Year Two begins now.

After posting the third-worst record in the NHL in their debut season, the Kraken select No. 4 overall in the NHL entry draft’s first round on Thursday. Defensemen, such as the Czech Republic’s Simon Nemec, and forwards, including Cutter Gauthier, stand out among the top candidates at that spot.

After a flurry of March trades, Seattle also has four second-round picks, a third-round pick, three fourth-rounders and the third-highest pick in each of the final three rounds on Friday.

The 12-pick haul could be used in many different ways, including trades, as the Kraken begin forging a path to improvement ahead of their sophomore season.

Follow along with our live updates throughout the 2022 NHL entry draft for full coverage and analysis of the Kraken’s second amateur draft class from writers Geoff Baker, who’s in Montreal, and Kate Shefte.


Jump to: Live updates » | Comments »


Draft times:

1st round: Thursday, 4 p.m. PT
2nd-7th rounds: Friday, 8 a.m. PT

TV/Radio/Stream:

ESPN (Thursday), NHL Network (Friday), ESPN Plus

Kraken picks:

1st round, No. 4: Shane Wright, center
2nd round: Nos. 35, 49, 58 and 61
3rd round: No. 68
4th round: Nos. 100, 117 and 123
5th round: No. 132
6th round: No. 164
7th round: No. 169

Shane Wright speaks during a news conference after being selected as the fourth overall pick by the Seattle Kraken during the first round of the NHL hockey draft in Montreal on Thursday, July 7, 2022. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP) GMH123

With Shane Wright, did the Kraken get a No. 1 pick at a discount?

Strange circumstances and the nature of the beast took some of the shine off Shane Wright’s prospects Thursday night at the NHL entry draft in Montreal. Some of it was pandemic upheaval, and the nature of the 2022 draft pool.

“What have you done for me lately?” ended up mattering more than a body of work.

There wasn’t a generational talent in this draft, and Wright, NHL Central Scouting’s top North American skater in the midterm and final rankings, slipped to No. 4 overall, going to a Kraken team that couldn’t have been counting on him. With fellow center Matty Beniers — the No. 2 overall pick in 2021 — the 6-foot, 198-pound Wright is someone to build around.

Read more.

—Kate Shefte
Advertising

Oilers wrap first round with Thunderbirds' Reid Schaefer at No. 32

No. 31: Isaac Howard, Tampa Bay Lightning

No. 30: Brad Lambert, Winnipeg Jets

Advertising

No. 29: Maveric Lamoureux, Arizona Coyotes

Oilers trade Zack Kassian, 29th pick and more for 32nd pick

No. 28: Jiri Kulich, Buffalo Sabres

Advertising

No. 27: Filip Bystedt, San Jose Sharks

Advertising

No. 26: Filip Mesar, Montreal Canadiens

No. 25: Sam Rinzel, Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago trades up into No. 25

Advertising

No. 24: Danila Yurov, Minnesota Wild

No. 23: Jimmy Snuggerud, St. Louis Blues

No. 22: Nathan Gaucher, Anaheim Ducks

Advertising

No. 21: Owen Pickering, Pittsburgh Penguins

No. 20: Ivan Miroshnichenko, Washington Capitals

No. 19: Liam Ohgren, Minnesota Wild

Advertising

No. 18: Lian Bichsel, Dallas Stars

No. 17: Joakim Kemell, Nashville Predators

Birthdate: April 27, 2004

Birthplace: Jyvaskylan mlk, Finland

Position: Right wing

Shoots: Right

Height, weight: 5-10, 185

Last team: JYP (Liiga, Finland)

Notable: Got off to a hot start with 12 goals and 18 points last October in his first 16 games with his JYP team in the Liiga. Then he injured his shoulder, which sidelined him until December and led to a noticeable production drop-off. He still led Liiga rookies with 15 goals.

