The week of the Kraken continues.
Following Wednesday’s franchise-building expansion draft, Seattle now takes part in its first of many annual NHL events — the entry draft.
The more traditional draft will see the Kraken add amateur prospects to its organization for the first time in franchise history. Seattle selected Michigan center Matthew Beniers with the No. 2 overall pick in Friday’s first round. The Kraken then picks third in each of the next six rounds starting at 8 a.m. Saturday.
Follow along with our live updates throughout the 2021 NHL entry draft for full coverage and analysis of the Kraken’s very first amateur draft class.
2nd-7th rounds: Saturday, 8 a.m. PT, NHL Network
Kraken 2021 entry draft class
Here’s a look at each of the picks in the Kraken’s first amateur draft class in franchise history.
What to know about Justin Janicke
Round 7, Pick 195: Justin Janicke, Seattle Kraken
Birthdate: June 30, 2003
Birthplace: Maple Grove, Minnesota
Position: Left wing
Height, weight: 6-0, 181
Last team: U.S. national U-18 team/U.S. development program
Notable: Played most of the 2020-21 season with the U.S. national U-18 team, appearing 43 times. … Scored 12 goals and assisted on 16, finishing with 28 points. … Committed to Notre Dame for the 2021-22 season. … Also appeared 18 times with the USNTDP Juniors, scoring four and assisting six. … Son of former Notre Dame hockey player Curtis Janicke and brother of current Notre Dame player and former Anaheim Ducks draft pick Trevor Janicke.
Quotable: “I spent a lot of time training. Working to get quicker, faster, stronger. I wanted to get a quicker, stronger shot, spent a lot of time in the backyard with my dad and brother shooting. I think I can always get quicker and faster.” – Justin Janicke, on USA Hockey’s website
Seattle Kraken selects Justin Janicke with No. 195 in the seventh round
The Kraken’s final pick in the seventh round, 195th overall, was used on Minnesota native Justin Janicke, 18, a forward from the U.S. National Team Development Program slated to play next season for the University of Notre Dame.
What to know about Semyon Vyazovoi
Round 6, Pick 163: Semyon Vyazovoi, Seattle Kraken
Birthdate: Feb. 3, 2003
Birthplace: Ufa, Russia
Height, weight: 6-2, 167
Last team: Tolpar Ufa/Russia Junior Hockey League (MHL)
Notable: Played 26 games for Tolpar Ufa in the MHL, Russia’s junior hockey league in 2020-21. … Had a goals-against average of 2.06 and a save percentage of .939. … Tolpar Ufa was 14-9-1 with him in net. … Had three shutouts and made 794 saves in 1,454 minutes, allowing 50 goals.
Seattle Kraken selects Semyon Vyazovoi at No. 163 in sixth round
Round 6, Pick 163: Semyon Vyazovoi, Seattle Kraken
Height, weight: 6-2, 169
What to know about Jacob Melanson
Round 5, Pick 131: Jacob Melanson, Seattle Kraken
Birthdate: April 22, 2003
Birthplace: Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada
Position: Right wing
Height, weight: 5-11, 201
Last team: Acadie-Bathurst Titan/Quebec Major Juniors Hockey League
Notable: Spent the 2020-21 season with Acadie-Bathurst Titan, playing 18 games in his second QMJHL stint. … Accumulated 19 total points, eight goals and 11 assists. … Scored two goals and added an assist in five playoff games for Titan. … Spent his first QMJHL season with the Quebec Ramblers during 2019-20, appearing 39 times, scoring three goals and assisting seven more, but he missed several games because of a shoulder injury.
