If Andre Burakovsky and Justin Schultz have both agreed to join the Seattle Kraken in the offseason, it’s largely because of the opportunity to make a bigger impact than their previous clubs.
The Austrian-born Swedish forward set a career-best 61 points in 80 games last season. He helped the Colorado Avalanche win the Stanley Cup, but the team was full of talent and he felt he needed a change of scenery.
“I chose Seattle because I wanted a bigger role, to play more, to have more responsibility and to be a leader. I want to improve and progress every day, I need to play more,” he said in a video conference on Thursday.
The Kraken greatly improved their offense by acquiring Burakovsky and Oliver Bjorkstrand. Head coach Dave Hakstol could also add young forwards Shane Wright and Matty Beniers to the squad.
“They’re a team that looks great on paper, the squad is good and they have the potential to be really good and do great things. I want to be part of the learning and the project,” explained Burakovsky, who liked the expansion team’s speed-based style last season.
Schultz finally number 1?
Schultz, on the other hand, is used to playing second and even third fiddle among the teams he’s been on. For the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, he trailed Kristopher Letang and John Carlson on the power play.
With more opportunities to assert himself, the 32-year-old guard could explode like he did with the Penguins in 2016-2017. With Letang out for part of the season, he had 12 goals and 51 points.
Photo credit: AFP
“I wanted a bigger role and there’s an opportunity here,” Schultz said. I have to earn it. I learned a lot from these guys. They are two of the best offensive powerplay quarterbacks in the league. It’s been nice to stand behind them and work with them over the years.”
The Brit, who also sported the colors of the Edmonton Oilers, has strayed significantly from his roots in recent years. Seattle is not far from the Canadian border, which should make his family happy.
“My wife and I were very excited to come here, but I think our families were even more excited,” he said. We were far from home. Both of our families live in Kelowna, so it’s been difficult for them over the past six or seven years. You will definitely be making some trips to Seattle.”
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