Quotable: “The expectation was that a breakthrough season would be 10 goals or more, and he did that right at the start. … Joakim has good character and likes to compete. It doesn’t matter how big the defenseman he faces in a one-on-one battle is, he always tries to win the situation. The Joakim we saw at the start of the season is the kid we thought he would be.” — JYP sports manager Mikko Viitanen to The Hockey News.

—Kate Shefte
Advertising

No. 15 Jonathan Lekkerimaki, Vancouver Canucks

Birthdate: July 24, 2004

Birthplace: Huddinge, Sweden

Position: Right wing

Shoots: Right

Height, weight: 5-11, 162

Last team: Djurgardens (Swedish HockeyAllsvenskan)

Notable: The word “sniper” has been thrown around a bit to describe Lekkerimaki, who led the World U-18s with 15 points for first-place Sweden. … He had nine points, seven of which were goals, in 26 games with Djurgardens.  

Quotable: “Lekkerimaki has an NHL-caliber shot, with a one-timer or wrist shot he can use to pick corners. He's an excellent skater with good offensive instincts." — Adam Kimelman, NHL.com

—Kate Shefte
Advertising

No. 16: Noah Ostlund, Buffalo Sabres

No. 14: Rutger McGroarty, Winnipeg Jets

No. 13: Frank Nazar, Chicago Blackhawks

Advertising

No. 10: Pavel Mintyukov, Anaheim Ducks

Birthdate: Nov. 25, 2003

Birthplace: Moskva, Russia

Position: Defenseman

Shoots: Left

Height, weight: 6-2, 194

Last team: Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

Notable: Like many OHL players, Mintyukov didn't play competitive hockey in 2020-21 after the league canceled the season due to COVID-19 concerns. He revved up for a strong North American debut, finishing with 62 points (17 goals) in 67 games.

Quotable: "I think my possession's good, and (I) have a good active stick." — Mintyukov at the combine, per NHL.com

—Kate Shefte

No. 12: Denton Mateychuk, Blue Jackets

No. 11: Conor Geekie, Arizona Coyotes

Advertising

Sharks trade up to No. 11

Wright: 'I haven't even reached close to my potential'

No. 7: Kevin Korchinski, Chicago Blackhawks

Birthdate: June 21, 2004  

Birthplace: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Position: Defense

Shoots: Left

Height, weight: 6-2, 185

Last team: Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)

Notable: Nearly a point-per-game player for Seattle, with 65 in 67 games in 2021-22. … Six goals, 13 assists in the Thunderbirds’ 25 postseason contests. … As a rookie he was fourth among WHL defensemen in points, second in assists and seventh in plus-minus (+36). … Among North American skaters, Korchinski — who turned 18 two weeks before the draft — made the biggest jump in the Top 10 from his midterm rank of 20th by NHL Central Scouting to a final spot of No. 7. … His skill and vision has been praised, though several critics say he still needs to fill out.  

Quotable: “The entire package, we were really, really sold on it. We’re ecstatic.” — Kyle Davidson, Chicago general manager, to ESPN.

—Kate Shefte
Advertising

No. 9 Matthew Savoie, Buffalo Sabres

Birthdate: Jan. 1, 2004

Birthplace: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada

Position: Center

Shoots: Right

Height, weight: 5-9, 179

Last team: Winnipeg Ice (Western Hockey League)

Notable: Savoie piled up 90 points (35 goals) in 65 games last season for Winnipeg, good for seventh in the WHL. He exited a series loss against the Edmonton Oil Kings in Game 2 with a shoulder injury. …. He was limited at the draft combine but able to avoid surgery.

Quotable: “A quick, gifted and skilled, albeit undersized, offensive presence who can score goals and make plays. Some NHL scouts see him more as a winger. … But high-end smarts and skill level project him to be a top-six offensive forward in pro.” — Bob McKenzie, TSN

—Kate Shefte

No. 8: Marco Kasper, Detroit Red Wings

Birthdate: April 8, 2004

Birthplace: Innsbruck, Austria

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

Height, weight: 6-2, 187  

Last team: Rogle BK (Swedish Hockey League)

Notable: Recorded 11 points (seven goals) in 46 regular-season games in his first full season in the SHL, Sweden's top pro league. … Was the captain of Austria's World Junior Championship team. He appeared in two games before the tournament was canceled.

