Some additional Kraken housekeeping done Friday has all but one of the team’s remaining expansion draft selections under contract.
The Kraken signed defenseman Cale Fleury, 22, and winger Carsen Twarynski, 23, to a pair of $750,000, two-way contracts, meaning both will likely begin the season in the minors. The $750,000 amount would be earned only for time in the NHL, and both would make several times less than that in the American Hockey League.
The Kraken has an estimated $9 million in salary-cap space remaining for the coming season.
“Cale is a smooth skater that has shown even at his young age to be a responsible defender that can play reliable minutes,” Kraken general manager Ron Francis said in a team statement. “We like his mix of physicality and puck-moving skills and are excited to see him develop with our organization.”
On Twarynski: “Carsen plays a physical, high-energy game and we like his tenacity and willingness to compete. He plays a responsible game and we like his motor.”
The Kraken made qualifying offers last month to all seven restricted free agents taken in the draft and — with Fleury and Twarynski reaching deals — only defenseman Dennis Cholowski, 23, remains unsigned. Restricted free agents are severely limited in movement under NHL rules and rarely leave their teams once a qualifying offer has been made.
Of 30 players taken by the Kraken in the draft, 24 are signed and Cholowski is the only one still with the team that isn’t under contract. Goalie Vitek Vanecek and forward Tyler Pitlick were traded to the Washington Capitals and Calgary Flames, respectively, for second-round draft picks, and defenseman Kurtis McDermid went to Colorado for a fourth-round selection. Unrestricted free agent (UFA) defenseman Gavin Bayreuther re-signed with Columbus, and forward John Quenneville took a tryout deal with a team in Switzerland.
NHL rules stated the Kraken had to take a player from all 30 teams subject to the draft — Vegas was exempt — but nothing obligated them to keep everyone. The Kraken did not make offers to Bayreuther or Quenneville, meaning Francis effectively “punted” the picks to fulfill the draft-rule requirement and nothing else. Other UFAs taken in the draft — goalie Chris Driedger and defensemen Adam Larsson and Jamie Oleksiak — agreed to deals with the Kraken ahead of being selected.