On Thursday, one of the original Seattle Kraken goaltenders, Chris Driedger, was placed on the NHL waiver wire.
Seattle selected Driedger from the Florida Panthers in the 2021 expansion draft. After a breakout season with Florida in 2020/21, registering a 2.07 GAA and a .927 save percentage in 23 games with a 14-6-3 record with the Panthers. Drafted by the Ottawa Senators in 2012, a third-round pick (76th overall), he signed with Florida in 2019/20.
There was talk about Driedger becoming a potential starter in the league. The Kraken gave him a three-year, $10.5 million contract ($3.5 million AAV) on July 26, 2021, only to sign Philipp Grubauer as their starter days later to a six-year, $35.4 million contract ($5.9 million AAV).
Driedger has yet to play this season after a disappointing first season with Seattle because of an ACL tear he sustained during the gold medal game of the 2022 World Championships as a member of Team Canada.
In 27 appearances in 2021/22, he had a 9-14-1 record, 2.96 GAA, and a .899 SV%.
The Winnipeg, Manitoba native rebounded at the World Championships before his injury. He had a .915 SV % and 1.76 GAA in six starts for Team Canada.
Driedger, 28, has one remaining after this season on his contract with a 10-team no-trade clause. With Martin Jones and Philipp Grubauer as Seattle’s top two options in net, Driedger was the odd man out once all three were healthy. The Kraken will gain $1.125 million in cap space should Driedger clear waivers and be sent to Seattle’s AHL affiliate Coachella Valley Firebirds.
Being placed on waivers is a positive sign he is healthy and ready to return to game action. Should another NHL team claim Driedger at noon mountain time on Friday, the Kraken would free up $3.5 million in cap space before the #NHLTradeDeadline on March 3.