Cap Deep Dive salary: Seattle Kraken
Navigating the salary cap is one of the most important jobs for any CEO. Teams that can avoid utter cap chaos by walking a tightrope from inking players to deals that match their value (or offset future value without breaking the bank) remain successful. Those who don’t see front office struggles and changes.
PHR will take a look at each NHL team and provide an in-depth look at their cap situation heading into the 2021-22 season. This will focus more on players who are regulars in the roster rather than those who might find themselves shuttling between the AHL and the NHL. All figures in the ceiling are courtesy of CapFriendly.
Current heading reached: $ 73,106,666 (below the upper limit of $ 81.5 billion)
None were planning on playing a full-time role in the NHL this coming season.
One year remaining, non-entry level
F mason Appleton ($ 900K, RFA)
F Colin blackwell ($ 725,000, UFA)
D Dennis Cholowski ($ 900K, RFA)
F Ryan donato ($ 750K, RFA)
D Cale Fleury ($ 750K, RFA)
D Haydn Fleury ($ 1.4 billion, UFA)
F Morgan geek ($ 750K, RFA)
D Marc Giordano ($ 6.75 billion, UFA)
D Jeremy Lauzon ($ 825K, RFA)
F Kole Lind ($ 874K, RFA)
F Jarnkrok Street ($ 2 MM, UFA)
F Marcus johansson ($ 1.5 MM, UFA)
F Jared mccann ($ 2.94 billion, RFA)
F Riley sheahan ($ 850K, UFA)
F Carsen Twarynski ($ 750K, RFA)
McCann has shown flashes of being an above-average contributor in the past, but hasn’t been able to do so consistently. He’ll get the chance to play a bigger role with Seattle and if all goes well he could be in line for a big pay raise next year. Jarnkrok has done a good deal over the past five years and will also play a bigger role in trying to increase his numbers before he hits the open market. Johansson and Sheahan are both coming out of quiet years and have seen their value drop in recent times and will need stronger seasons to land guaranteed deals next summer. Appleton has just had a solid season with Winnipeg and is already running as a candidate to more than double his AAV next summer. A similar performance this season could triple it. Donato had to settle for a minimum contract after a difficult year at San Jose but should be able to rebuild his value somewhat with the Kraken. Blackwell has had a landmark year with the Rangers and is running for a big pay raise next summer. Geekie, Lind, and Twarynski will also be fighting for depth roles, but if they land a spot on the roster, they’re unlikely to be able to land a big raise as they would be in a limited role.
Giordano – who turns 38 next month – is nearing the end of his career but is still a capable top-four defender. He’s going to have the opportunity to play a bigger role than he probably should and he’s a candidate to be transferred at the trade deadline to a competitor who can cut his ice time. He’s going to go from year to year from now on and while his next contract is cheaper than this, he could still order an AAV in the order of $ 5 million. The Fleury brothers are at different stages of their careers. Haydn played near the full season in 2020-21 and should be able to land a small raise within a year as Cale was in the minors last season and is simply looking to stay on the roster. A limited role is likely, which will lead to a cheap deal next summer. Lauzon did well in Boston last year on his first stint on regular service and with the arbitration rights he could double his current AAV next summer. Cholowski’s AAV is a bit high for someone who may be close to making the list, but it may be intentional in an attempt to help them squeeze into the waivers next month. .
Two years left
F Nathan Bastien ($ 825K, RFA)
D Guillaume Borgen ($ 900K, RFA)
F Joonas Donskoy ($ 3.9 MM, UFA)
D Vince dunn ($ 4 MM, RFA)
D Carson Soucy ($ 2.75 billion, UFA)
Donskoi hasn’t had a lot of consistent top-six opportunities, but has passed the 30-point mark in each of the past four seasons. Its price is a bit high for its production level but with a bigger role in Seattle that could change. Bastian is essentially an energy player early in his career and as long as he can hold onto a spot on the roster, they’ll have no problem with his prize. Granular energy players can still land a pretty good salary as long as they can set up a production that Bastian will have to work on.
