7:17 PM: The Kraken have now officially announced Ottavainen’s signing.
5:22 PM: According to CapFriendly, the Seattle Kraken have signed 2021 99th-overall pick Ville Ottavainen to a three-year entry-level deal set to begin next season. The contract reportedly carries a $876k cap hit with up to $57.5k in yearly performance bonuses. The contract also allocates Ottavainen minor-league salaries of $80k in the first year of the deal and $75k in the following two seasons.
Ottavainen had spent much of his younger days developing as a member of Karpat’s youth system, before choosing to spend his draft season in the OHL with the Kitchener Rangers. Scoring just 15 points in 53 games, the OHL wasn’t the best fit for Ottavainen’s development and he ultimately went undrafted in his first year of eligibility at the 2020 draft.
As an August birthdate, though, there was always the possibility that Ottavainen was simply somewhat of a late bloomer, and upon his return to Finland with JYP he began to take some steps forward.
He was chosen in his second go-around at the draft, landing inside the 2021 class’ top-100 selections, in large part thanks to his big six-foot-five frame and the fact that he got into games with JYP at the Liiga level, a major step up from Kitchener.
Ottavainen established himself as a regular for JYP last season, and scored 14 points in 44 games, averaging just under 16 minutes of ice time per game. This season, he played in he scored 16 points in 51 games and averaged a similar amount of minutes per game.
Now that Ottavainen has more thoroughly filled out his big frame, he’s become a viable two-way defenseman in Liiga with some physicality to boot. While Ottavainen’s presence hasn’t stopped JYP from struggling considerably as a whole over the past few years, he has made himself into a legitimate NHL prospect for the Kraken.
Armed with this entry-level deal, Ottavainen could be in the mix to play for head coach Dan Bylsma’s AHL juggernaut Coachella Valley Firebirds and would give Kraken fans a big, interesting six-foot-five right-shot blueliner to pay attention to.