Quotable: “Marco Kasper is one of those rare young players that combines a many-years-older maturity with a youthful tenacity to work at getting better at his craft each day. He has a very high degree of hockey intelligence, both at the tight area one-on-one level but all the big picture, team structure perspective.” — Rogle GM Chris Abbott, to The Athletic.

—Kate Shefte

No. 6: David Jiricek, Columbus Blue Jackets

Birthdate: Nov. 28, 2003

Birthplace: Klatovy, Czech Republic

Position: Defense

Shoots: Right

Height, weight: 6-3, 190

Last team: HC Plzen (Czech Extraliga)

Notable: The Spokane Chiefs hold his rights after selecting him 54th overall in the 2020 CHL Import Draft. … Five goals, six assists in 29 games for HC Plzen last season. … Suffered a knee injury at the IIHF World Junior Championships in December, which forced him to miss the rest of the regular season. He returned in time for the IIHF World Championships in May.

Quotable: ““I wanted to play again so bad and show everybody that I was OK. So for three months I went hard every day, in the gym every morning, on the ice as soon as I could be. The goal all along was to get back before the season was finished. … It was a little hard at first, because the tempo is always a little (faster) with the national team. But it was a great feeling to be back and a great experience to play for my country.” — Jiricek to The Athletic.

—Kate Shefte

Chicago selects Seattle Thunderbird Kevin Korchinski at No. 7

What to know about Kraken's pick of Wright

Seattle went with the best available player — in fact, he was considered the best of the 2022 draft class for much of the past few years. Center Shane Wright, who was Choice No. 1A or 1B depending where you looked, is the Kraken's fourth overall pick. According to TSN he has a more mature, well-rounded game and is a better skater than top overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky.

"I want to win here. I want to build something special in Seattle," Wright told ESPN after the pick was announced.

—Kate Shefte

No. 5 Cutter Gauthier, Philadelphia Flyers

Birthdate: Jan. 19, 2004

Birthplace: Skelleftea, Sweden

Position: Center/left wing

Shoots: Left

Height, weight: 6-3, 201

Last team: U.S. National Under-18 Team (NTDP)

Notable: Committed to Boston College and expected to be the Eagles’ top-line center. … Born in Sweden while his goaltender father was playing there, but grew up in and competes for the U.S. … Moved to center last season when Logan Cooley was gone with Team USA's world junior team.

Quotable: “He's been very consistent all year as a point producer, and his game has really evolved into where he can play in all situations, so he can kill a penalty for you because he's got good reach, good positional play without the puck." — NHL Central Scouting senior manager David Gregory.

—Kate Shefte

Kraken select Shane Wright at No. 4

MONTREAL, Quebec — A series of unexpected events has landed the Kraken a centerman widely expected to go No. 1 overall in the NHL entry draft most of the past two years.

Instead, after three teams passed on center Shane Wright of the Ontario Hockey League’s Kingston Frontenacs, the Kraken swooped in and nabbed him at No. 4 overall in Thursday’s opening draft round. That now gives the Kraken two high-end prospects up the middle, with the team having taken Matty Beniers at No. 2 overall last season and planning to have him break training camp with the big club this October.

The stunning events of Thursday’s opening round began with the Montreal Canadiens defying pundits by taking Slovakian winger Juraj Slafkovsky at No. 1 overall instead of the favored Wright. The New Jersey Devils, already stacked up the middle, then opted to pass on centerman Wright as well and picked Slovakian defenseman Simon Nemec at No. 2, who had been widely considered the Kraken’s most likely option.

Read more.

