SEATTLE (WNCN) – The Seattle Kraken, the NHL’s latest expansion team, announced the signing of its first player on Wednesday — 2018 Carolina Hurricanes draft pick Luke Henman.
Henman is in the midst of a playoff run in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In his fourth full season with the club, the 21-year-old center posted 43 points in 32 games in the regular season. He has six goals and two assists in seven postseason games thus far.
In his draft year in 2017-18, Henman had 47 points in 61 games. He followed that up with 46 points in 63 games. In 2019-20, Henman took a leap forward in scoring 74 points in 63 games, including more than doubling his goal total from the previous season.
“I am super-excited and honored,” Henman said in a news release from the team. “I have a belief in my game. My main focus will be to put in the work to get better.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without my parents [Melanie and Anthony]. Then I called my siblings [two sisters, 25 and 15, and a brother, 17; all hockey players]. We had the nice overtime win and then I got the news. It was a pretty cool day.”
Carolina drafted Henman in the fourth round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. He went unsigned and became a free agent. Kraken general manager Ron Francis ran the Hurricanes front office from 2014 until April 2018. He was terminated before the club drafted Henman, but may have still been somewhat familiar with the player from scouting him.
“Luke has put up the numbers in the ‘Q’ and he is team captain. He has solid character. We do think he needs to get stronger. We are excited to sign him as our first player,” Francis said.
The Kraken will fill out their roster on July 21 during an expansion draft in which they will get to pick from eligible players from the other 31 NHL teams.