Weaponizing cap space. Get to know that phrase. It is likely going to be referenced quite a bit when it comes to the Seattle Kraken this offseason.
Completing the expansion draft has left the Kraken with a number of questions about their roster. Kraken general manager Ron Francis and his front office staff selected a team that is ninth in defense spending at $21.125 million, according to CapFriendly. That figure should increase once pending restricted free agent Vince Dunn signs a new contract. They only have $4.216 million committed toward goaltending thanks to Chris Driedger only costing $3.5 million in cap space and Vitek Vanecek being in the final season of a three-year contract worth $716,667 annually. It creates one of the least expensive dynamics in the league while many teams either have pending RFAs or unrestricted free agents they need to sign.
Forwards, however, are a different discussion altogether. The Kraken have the eighth-lowest amount invested in their 10 forwards under contract at $27.206 million. It is why Francis took a pragmatic approach when asked about how he plans to address this roster going forward. He said the roster the Kraken have following the expansion draft Wednesday is “a snapshot” in time because there is still so much that could happen.
Such as tapping into that $28.951 million in remaining cap space.
“There are still opportunities,” Francis explained. “We’re going to draft Friday night with the second pick overall. We might get a guy that can step into our lineup. Then on Monday, you have the qualifying offers that are necessary for restricted free agents. So, there might be some guys that shake loose there. Certainly, we’ll be looking at free agency next week and then, as you go through the summer, there are teams that have to get cap compliant by the start of the season and we’re looking to take advantage of that if we can.”
In other words? The Kraken are going to weaponize their cap space. One of the ways they could do that is by flipping some of the players they selected during the expansion draft. Francis and his staff selected 10 defensemen and there are only so many minutes.
The Kraken are expected to explore trades. Any trades-in-waiting the Kraken agreed to will be finalized after the NHL trade freeze is over at 10 a.m. PT Thursday, according to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun. Francis said that the Kraken are still having conversations across the league and they expect to hear from more front offices over the next few days.
Francis was asked the Kraken’s priorities when it comes to trades; whether they want someone who can play right away or futures.