The Seattle Kraken have signed the first contract extension in franchise history, re-upping with Jared McCann for another five years. Avoiding restricted free agency, McCann’s new deal is worth $25MM and carries an average annual value of $5MM through the 2026-27 season. It will also include a modified no-trade clause in the final four years. CapFriendly provides the full breakdown:
- 2022-23: $5.0MM
- 2023-24: $6.0MM (10-team NTC)
- 2024-25: $5.5MM (10-team NTC)
- 2025-26: $4.25MM (10-team NTC)
- 2026-27: $4.25MM (10-team NTC)
When an expansion team comes into existence, it is often an opportunity for players who have perhaps been a bit overlooked through the early part of their careers. William Karlsson and others found new life in Vegas with the Golden Knights, and McCann has blossomed into a top offensive player in Seattle. Through 50 games, the 25-year-old has already set a career-high with 21 goals, and will soon break his previous high of 35 points (he currently sits at 33). He’s averaging the most ice time of his career, has been moved all over the lineup and is one of the team’s top powerplay options.
It comes as no surprise then that general manager Ron Francis would want to keep McCann in the fold then. The executive released the following statement:
We’re thrilled that Jared has made this long-term commitment to the Kraken and the city of Seattle. Jared has proven this year that he can be a difference maker offensively, and we’re excited to have him as a core part of our organization moving forward.
At the end of this season, McCann was set to become an arbitration-eligible RFA for the final time and could have hit the open market in the summer of 2022. This deal buys out four years of unrestricted free agency and the biggest chunk of his prime. Given his versatility–McCann can play both wing and center–he should be a useful piece to help support young players like Matty Beniers as the Kraken transition away from some of the expansion picks.
Still, there will be some who criticize a decision like this to lock in another mid-twenties player for a big cap hit. The Kraken haven’t been anywhere close to competitive enough this season and are slowly chipping away at that future cap space flexibility. The team has five forwards on the books for at least $4.5MM in each of the next two seasons, despite being one of the lowest-scoring clubs in the league. Three of those–Jaden Schwartz, Alexander Wennberg, and now McCann–are on contracts signed outside of the expansion process, decisions they made free of any league-imposed restrictions.
There is an obvious desire to avoid the bottom of the league standings in the first few years, and extending McCann will certainly help that. But it also seems unlikely that he’ll provide a ton of excess value on a deal like this, meaning it won’t move the needle toward contender status by itself. The team will have to hit on more draft picks and build up the depth of the organization in order to support moves like this and help McCann lead a more dynamic forward group in the years to come.