The Seattle Kraken have added another piece to their already-deep blue line. In confirming earlier reports that they had signed RFA forward Alex True, the team also added that they had signed UFA defenseman Connor Carrick. Carrick has signed a one-year, two-way contract with an NHL salary of $800K.
Carrick, 27, is a veteran of 241 NHL games and 158 AHL games. A player often regarded as too good for the minors, where his career scoring rate is over a half-point per game, but just not quite the caliber of an NHL starter. As a result, Carrick has bounced around in his young career and multiple teams have tried to be the ones to turn the known AHL commodity into a breakout star. Through stints with the Washington Capitals, Toronto Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars, and New Jersey Devils, Carrick has played well enough at the top level, but has failed to lock down a regular role. In eight pro seasons, only twice has he played in more than half of his team’s games – both with Toronto several years ago.
Carrick seems always on the cusp of taking on a larger role in the NHL and perhaps Seattle will finally provide a starting opportunity. On paper, the blue line looks full. Expansion Draft selections Mark Giordano, Jamie Oleksiak, Adam Larsson, Carson Soucy, Vince Dunn, Jeremy Lauzon, Haydn Fleury, Cale Fleury, Will Borgen, and Dennis Cholowski are all NHL defensemen and none of the younger players remain waivers-exempt. Even without Carrick, this defense corps seems bound to be broken up, even with Kurtis MacDermid also traded. The Kraken will have to chip that number down from ten to at least eight. How could Carrick benefit? If one of the departures is a right-hander like Cale Fleury or Borgen, suddenly Carrick is the third-highest righty defenseman on the depth chart. That won’t be enough to crack the Opening Night roster, but in the even of an injury could open the door for a long-term role. In the meantime, the well-liked veteran will be looked upon as a leader for Seattle’s AHL prospects.