According to Elliotte Friedman the Seattle Kraken are locking in on getting goalie Chris Driedger signed as one of their first signings of the 2021 expansion draft.
Report: Chris Driedger Signed With the Seattle Kraken
As we await what SEA decides with Carey Price, word is that the Kraken are closing in on FLA’s Chris Driedger at 3x$3.5M. I dont believe that precludes them from selecting Price, but one goalie appears locked-in.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 19, 2021
Over his fragmented five-year NHL career, Driedger suited up for both the Florida Panthers and Ottawa Senators. In that span, he accumulated 38 career appearances, including 34 starts. Of those 38 games, 35 came in the past two seasons with Florida. With Ottawa, he came into just three games in relief as a backup, over three different seasons. Then, he burst onto the scene in Florida, establishing himself as a fringe starter, and forcing the team to play him regularly. That’s despite sharing the crease with two-time Vezina-winner Sergei Bobrovsky, who he regularly outperformed.
He registered 21 wins and a overall record of 21-9-4 with 4 shutouts. Originally drafted in the third round, 76th overall of the 2012 NHL draft by the Senators, the 26-year old looks to become a household starting goalie in the NHL.
What This Means for the Future
Chris Driedger signed his last deal in Florida for two years, at just $850,000 per season. This contract gets him over the million-dollar mark for the first time in his career, and deservedly so. He played a major role in Florida’s stellar 2020-21 season, posting a .927 percent save percentage and a 2.07 goals-against-average. His 14-6-3 record, with three shutouts, propelled the Panthers into the postseason. Bobrovsky struggled again in his second year in Florida, posting a .906 percent save percentage and 2.91 goals-against-average. The disparity between the two was obvious.
Unfortunately for Florida, Bobrovsky owns a full no-move clause on his massive, $10 million AAV contract that carries him through 2025-26. That handcuffed Florida for the expansion draft, making Driedger an obvious candidate. Ultimately, with youngster Spencer Knight breaking onto the scene at the end of the season and in the playoffs this year too, the crease is too crowded for Driedger to stay a Panther. Even if Seattle was not to draft him, it was a foregone conclusion that Chris Driedger would be signed to another team for 2021-22.
Driedger brings only 38 games of NHL experience, but looks like a real winner. He battled his way up to the NHL from as low as the ECHL, multiple steps down through the North American professional hockey system. He puts out quality starts extremely often despite that limited amount of NHL experience. Driedger deserves this opportunity to take over the net as a legitimate number one guy.
The question now becomes, will Driedger be joined by Carey Price who is rumoured to being considered to head to Seattle too? Tune in for the latest!