Dunn’s offensive production got him a big raise this summer and it’s revealing that Seattle essentially went for a second bridge contract to have another opportunity to strike a long-term deal before he became eligible for the UFA. He’s going to have the opportunity to play a bigger role than he had with the Blues and if he can establish himself as a top player, this next deal could be pretty costly. Soucy is a useful third pair defenseman who does a bit of a lot for the role, but Seattle has plenty of room to afford the small overpayment in the short term. Borgen is just looking to establish himself as a regular NHL player, so his next contract shouldn’t be much higher than this one, unless he finds himself in a big role soon enough.
Three years left
g Chris Driedger ($ 3.5 MM, UFA)
F Jordan eberle ($ 5.5 MM, UFA)
F Alexandre wennberg ($ 4.5 MM, UFA)
Eberle isn’t the leading winger he was in his prime, but he’s still a pretty consistent secondary scorer. He’s going to be asked to do more than that in Seattle, which could give him a chance to cross the 20-goal mark again, which he was set to do in the past two cut seasons. If they can, it might not be a bargain deal, but they’ll get a reasonable return. Wennberg’s contract showed how difficult it is to land impact centers in free agency. He did well with Florida last season, but was bought out by Columbus the year before after struggling in a top-six role and only reached two double-digit goals in his career. He’s going to have a big role with the Kraken and it’s a contract that certainly carries risks.
Driedger is one of the most impressive achievements of recent years. After bouncing around the minors, he finally got an opportunity with the Panthers and quickly became one of the best substitutes in the league. But with this late start, his record is minimal – just 41 career NHL appearances and that includes the playoffs. Getting a three-year commitment to the top echelon of the price tags for a substitute goalie was pretty good, especially when it looked like he could be the starter. Of course, that changed in the early days of free agency, but Driedger should still be able to play enough games to justify the small bonus for a backup keeper.
Four or more years left
F Yanni Gourde ($ 5.167 million until 2024-25)
g Philipp grubauer ($ 5.9 billion until 2026-2027)
D Adam larsson ($ 4 billion until 2024-25)
D Jamie Oleksiak ($ 4.6 billion until 2025-2026)
F Jaden schwartz ($ 5.5 billion until 2025-2026)
F Brandon tanev ($ 3.5 billion until 2024-25)
Schwartz has just had a rough season with the Blues, but he received this money in the hopes that he will return to the level of play before he was a capable and consistent forward in the top six. He is one of the few players to have played a leading role and he will have that role in Seattle, so he will have a chance to stick to the deal. Gourde was instrumental for the Lightning in their two Stanley Cup titles, but made it in the bottom six of the standings. He won’t play that role with the Kraken and should be their first center when he’s healthy. Can he produce in a leading role? If so, it might turn into a good deal in a hurry. Tanev is on a premium deal for someone who has been a grinder for most of his career, but he has provided some production over the past three seasons to help justify the price.
Oleksiak earned and made the most of a Dallas top-four spot last season, surpassing his previous average ice time record while setting a career-high goal in goals. However, this deal was above market value from the time it was signed and giving so much in term and money to someone who has been primarily in the third line carries some risk. Obviously they think he may be in the top four in the future and if that happens they will get some return on this contract. Larsson didn’t live up to his billing plan (fourth overall in 2011), but he has become a quality defender. If he had hit the open market and not signed in the expansion window, he would have landed a similar deal elsewhere.
Grubauer joining Seattle was a bit of a surprise, but it’s a good choice. He was one of the best goalies in the league last season, which has given him a lot of influence in the free market. It remains to be seen whether he will be able to handle the full workload of a starter – his career high in games played came last season at 40 – this is where having Driedger on a backup deal more expensive works as an assurance of quality, although largely unproven. Politics.
None (they weren’t allowed to redeem anyone this year)
Salary transactions retained
Still to sign
Best value: Jarnkrok
Worst value: Oleksiak
Spending as little as expanding, Seattle had plenty of cap space to use this summer, and they chose to do so exclusively in free agency rather than close a deal or two in exchange for other assets. It was a decision that sparked anger right away, but we’ll see in time if it was the right one. They have plenty of cap space this season and that shouldn’t change for a little while.
Some of their long-term commitments might turn into low-value deals at some point, but as long as they don’t spend all the way to the upper limit right away – it doesn’t seem like the plan – then it won’t. shouldn’t even be a problem. if any of these players are underperforming. When it comes to cap situations, theirs is pretty clean.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.