Quotable: “I hope to play some top minutes and bring energy to the team. I want to develop coming into the next couple of years and be part of something special.” – Melanson, to SaltWire
Seattle Kraken drafts Jacob Melanson at No. 131 in fifth round
Round 5, Pick 131: Jacob Melanson, Seattle Kraken
Position: Right wing
Height, weight: 5-11, 190
Amateur league, team: QMHJL, Acadie-Bathurst
What to know about Ville Ottavainen
Round 4, Pick 99: Ville Ottavainen, Seattle Kraken
Birthdate: Aug. 12, 2002
Birthplace: Oulu, Finland
Height, weight: 6-4, 201
Last team: JYP Jyvaskyla/Liiga
Notable: Spent most of the 2020-21 season on loan at JYP Jyvaskyla in the Finish Liiga from the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers, appearing in 22 games in Finland. … Scored once and assisted two for JYP. … Also spent time with JYP’s J20 team, and with KeuPa HT in Mestis, Finland’s second division. … In lone OHL season with Kitchener, appeared in 53 games, scoring four goals and assisting on 11 for 15 points. … Signed with JYP through the 2023-24 season. … Son of former finish hockey player Risto Ottavainen.
Quotable: “Life has been pretty normal here in Finland. I’d been able to go to the gym since June, like it’s been pretty good here, so I’ve been working out a lot and just preparing for next season.” – Ottavainen, to Popternative
Seattle Kraken selects defenseman Ville Ottavainen at No. 99 in fourth round
The Kraken used its fourth-round selection, 99th overall, on Finnish defenseman Ville Ottavainen, 18, a right-handed shooter running 6-foot-4, 201 pounds. He played 2019-20 in the OHL with the Kitchener Rangers, then for JYP of Finland on both its junior and pro level squads last season during the pandemic.
What to know about Kraken pick Ryan Winterton
Round 3, Pick 67: Ryan Winterton, Seattle Kraken
Birthdate: Sept. 4, 2002
Birthplace: Markham, Ontario, Canada
Height, weight: 6-2, 190
Last team: Hamilton Bulldogs/Ontario Hockey League
Notable: Did not play during the 2020-21 season as COVID-19 shut down the OHL. … Most recently appeared in seven games at the U-18 World Championships with Canada, notching two goals and two assists. … Made OHL debut in the 2019-20 season, playing in 53 games for the Hamilton Bulldogs. … Scored 12 goals and assisted 11 in his lone OHL season. … Brother of former OHL and current University of Guelph player Jacob Winterton.
Seattle Kraken drafts center Ryan Winterton at No. 67 in third round
With its third-round pick, the Kraken took center Ryan Winterton, 18, of the Ontario Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs. With the OHL season cancelled by the pandemic, Winterton’s only serious playing time came with Team Canada at the IIHF Under-18 World Championship in Frisco, Texas, where he scored two goals and added two assists in seven games with Francis and Kraken scouts in attendance.
Winterton’s lack of playing time likely caused his draft stock to tumble, so the Kraken securing him at No. 67 overall is a bit of a bonus.
Round 3: Pick Nos. 65-66
No. 65: Center Jayden Grubbe, New York Rangers
No. 66: Right wing Sasha Pastujov, Anaheim Ducks
Round 2: Pick Nos. 61-63
No. 61: Defenseman Sean Behrens, Colorado Avalanche
No. 62: Center Colton Dach, Chicago Blackhawks
No. 63: Center Riley Kidney, Montreal Canadiens
Round 2: Pick Nos. 55-60
No. 55: Defenseman Vincent Iorio, Washington Capitals
No. 56: Defenseman Evan Nause, Florida Panthers
No. 57: Left wing Matthew Knies, Toronto Maple Leafs
No. 58: Center Tristan Broz, Pittsburgh Penguins
No. 59: Center Samuel Helenius, Los Angeles Kings
No. 60: Defenseman Janis Moser, Arizona Coyotes
Round 2: Picks No. 44-54
No. 44: Defenseman Aleksi Heimosalmi, Carolina Hurricanes
No. 45: Left wing William Stromgren, Calgary Flames
No. 46: Right wing Samu Tuomaala, Philadelphia Flyers
No. 47: Center Logan Stankoven, Dallas Stars
No. 48: Defenseman Artem Grushnikov, Dallas Stars
No. 49: Defenseman Ben Roger, Ottawa Senators
No. 50: Right wing Nikita Chibrikov, Winnipeg Jets
No. 51: Right wing Ville Koivunen, Carolina Hurricanes
No. 52: Center Aatu Raty, NY Islanders
No. 53: Left wing Aleksandr Kisakov, Buffalo Sabres
No. 54: Defenseman Jack Peart, Minnesota Wild
