Seattle Kraken general manager Ron Francis surprised the hockey world last July by signing two of the summer's notable free agents in goaltender Philipp Grubauer and winger Jaden Schwartz.
During an end-of-season media session on Tuesday, he indicated his willingness to dive into this summer's free-agent pool to address his roster's needs.
Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times reported Francis would like to bolster his offense by adding someone to play among their top-six or top-nine forwards. He admitted goal scorers aren't easy to find but would see if he can add one via free agency. The Kraken GM also mentioned bringing in an offensively inclined defenseman.
Cap Friendly indicates the Kraken has $59.6 million invested in 14 players for 2022-23 with all their core players under contract. Francis will have sufficient room to pursue one or two notable players in this summer's free-agent market even if he doesn't spend toward next season's $82.5-million cap.
The Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau and the Nashville Predators' Filip Forsberg top this summer's list of scoring forwards. Both, however, could prove too expensive for Francis even with his cap space. Perhaps he'll consider more affordable options such as Colorado Avalanche winger Andre Burakovsky or Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck.
Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins and John Klingberg of the Dallas Stars are the notable puck-moving defensemen. Both could cost over $8-million annually on the open market. Former Kraken Mark Giordano could also be available but a return to Seattle seems unlikely.
Francis could try the offer-sheet route if he wants to be bold. Targets could include New York Islanders blueliner Noah Dobson and Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala. Both are restricted free agents on clubs with limited cap space next season.