If there’s a player the Seattle Kraken couldn’t afford to lose for an extended period of time, it’s Jared McCann. The 25-year-old forward has been the team’s best offensive player all season, leading the squad in both goals and points so far. Unfortunately, McCann has now landed on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury, with the Kraken recalling Kole Lind from the AHL to replace him on the roster.
McCann is an interesting case study for those who want to know how the Kraken will approach the next few years. A restricted free agent at the end of this season, he’s put himself in prime position for a substantial raise, either through a long-term extension or the arbitration process. The question now becomes whether it’s the Kraken that are the other signatory on that next contract, or if McCann will be sold off for future assets at some point. That could come at the trade deadline or the offseason, depending on what kind of offers come in the next few weeks (and what kind of injury he’s currently dealing with).
There’s a real argument to be made that any extension with McCann would cover years when the Kraken are still not competitive in the Pacific Division, though the same might have been said during the unrestricted free agent period last summer. Instead of holding onto their cap space and building through the draft, general manager Ron Francis signed multi-year contracts with free agents like Philipp Grubauer, Jaden Schwartz, Jamie Oleksiak, Adam Larsson, and Alexander Wennberg, players that were already in their late-twenties and likely aren’t going to experience much improvement over the production they had already shown. It seemed, at least at the time, like the Kraken were targeting a playoff spot in year one, something that hasn’t come to fruition.
So a long-term deal with McCann would certainly be following their previous path, though the wisdom in that strategy is still up for debate. Alternatively, selling him off at some point before UFA status–he’ll reach the open market in the summer of 2023 if not signed–would signal that perhaps those initial moves were mistakes and that it will take quite a bit longer for the Kraken to reach playoff contender status.
There is of course also the possibility that McCann doesn’t want to stay in Seattle at all and an extension isn’t even possible, though with 21 goals and 33 points through 48 games, he’s already having the best season of his career with the improved offensive deployment.
“though the wisdom in that strategy is still up for debate.”
-Schwartz can’t stay healthy: link to prohockeyrumors.com
-Grubauer has never been a true #1. Last time he played 50 total regular season games was in 2014-15 (49 in the AHL and 1 start in the NHL)
-Driedger is giving off some Darling vibes.
-Oleksiak and Larsson (& Dunn for that matter) are ok 2nd-3rd pair defensemen but are playing way too many minutes.
-And Wennberg. How did that man ever put up 59 points.
Hoping Francis can pull out some Slavins, Pesces, & Ahos out of the next 2-3 drafts for the next guy to build a contender with.
Remember when most hockey fans saw the Kraken disaster coming and the small handful of Appeal to Authority zealots insisted that hockey fans couldn’t possibly know more than NHL GM’s?
And remember when even most writers got it wrong because they all got lost in “cap space is KING!!!” group think?
Sitting on their throne, calling their shots.
What specifically would you have done differently at the draft, without the benefit of hindsight? Its obvious they weren’t getting any Karlsson, Theodore, or Marchessault/Smith deals, and taking on dead money only helps them with picks in the future. I though they would at least be competitive anyways, but that was before the unforeseen improvement of every poor to mediocre team in the Pacific from 2021 to 2022. People had those exact same thoughts about Vegas saying they wouldn’t even win 10 games, and they only went on to make it to the finals.
Pick a lane.
If they wanted to be good, they could have taken better players from many teams (since you said no highsight, JVR over Carson Twerkjskyslukeirueiuny for example…bad now yeah but he was coming off a strong year) or if they wanted to be bad…
WHY sign Larsson and Oleksiak? Plenty of solid D options in the expansion draft. Why waste that royal cap space on Schwartz and Wennberg? Neither moves the needle an inch. Almost $10 million per between them, though.
If they weren’t going to try, all of that cap space should have been used to take on bad deals and gather picks (like Arizona did).
FTR, my assessment of Vegas was that they messed up not taking Eric Staal because I thought they were a top center away from slotting as a nice team…when Karlsson emerged that proved true.
I was ok with the expansion draft (and entry draft.) Couldn’t take all the talent that was available in the expansion and risk immediately losing them to waivers so needed to take guys like Geekie, True, Lind, etc.
I was more talking about the free agents that they signed after the expansion draft.
Figured we’d be in a good position to move out pieces at the deadline and have a shot at Wright and/or Bedard the next couple of years. Surround them (& Matty) w/ like gems that Francis found in Carolina and you’re building a pretty good program.
Still not sure why we decided to lose BOTH him and Tanev.
And, this is hindsight…no one was complaining about this then, but protecting Kapanen over him, not good.
They’re too dumb to play with themselves
Was undisclosed but a doctor just diagnosed it as the Bruins flu