Recapping Nos. 36-43 in second round
No. 36: Defenseman Shai Buium, Detroit Red Wings
No. 37: Right wing Josh Doan, Arizona Coyotes
No. 38: Defenseman Daniil Chayka, Vegas Golden Knights
No. 39: Center Zack Ostapchuk, Ottawa Senators
No. 40: Defenseman Scott Morrow, Carolina Hurricanes
No. 41: Right wing Danila Klimovich, Vancouver Canucks
No. 42: Center Francesco Pinelli, Los Angeles Kings
No. 43: Left wing Ilya Fedotov, Arizona Coyotes
What to know about Kraken pick Ryker Evans
Round 2, Pick 35: Ryker Evans, Seattle Kraken
Birthdate: Dec. 13, 2001
Birthplace: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Height, weight: 5-11, 181
Last team: Regina Pats/Western Hockey League
Notable: Played 24 games for the Regina Pats in 2020-21, his third season with the team. … Recorded three goals and 25 assists for 28 points. … Made 63 appearances for the Pats in 2019-20, scoring seven and assisting 24. … Debuted in WHL during 2018-19 season. … This is his second draft after going unselected in 2020, and he is eligible for the AHL immediately. ... Has never committed fewer than 32 minutes in penalties in a WHL season. … Son of former UMass and Canadian hockey player Mike Evans and brother of Payten Evans, a women’s prospect committed to Merrimack College in the NCAA.
Quotable: “I worked extremely hard to prove myself to those guys who passed me over in last year’s draft. All I was looking forward to was competing every night and showing my skill and my abilities on the ice. Obviously it was really exciting to see my hard work start to pay off. It was a fun 24 games, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” – Evans, to the Regina Leader-Post
Seattle Kraken selects defenseman Ryker Evans at No. 35
Kraken general manager Ron Francis on Saturday pulled out his first surprise of the NHL draft, taking Regina Pats defenseman Ryker Evans with his second-round selection.
The Kraken has the third pick of each of the final six rounds after using its No. 2 overall selection Friday on University of Michigan center Matty Beniers, a move most pundits saw coming. But few pundits expected Evans, 19, a 5-foot-11, 181-pound lefthanded shooter who led all Western Hockey League blue-liners with 25 assists in 24 games last season, to go this high.
Though there’s some debate over whether Beniers will return to school or start his career with the Kraken this fall, none of the prospects taken Saturday are expected to debut right away. Evans being a year older than most draft selections makes it likely he could fill out some of the Kraken’s American Hockey League roster.
What to know about the top 10 players picked on Day 1 of the NHL entry draft
Here’s a look at the top 10 picks from Friday’s first round of the NHL entry draft.
From Friday: Kraken makes Michigan center Matty Beniers the first NHL entry draft pick in franchise history
Kraken general manager Ron Francis was known throughout his Hall of Fame career for his unrelenting center play at both ends of the ice.
And Friday night, he selected arguably the best eligible, two-way amateur center on the planet in Matthew Beniers, 18, with the No. 2 overall pick in the NHL entry draft. Beniers, a 6-foot-1, 175-pounder from Hingham, Massachusetts — who prefers to go by “Matty” and whose last name is pronounced “Beh-neers” — ranked third in scoring with 24 points on the powerhouse University of Michigan squad his recently completed, pandemic-shortened, freshman season.
Will Seattle fans be chanting Kraken draft pick Matty Beniers’ name next season?
Despite what the draft board says, it’s MattyBeniers. He never felt like a Matthew or a Matt, so Matty it is.
It’s better that way, though, isn’t it? If you’re going to be Seattle’s next sports superstar, it’s nice to have a distinct first name.
No, this column isn’t saying Beniers is a lock to become a perennial All-Star or Hart Trophy candidate. He’s 18, could use another 20 pounds of muscle and might not even play in the NHL next year.
But with all the Kraken craze pervading Seattle, why not wonder just how spectacular this kid could be? Why not imagine a day when Matty Mania sweeps the city?
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