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Beniers, Schultz, Schwartz, and DRIEDGER are practicing

Tough roster decisions ahead for Ron Francis

San Jose Sharks v Seattle Kraken Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images

The return from the all-star break brought a beautiful sight on practice Monday when four injured players practiced:

F Matty Beniers: missed 2 games and Tyler Myers deserves no peace

D Justin Schultz: missed 5 games

F Jaden Schwartz: missed 8 games

G Chris Driedger(!): missed 49 games after tearing his ACL last summer, requiring Ron Francis to acquire Martin Jones as an alternate option.

Chris Driedger standing in front of his net
Chris Driedger hasn’t played after tearing his ACL in June 2022
Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images

The goalie situation for the Kraken is an extremely interesting one to watch. If Driedger is healthy, it will be particularly intriguing to see what route the Kraken take managing Driedger, Jones, and Grubauer. While it’s not common practice, the Kraken could elect to keep three goalies on their roster instead of just two. Having a third goaltender could give each individual more rest days throughout the course of the grueling regular season schedule. However, there are also tradeoffs — that means that roster spot can’t be used on a forward or a defenseman.

But the real tradeoff is having less cap space available due to carrying an extra salary from that third goalie. Cap space is an extremely scarce resource these days and Driedger makes $3.5 million. Do the Kraken trade Martin Jones? Can they get a goalie contract off their books? Do they even want to?

The Kraken have operated with intentionality at every point of their short existence and I expect nothing different with their cap and roster management situation. I don’t know what their plan is, but it will be extremely fascinating to find out.

I’m already emotionally preparing myself for heartbreak. I want them all to stay, but unfortunately the harsh realities of the NHL salary cap will likely force some beloved players to be sent away.