie Oleksiak to a five-year deal. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the contract carries an average annual value of $4.6MM while CapFriendly adds that the breakdown is as follows:
2021-22: $3.5MM, full no-trade clause
2022-23: $4.25MM, full no-trade clause
2023-24: $6MM, full no-trade clause
2024-25: $5.5MM 16-team no-trade clause
2025-26: $3.75MM 16-team no-trade clause
Oleksiak had a coming-out party in last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, playing a crucial role on Dallas’ second pairing with Miro Heiskanen on the Stars’ run to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final. Oleksiak’s strong play continued into 2020-21, earning him this big payday.
Averaging over 20 minutes a night last season, Oleksiak’s defensive results improved with his ice time. Cementing himself as a true top-four body, it’s entirely possible that Oleksiak finds himself on a pairing with another new Kraken addition in Adam Larsson. It could end up being one of the better shutdown pairings in the entire league, albeit an expensive one with a combined $8.6MM cap hit between the two. Oleksiak scored 14 points in 56 games last season, so his offensive upside is limited, but he still might provide 25-point potential.
For the Stars, they lose a big minute-munching body. Finding a new partner for Miro Heiskanen will likely come down to securing a new name on the open market. While no-one left on the market will have the size and physical appeal of Oleksiak, there are other acceptable options through free agency.
All salary cap information via CapFriendly.com.