We’re now into the first month of 2023, and it sounds like a good time to check in on some Seattle Kraken prospects. After the excitement of the World Junior Championship, things started heating up as trades were seemingly being made left and right in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). Multiple Kraken prospects were affected.
Meanwhile, their top defensive prospect is continuing to have himself a strong rookie season in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the red-hot Coachella Valley Firebirds. However, let’s kick things off with arguably their most polarizing prospect, Shane Wright.
Shane Wright Shines as Team Canada Captain
Everyone knows the story of the 2023 World Junior Championship was Connor Bedard. However for the Kraken, Wright captaining the team to a gold medal was exactly what they wanted to see. He scored four goals, including one in the gold medal game, and seven points in seven games at the tournament.
Following the victory, he was sent back to the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), though he didn’t return to the Kingston Frontenacs. On Jan. 9, he was traded, along with a 2025 draft pick, to the Windsor Spitfires for two players and seven draft picks spanning three different drafts.
Now playing on his fourth team (including Team Canada) this season, he’s picking up where he left off. He’s scored four goals and six points in three games with the Spitfires. They lead the OHL’s West Division, and going on a deep playoff run is exactly what the Kraken will be hoping for.
Ryker Evans and Coachella Valley Firebirds Both Enjoying Success
The Firebirds currently sit first in the AHL’s Pacific Division, and fighting for first in the entire league. With their success, Ryker Evans’ individual success has followed. He’s scored three goals and 22 points in 34 games, one point back of leading team defensemen in scoring. Nine of his 19 assists have come on the power play, he’s a plus-21, and has one game-winning goal.
One thing I’d like to see from Evans is more shots on goal. He’s only tallied 46 shots this season, and he showed with his 14 goals last year that he does have the ability to find twine. It’s very promising for the Kraken that both Evans and the Firebirds are off to a strong inaugural season, and it’s being acknowledged. He and teammate Andrew Poturalski were selected to represent the team at the 2023 AHL All-Star Classic.
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In regards to Evans, the Kraken have two left-shot defensemen in need of a new contract after this season: Vince Dunn and Carson Soucy. Considering how his season has gone, it looks like Dunn should be sticking around. Now with Soucy, it gets interesting. If the Kraken feel that Evans can make the jump to the NHL next season, it may make Soucy expendable. The decisions may come down to the numbers on a possible Soucy extension, but all the Kraken need from Evans right now is to keep playing well and hopefully enjoy a lengthy playoff run in the AHL.
David Goyette Contending for OHL Scoring Lead
Based on various 2022 Draft rankings, I’d say David Goyette fell from where he should’ve been drafted. Thanks to that, the Kraken may have found a steal at 61st overall. He scored 73 points in 66 games during his draft year, and continues to put up points for the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves so far this season. He’s on pace to surpass last season’s total by a good amount.
His 26 goals and 55 points in 38 games both lead his team and sits him at sixth in the OHL in scoring. He’s scored 15 power-play points, seven goals, and has added a shorthanded assist. One thing I’d really like to see some improvement on is his faceoff percentage; especially considering how the Kraken fare in that department at the moment. He’s only won 45.1 percent of his draws, so I want to see it at around 50 percent by the end of the season. The Wolves need to start picking up some wins, so let’s see if there’s a bump in his point totals over the next few weeks.
Ryan Winterton Is Back in Action
Ryan Winterton has had a smaller sample size than some other Kraken prospects, and that’s because of the injury bug. Luckily, he’s back to playing hockey, however, he’s no longer with the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. He was traded from Hamilton to the London Knights and is already off to a good start.
He’s scored six points in six games, split evenly between goals and assists, and is a plus-1. The Knights currently sit first in the Midwest Division, and after scoring 19 points in 18 playoff games with the Bulldogs last season, I expect a strong contribution from Winterton when the time comes. Until then, I’m curious as to whether or not he’ll continue to be a point-per-game player.
Jacob Melanson Lights The Lamp (Frequently)
For many who’ve been following my Kraken Prospect Reports, you’ll recognize the name Jacob Melanson. He keeps giving me more and more reason to think that he’s going to be a good middle-six goal scorer for the Kraken someday. He was traded just after the calendar turned to the new year, back on Jan. 2 from the Acadie-Bathurst Titan to the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).
He’s played 33 games between the two teams, scoring 33 goals and 56 points. He’s currently sitting second in the QMJHL in goal scoring, despite playing nine fewer games than the leader. To break it down a bit, he has totaled 12 power-play points, with six being goals, and six shorthanded goals this season. Since joining the Phoenix, he’s contributed eight goals and 12 points in six games and has a good chance at playing some playoff hockey.
Kraken Prospects Keep Producing
The future remains bright for the Kraken, and a lot of that is due to their prospect pool. If you want to study up on some potential Kraken prospects from this upcoming draft, check out THW’s draft coverage. It’ll be kicking into high gear as we enter and go through the second half of the season.
Sean Raggio lives for hockey. He will be covering the Seattle Kraken, and is a co-host of “What’s Kraken” for THW. Sean gained experience in writing for television, print and radio while studying journalism at Quinnipiac University and being an active member in the student media organizations there. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out on Twitter! A link can be found at the bottom of his articles, such as this one.