—Geoff Baker

No. 4: Shane Wright, Seattle Kraken

Birthdate: Jan. 5, 2004

Birthplace: Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Position: Center

Shoots: Right

Height, weight: 6 feet, 198 pounds

Last team: Kingston Frontenacs (Ontario Hockey League)

Notable: One of just a handful of players granted exceptional-player status to play in the OHL a year early at age 15. John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid, all first overall picks, were a few of the others. He drew attention with 66 points (39 goals) through 58 games with Kingston during the 2019-20 season. … 2020-21 OHL season wiped out due to COVID-19. … The Frontenacs captain’s 94-point 2021-22 season was considered something of a disappointment.

Quotable: “I’m an offensive player who’s super defensively sound and can be trusted in a lot of different situations. I think I’m someone who’s a smart player. I think the game at a high level, I understand situations on the ice and where the puck’s going, and I understand where my teammates are. I think I can score goals as well. I have a pretty good shot. I can make plays with my passing and my skating.” — Wright, to Sportsnet.

—Kate Shefte

What to know about Coyotes' pick of Cooley

Shane Wright failed to tempt the Arizona Coyotes, who took Pittsburgh native Logan Cooley third overall as widely expected. The Minnesota commit led the U.S. National Team Development Program in points per game (1.47) with 75 (27 goals, 48 assists) in 51 games.

—Kate Shefte

Canadiens make two trades

No. 3: Logan Cooley, Arizona Coyotes

Birthdate: May 4, 2004

Birthplace: Pittsburgh

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

Height, weight: 5-10, 181

Last team: U.S. National Under-18 Team

Notable: Committed to the University of Minnesota. … Praised for his two-way play and faceoff skills. … Among the first group to try hockey through "Sidney Crosby's Little Penguins" program, which covered equipment for the 4- to 7-year-olds in Pittsburgh.

Quotable: "There were so many times where it was like, ‘Holy cow, he set that goal up 10 seconds before we actually scored.’ It’s those subtle little plays that if he didn’t do that or see the play before it was going to happen, the play would have been dead. That’s where I really took an appreciation for what he does and what he can do.” — Brian Mueller, executive director of hockey development and programming for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite program, to The Hockey News.

—Kate Shefte

Coyotes pass on Wright, take Cooley at No. 3

What to know about Devils' pick of Nemec

Now this is a surprise - a 1-2 for Slovakia. The New Jersey Devils selected the first defenseman and a popular Kraken mock draft pick at second overall in Simon Nemec. It was expected Nemec would go behind Shane Wright and Logan Cooley, both of whom remain for the picking.

—Kate Shefte

Devils take defenseman Simon Nemec at No. 2

No. 2: Simon Nemec, New Jersey Devils

Birthdate: Feb. 15, 2004

Birthplace: Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia

Position: Defenseman

Shoots: Right

Height, weight: 6-1, 192  

Last team: HK Nitra (Slovak Extraliga)

Notable: At 15, the youngest player in his native country’s top professional league to record a point. … One goal, 25 assists through 39 games with HK Nitra last season. … One goal, five assists in eight games at the 2022 world championship.  

Quotable: “His defensive ability is great. The thing with him is he wants to have the puck all the time. So it might look like he’s not interested in defense or might be a little bit high risk at times. But that comes from a place where he just really wants to be around the puck and make plays.” — Kraken scouting director Robert Kron to The Seattle Times.

—Kate Shefte

What to know about Canadiens' pick of Slafkovsky

Not a huge surprise, but one all the same - left wing Juraj Slafkovsky is the top overall pick in 2022. He climbed the rankings after Shane Wright (94 points in 63 games) didn't quite meet sky-high expectations in his second year in the Ontario Hockey League. Five of the past 10 No. 1 picks were centers, but now that Wright was passed over by the Montreal Canadians, we have three straight seasons with a defenseman or winger in the top spot.

—Kate Shefte

No. 1: Juraj Slafkovsky, Montreal Canadiens

Birthdate: March 30, 2004  

Birthplace: Kosice, Slovakia

Position: Left wing

Shoots: Left

Height, weight: 6-4, 218

Last team: TPS (Liiga, Finland)

Notable: His stock rose after several high-pressure, highly visible international performances. Scored seven times in seven games for Slovakia at the 2022 Olympics and was named the tournament MVP. Scored three times to go with six assists in eight games at the world championship.

