3 Seattle Kraken Forwards Who Could Be Moved to Ease Logjam

The Seattle Kraken made some big moves this offseason, whether it be drafting Shane Wright, signing André Burakovsky or trading for Oliver Bjorkstrand. While it is good for a forward group that has this much depth, it does create problems when it comes to ice-time allocation. Seattle has added five forwards on one-way deals, which has created a logjam up front.

Related: Kraken’s Cap Management Led to Solid Move With Bjorkstrand

Based on Seattle’s roster as of July 27, 2022, here is what the Kraken’s top three forward lines could look like:

Jaden Schwartz Matty Beniers Jordan Eberle
André Burakovsky Shane Wright Oliver Bjorkstand
Jared McCann Yanni Gourde Brandon Tanev

Then you get to the fourth line, which could feature many looks. Players that are signed to one-way deals who do not have a secured place are:

  • Alex Wennberg
  • Joonas Donskoi
  • Morgan Geekie
  • Ryan Donato
  • Karson Kuhlman
  • Andrew Poturalski

There are also players like Kole Lind, Alex True and John Hayden who could push for a spot too. With all this in mind, here are some players the Kraken could trade to loosen up the jam in the forward group.

Joonas Donskoi

Donskoi is arguably the best trade piece the Kraken have, as he is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after this season. The Finnish forward carries a cap hit of $3.9 million and can contribute not just at five on five, but on special teams as well. During the 2021-22 campaign, he finished with two goals and 22 points in 75 games.

Joonas Donskoi, Seattle Kraken (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

With the additions to the lineup, there isn’t a place for Donskoi on this roster that makes sense. While he is useful on the penalty kill, he doesn’t play an energy-driven game that would make him a fourth liner. It is also hard to see him taking the spot of anyone in the top nine, which makes his inclusion in the opening night lineup doubtful. However, he does carry some trade value and could be a good addition to a contending team if the Kraken take back some salary in the trade.

Alex Wennberg

The Wennberg situation is a little more complicated, but it may be best for the two sides to part ways. In 80 games last season, he scored 11 goals and added 37 points in 80 games. He has two seasons left on his deal that carries a cap hit of $4.5 million but also includes a no-trade clause that allows him to submit a 10-team no-trade list if the Kraken were to move him.

Related: 2021-22 Kraken Report Cards: Eberle, Sheahan, Wennberg

Just like Donskoi, Wennberg doesn’t fit the mould of a fourth-line center. It is possible Seattle keeps him as an insurance policy in case Wright is sent back to the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), but all indications point to the fourth overall pick from this past draft being given every chance to start the year. It is hard to picture him fitting into this lineup which is why a trade may be the best option.

Morgan Geekie

The way Seattle is structured down the middle, it is difficult to see where Geekie fits in. Matty Beniers, Wright and Yanni Gourde look to be the team’s top three centers for at least the next two seasons, which would leave him as their fourth-line center. While he has played the wing, it is clear he is best down the middle playing his natural position in a role that allows him to thrive offensively.

Morgan Geekie, Seattle Kraken
Morgan Geekie, Seattle Kraken (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The good news is, that if the Kraken were to go down the trade route with Geekie, there are no hoops to jump through when it comes to no-move or no-trade clauses. He is also 24 years old and has shown continual improvement year after year to where he scored a career-high seven goals and added 22 points in 73 games during the 2021-22 campaign. While Seattle may not be keen on moving him, it may be for the best. Rather than staple him to the press box or play him in a role that doesn’t suit his game, a trade could be the best solution as it brings back an asset while giving the former third-rounder from 2017 a chance to properly develop and reach his potential.

Moves Need to be Made

Long story short, the Kraken need to make some moves up front to sort out this issue. If they do not act fast, they could be put into a similar situation as last season, where they lost Alex Barré-Boulet on waivers for nothing. If Seattle is going to lose players due to the additions they made this offseason, it might as well bring back some assets in the process.

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