The Seattle Kraken expansion draft added a little St. Albert flare on Wednesday.
The NHL’s newest franchise selected one player from each of the current 31 teams to make up its inaugural roster. Among those picks was Carsen Twarynski, 23, a St. Albert native who has spent the last three seasons bouncing between the Philadelphia Flyers and their AHL affiliate the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
It was an unexpected pick from many watching the draft. The Kraken were expected to take a chance on more established players from the Flyers, such as James van Riemsdyk or Jakub Voracek. They passed on those pricier players and opted for Twarynski.
It's a unique position to be in for a young player. For Twarynski, it's an opportunity like no other and one he is excited for.
“I’m extremely excited, but I don’t think that will even really hit until I am able to get to [Seattle],” said Twarynski. “There is a lot to look forward to. It’ll probably be a busy month in terms of getting back home and moving my stuff.
“I couldn’t be more stoked to get things going there and I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
The pick was a bit out of left field. There was next to no speculation he could be Seattle’s pick out of Philadelphia. As for Twarynski, he said he always knew this might be a possibility.
“There was always that thought in my mind [about going to Seattle],” said Twarynski. “When it comes to the cap and the play styles that they’re looking for, it looks to me like the whole roster that they drafted is pretty much the same in the sense that everyone on the team is a hard worker and has good character.”
It has been a busy time for the young forward. Speculation ran wild early Wednesday after insiders leaked that he was the Seattle pick and then text messages started to roll in from family and friends. Even though he was aware of the selection before it was made official, he wasn’t permitted to confirm these suspicions until it was announced Wednesday night.
“It wasn’t all just straight ‘congrats’ texts right away, there were a lot of people asking questions that I couldn’t respond to,” said Twarynski. “It was a little different with how things played out, but everyone at the end of the day was thankful and very excited for me.”
The majority of the players on Seattle general manager Ron Francis's roster have earned reputations as physical players that grind down their opponents through physical play.
Twarynski said that fits his play style like a glove.
“I’m a hard-working, physical guy,” said Twarynski. “From what I saw in the [expansion] draft it seems that the guys [Seattle selected] are hungry and have something to prove, so I’m looking forward to that.”
As for his St. Albert roots, he was born in the community, but has spent most of his life and hockey career in Calgary. Twarynski played his junior career with the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL and was drafted 82nd overall in the 2016 NHL Draft by the Flyers