The hockey world has always been fascinated with the concept of farm systems. These are essentially minor or junior teams that are affiliated with professional hockey clubs, serving as a developmental ground for young players to hone their skills and prepare for the big leagues.
When it comes to the National Hockey League (NHL), the farm system has always been crucial in ensuring the continued success of a franchise. It allows teams to maintain a constant flow of young, talented players that can eventually fill in the gaps left by aging veterans and provide a strong foundation for the future.
In this article, we turn our attention to the newest team in the NHL, the Seattle Kraken, and take a closer look at their farm system and future prospects.
The Seattle Kraken made history when they became the 32nd franchise in the NHL, joining the league in the 2021–2022 season. With their arrival, there was much anticipation and excitement, not just from fans but also from those within the league. And with the introduction of a new team comes the inevitable question: what is their farm system like, and what kind of talent can we expect to see in the future?
To understand the significance of a strong farm system, we must look at the success of other NHL teams that have invested in developing their prospects. Take, for example, the Nashville Predators, who have consistently been one of the top teams in the league thanks in part to their highly successful farm system. Year after year, the Predators have had a steady stream of young players making their way through their development system and seamlessly integrating into their NHL roster.
So, what does the Seattle Kraken’s farm system look like in comparison? Before we dive into that, it’s worth noting that the Kraken have already made big moves in the form of free agency signings, such as acquiring star defenseman Adam Larsson and veteran forward Jaden Schwartz. However, success not only relies on established players but also on the development and growth of young, up-and-coming talent.
Currently, Kraken’s prospect pool does not have any major standouts, but that may soon change. GM Ron Francis has focused on building a team from the ground up, starting with the expansion draft and subsequent trades for draft picks. In the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Kraken selected 10 players, including 6 defensemen and 4 forwards.
One of the standout picks was forward Matty Beniers, who was selected second overall. Hailing from the University of Michigan, Beniers is known for his strong two-way play and has shown a remarkable ability to contribute on both ends of the ice. Another addition to watch is defenseman Ryan Winterton, who was selected in the third round. The young blueliner is highly skilled and has shown potential to be an effective shut-down defender.
The Kraken also have a solid group of prospects on their AHL affiliate team, the Charlotte Checkers. One player who has been generating buzz is goaltender Logan Thompson. After a standout season in the AHL, Thompson is looking to make the jump to the NHL and could provide a strong presence in the crease for the Kraken.
While the Kraken’s prospect pool may not be as deep as some other teams’, it is clear that Francis and his team have a clear vision for the future and are taking the necessary steps to build a strong foundation for the franchise. With time, these prospects will have the opportunity to develop in the AHL and eventually make their way to the NHL.
Another aspect to consider is Kraken’s strategic partnerships with European teams. They have formed an affiliation with Växjö Lakers Hockey Club in Sweden, providing a pathway for young European players to develop and potentially make the move to North America.
The Kraken are also looking at the minor hockey landscape in North America and beyond. They recently announced the creation of the Seattle Kraken Elite Hockey Program, which will serve as the organization’s official youth development program. This will provide opportunities for young players to train and compete at a high level and potentially catch the eyes of Kraken’s development staff.
In a world where professional sports are constantly evolving, it’s essential for teams to have a strong farm system to remain competitive. And while the Seattle Kraken’s farm system may be in its early stages, it’s clear that the organization is taking the necessary steps to ensure a bright future. With a combination of strong draft picks, strategic partnerships, and a dedicated youth development program, the Kraken’s prospects are on the rise, and the future looks promising.