The Seattle Kraken have announced that they have signed goaltender Niklas Kokko to a three year entry-level contract. Kokko was on the roster of Finland’s 2023 IIHF World Junior team but did not see any game action.
The 19-year-old spent the bulk of this past season with Hermes of the Mestis league where he put up fairly pedestrian numbers. Kokko had a 4-6-4 record with a .901 save percentage and a 2.95 goals-against average. Although Kokko didn’t see any game action in the recent World Juniors tournament he did backstop Finland’s U18 squad to a bronze medal at the 2022 U18 IIHF World Juniors.
Kokko was Seattle’s second round pick in the 2022 NHL entry draft and has good size for a young goaltender standing 6’3” tall and weighing around 185 pounds. He will likely fill out a bit more as he gets older, which should help him improve on his numbers. Given what Seattle is doing they must be happy with his development thus far.
It will be interesting to see where Kokko fits into Seattle’s plans. He is a long way from the NHL, but Seattle will be looking to develop him over the next few years to likely be the heir apparent to Philipp Grubauer. Grubauer is signed for another four seasons while Chris Driedger is signed for just one more. The Kraken still have Joey Daccord in the AHL but may let him walk when he becomes a restricted free agent this summer. The only other goaltender of note in the Kraken system is Ales Stezka. He continues to play in Czechia and at the age of 26 it appears that he will likely not be an NHL option for Seattle. With Grubauer signed long term it appears as though Kokko will have ample time to develop in Seattle’s system and could have a golden opportunity in the very near future.