The Seattle Kraken sat in an advantageous position this summer, with few players hitting free agency. As a result, they only lost one regular player from their defence core. Carson Soucy signed with the Vancouver Canucks on July 1st, but the hole he left lasted less than a day. To replace Soucy, the Kraken signed Brian Dumoulin. Seattle remains a highly structured, win-by-committee team, which means even minor roster changes can have major effects. They surely hope this one winds up delivering a net-positive impact on their success going forward.
Seattle Kraken Dumoulin to Fill the Void Left by Soucy on Defence
In two years, Soucy delivered 37 points and 142 games played in a Kraken uniform. He first came to Seattle as their expansion selection from the Minnesota Wild. Soucy stood as a staple for the team’s third defensive pairing, and Kraken fans held him in high regard. Even as his name wound up in trade rumours over the course of last season, his departure this summer came as a disappointment to many.
Enter the aforementioned Dumoulin. Over the last two years, he posted 43 points in 158 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins. That puts his points-per-game pace (.27) for all intends and purposes a statistically-insignificant hair above Soucy’s (.26). He played his entire ten-year career to date with Pittsburgh, accumulating 139 points in 546 games. Meanwhile, Soucy notched 68 points in his 250 career games played thus far.
From a scoring perspective, these two stand toe-to-toe. However, no one in the league is looking to players like Soucy or Dumoulin to add offence. That said, their other metrics look pretty even, too.
Striking Similarities Between Dumoulin and Soucy
Dumoulin joined the Kraken after signing a two-year contract, carrying a $3.15 million cap hit annually. Soucy signed a three-year contract in Vancouver, carrying a $3.25 million cap hit annually. Obviously, the dollar amount wasn’t what pushed Soucy out, and the term doesn’t seem to be a significant enough difference to be the root cause either.
Beyond their contract similarities, they both experienced similar deployment across their careers too. Both started over half of their career shifts in the defensive zone, though Dumoulin’s percentage shot up significantly in recent seasons. Last year, he started 62.4% of his shifts in his own end of the ice. Meanwhile, Soucy started 52.3% of the time in the defensive zone.
That gap helps explain the differences in their possession metrics, too. Soucy posted a -4.6% relative Corsi-for percentage in 2022-23, on par with his career average (-4.7%). Dumoulin fell well beneath that, with a -9.8% relative Corsi-for last season, and a slightly lower career average than Soucy too (-5.4%).
So, Dumoulin started in his own end more often than Soucy last year and had more volume coming towards his net as a result. Another major contributing factor here lies in their time on ice statistics. Soucy, a steady third-pair defenceman, logged 16:18 in ice time per game last year. Meanwhile, Dumoulin played 20:38 per game, which ranked third-highest on the Penguins’ roster.
Between playing more minutes overall, and a higher percentage of those minutes in his own zone, the weaker possession metrics make sense. The Kraken hope Dumoulin brings them a stronger overall game than Soucy’s.
What Dumoulin Provides the Kraken
Only two players on the Kraken last season exceeded Dumoulin in average ice time. Those two, Vince Dunn and Adam Larsson, remain pegged for top-pair duties once again next season. Dumoulin may pair with Jamie Oleksiak as a bonafide shutdown pair, or maybe with Justin Schultz to offset his offensive style. There’s also a chance they pair Dumoulin with William Borgen, who just finished his first full NHL season.
If Dumoulin winds up with Borgen, that truly replaces the exact spot Soucy left open in their roster. This gives them someone with a lot more NHL experience on their bottom pair, who can eat more minutes too. Soucy may be younger (29), but only by a few years; Dumoulin turns 32 ahead of next season and has a whopping 296 more NHL games under his belt.
Ultimately, the Kraken need to see Dumoulin in camp to truly judge his fit within their group and on the ice. But, signs point in the right direction here. The Kraken boasted tonnes of roster balance last year, yet their blue line might be a fraction stronger and deeper after this one exchange.
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