Quotable: “I just want to go early. At the end, it doesn’t really matter where you end up but what kind of chance you get. But it would be nice for Slovak hockey and also for me to go as early as possible, but we will see.” — Slafkovsky to The Athletic.

—Kate Shefte

Canadiens take Slafkovsky at No. 1, passing on Wright

Canadiens on the clock with No. 1 overall pick

Gary Bettman attempts French, is booed

Kraken fans represented at draft in Montreal

National-media roundup: Who will the Kraken take with the No. 4 pick in the NHL draft?

MONTREAL — There are a handful of pressing needs for the Kraken before Thursday’s NHL entry draft.

No one doubts the team needs to score more. It also could use a puck-moving, right-handed-shot defenseman to balance a lefty-heavy squad.

Thing is, team needs present day often change by the time a draft pick bears fruit at the top level. Another thing the Kraken are in desperate need of is minor-league depth, considering the team’s lone draft class of a year ago consists of seven players — six of which will remain in the minors once Matty Beniers makes the big club this fall.

And that means anybody the Kraken chooses at No. 4 overall will automatically ascend to near the top of the prospect depth chart. There are a good four or five candidates on that list; two of them right-handed defensemen in David Jiricek and Simon Nemec, along with three forwards in Cutter GauthierJoakim Kemell and Matthew Savoie.

Not to mention, some dark horses that could slip through given this isn’t considered a premium draft year and many of the candidates seem bunched awfully close together in the top-10. National pundits from both the U.S. and Canada have weighed in with diverging opinions as well.

Read more.

—Geoff Baker

The Kraken have 12 picks in the NHL draft, and here’s how they can use them to improve

MONTREAL — It was 59 years ago that the NHL entry draft launched in this city under circumstances similar and also quite different from today.

Though the hometown Canadiens also held the No. 1 overall pick that year as now, the event then — known as the “amateur” draft — and for the 16 years afterward took place privately in the ballroom of the downtown Queen Elizabeth Hotel, or the Mount Royal Hotel or league’s head office nearby. It wasn’t until 1980 that it became a public draft at the city’s hallowed Forum, where, just one year later a future Hall of Famer named Ron Francis was called to the podium by the Hartford Whalers at No. 4 overall.

“It was an interesting experience,” said Francis, who four decades later makes his first Montreal draft appearance Thursday as a general manager, heading up the Kraken, though he’d attended this city’s 2009 event as a Carolina assistant. “I was supposed to go at No. 5 to Washington, and actually Washington didn’t like me. So they made a deal to get in front of Hartford to go at No. 3. And they took Bobby Carpenter, and Hartford, I think, was more or less left with me at that point.”

Read more.

—Geoff Baker

Why the Kraken could target center Matthew Savoie at No. 4

It’s the little brothers’ turn this week.

Conor Geekie, brother of Kraken forward Morgan, and Matthew Savoie teamed up to clear a path through the Western Hockey League with the Winnipeg Ice. They’re both projected first-round picks in the NHL entry draft, which begins Thursday in Montreal.

Savoie and Geekie are fourth and fifth, respectively, in Central Scouting’s final 2022 draft prospect rankings for North American skaters. Geekie has the size at somewhere around 6 feet 4, and Savoie stands 5-9. Savoie is projected to go higher, however, and is the more likely candidate at No. 4 if the Kraken take a liking to the WHL pair.

Read more.

—Kate Shefte

Finnish forward Joakim Kemell could be just what Kraken need

One month into his first complete season in Finland’s top professional league, Joakim Kemell appeared to have everything the Kraken now badly need in a forward.

Primarily, he put the puck in the net — erupting for 12 goals and 18 points last October in his first 16 games with his JYP team in the Liiga. Then came a shoulder injury, which, though not requiring surgery, sidelined him until December and caused a noticeable production drop-off when Kemell tried to return at something admittedly less than 100% health.

