ANALYSIS: Kraken draft deep dive


In conjunction with FC Hockey, we took a deep dive on the first-ever Seattle Kraken draft class prospects.

Matthew Beniers was selected second overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft to become the Kraken’s first-ever draft pick. (Photograph courtesy of the NHL)

Matthew Beniers: Center; 6-foot-2; 175 pounds; University of Michigan

“Beniers is a competitive forward with strong skating and high intelligence. He’s strong on the puck and moves it very well, despite not being overly creative. His high-pace game works now, but developing his secondary strategy will be important.”

“His mix of elite competitiveness and high-end smarts makes him tough to contain on offense and a disruptive nuisance on defense.”

“He never seems to be out of position or thinking a step behind the play in any zone or in any situation. His vision is well above average, as he can open up rush space in conjunction with his teammates, and make nice passes in full flight.”

“Among the most intelligent players in this draft, Beniers is a 200-foot center that also brings a blend of mobility and skill,” said an FCHockey scout. “One of this draft’s most effective players at transitioning the puck through the neutral zone and securing zone entries.”

The Seattle Kraken drafted Ryker Evans in the second round. (Photograph courtesy of the NHL)

Ryker Evans: Defense; 5-foot-1; 189 pounds; Regina (WHL)

“Evans plays with an elite level of poise and commands the ice. He’s got great athleticism to his game, and is an efficient and, more notably, deceptive skater.”

“…very smart power play quarterback, with his ability to corral pucks in motion and make accurate passes side to side.”

“Defensively, he is growing into using his frame, and his ability to excel in covering opponents is due to strong skating tendencies and the ability to influence the opponent’s routes. He does tend to get a bit rambunctious and make mistakes in positioning at times, getting turned around and stuck puck-watching, or pinned to the boards or not having that ability to spin off checks.”

Ryan Winterton: Right wing; 6-foot-2; 175 pounds; Hamilton (OHL)

“Winterton is well-suited for the role of a depth forward, as what stands out on a shift-by-shift basis is his work ethic and commitment to playing a defensively-reliable brand of hockey.”

“In the offensive zone, his greatest asset is his ability to forecheck and make life difficult on opposing defenders on the breakout.”

“On the forecheck he also shows a willingness to play physically, lay the body and finish checks.”

“He projects well as a depth player who has a lot of tools to work with, but will need to show growth in the offensive side of his game in order to play higher in a team’s lineup.”

Ville Ottavainen: Defense; 6-foot-5; 221 pounds; JYP (SM Liiga)

“Ottavainen is a big-bodied defenseman who can use his size in multiple ways to be effective in the defensive game.”

“He also uses his height and weight to his advantage when engaging in the physical game, he can throw big open ice hits or pin his opponents to the boards with ease because of his strength.”

“His skating is a work in progress”

“His offensive game is lacking, he has the IQ and understands where to be positionally but lacks the creativity and puck skills to be an effective offensive threat.”

“With his size and strengths on the defensive side of the game, he makes sense as a potential shutdown defender, playing a role on the penalty kill but teams will be left wanting more if they are expecting regular offensive contributions from a player with his skillset.”

Jacob Melanson: Right wing; 5-foot-11; 190 pounds; Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)

“Melanson is a heavy-hitting right winger with a sturdy frame that allows him to physically punish his opponents. He brings a mean streak to the game”

“He is an average skater as he has choppy strides…”

“…might struggle to keep up at higher levels.”

“His high-energy level and mean streak will translate well to the NHL level, as he has the skillset to play the role of a bottom-six grinder.”

“There’s still room in the league for this type of player and with the right development he could become a full-time NHLer.”

Justin Janicke: Left wing; 6 feet; 185 pounds; U.S. National Team Development Program

“Janicke plays a solid all-around game, an active difference-maker in all three zones.”

“Good playmaker with the puck on his stick, with nice vision for finding open teammates.”

“He’s aware defensively and gives opponents little time and space to work with, but does struggle with shutting down bigger competition. Backchecks with a purpose. Takes pride in his own zone. Works hard along the boards. Active with his stick.”

“Janicke doesn’t show up on the scoresheet a lot, but does a lot of little things that help his team be successful.”

For more extensive draft prospect information for the Kraken and all NHL organizations, visit FC Hockey at Please support all the hard work that their scouts put in.

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    Jeff Osborn

    In conjunction with FC Hockey, we took a deep dive on the first-ever Seattle Kraken draft class prospects. Matthew Beniers: Center; 6-foot-2; 175 poun
    [To continue reading full article, click here: ANALYSIS: Kraken draft deep dive]

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