The question now facing NHL teams, including a Kraken squad that should have first crack at Kemell with their No. 4 overall pick in Thursday’s NHL entry draft in Montreal: Would they be getting the dynamic 5-foot-10, 185-pound right wing with a heavy shot that so dominated grown men early on as just a 17-year-old? Or the teenager who appeared somewhat exposed in going pointless his first 14 games back and notching just three additional goals and two assists in nine more games the rest of the way?

Read more.

—Geoff Baker

Why the Kraken could target forward Cutter Gauthier at No. 4

Kraken general manager Ron Francis recently reflected on situations during the team’s first season where Seattle couldn’t get a needed goal despite being firmly on the right side of the shot clock.

The Kraken have the No. 4 pick in the 2022 NHL entry draft, and forward Cutter Gauthier could potentially provide that finishing touch.

Gauthier was second on the U.S. National Team Development Program (NTDP) with 34 goals and fifth with 65 points through 54 games. He’s described as a crafty, versatile power forward with a quick and effective wrist shot considered one of the best available this year.

Six-foot-3, 201-pound Gauthier, bound for Boston College next season, played center and left wing with the NTDP. He recently told The Hockey News he’s expected to be the No. 1 center for the Eagles, who saw their top four scorers turn pro this offseason.

Read more.

—Kate Shefte

Why the Kraken could target defenseman Simon Nemec at No. 4

Slovakian defenseman Simon Nemec was only 15 years old the night he became the youngest player in his native country’s top professional league to notch an actual point.

On Sept. 17, 2019, just days off his pro debut with HK Nitra in Slovakia’s Extraliga, Nemec picked up a secondary assist late in what became a blowout of the visiting MHK 32 squad from the teenager’s hometown of Liptovsky Miulas, near the Polish border. The home crowd of 1,886 fans at Nitra Arena went wild as the assist was announced, a cheering ritual much repeated the next two years, including this past season as Nemec helped guide his squad to a berth in the league championship round. 

Read more.

—Geoff Baker

Why the Kraken could target defenseman David Jiricek at No. 4

A Czech defenseman with a valuable right-handed shot could be an option for the Kraken at No. 4. The knock on 6-foot-3, 190-pound blueliner David Jiricek is that he injured ligaments in his knee in December at the IIHF World Junior Championships and had surgery. He missed the rest of the regular season.

Jiricek returned in time to represent the Czech Republic in the IIHF World Championships in Finland. He had a goal and an assist in five games.

His skating is average and offensive skills aren’t exceptional yet, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie. An offensively inclined defenseman was on Francis’ wish list at the end of the season, among other things.

Jiricek is bigger than fellow top defensive prospect Simon Nemec (more on him later this weekend) with a physical edge. He has a booming shot that he’s proud of.

Read more.

—Kate Shefte

How the next few weeks can set the tone for the Kraken’s second season

While the Kraken’s sophomore season is still months away, events in coming weeks could largely shape how that second campaign unfolds.

Kraken general manager Ron Francis heads to the NHL entry draft in Montreal next week armed with a plethora of picks that may not all be used on youthful prospects. The league’s “buy out” period for teams looking to unload player contracts begins Friday, launching a summer time frame of wheeling and dealing with Francis already on-record saying he’ll be eyeing trades and signings to bolster his NHL squad.

The Kraken finished their debut campaign with the league’s third-worst record at 27-49-6, owing largely to a lack of scoring, inconsistency in their goaltending and limitations in the defense quickly exiting the zone. Francis acquired some of his draft picks at the March trade deadline and, coupled with ample salary cap space, has vowed to use them to get deals done.

“I think with our movement at the deadline and the cap space, we do have the ability to acquire (players) whether it’s via trade, via free agency,” Francis said as the offseason began. “So, we’ll certainly be looking at those areas for sure to try to boost our lineup.”

Read more.

—Geoff Baker