Skating in a training event for four days in Richmond, Seattle Kraken turned Vancouver Canucks defenseman Carson Soucy feels confident about his new team and his new role. It might include the lefty playing the right side next to Canucks top blueliner Quinn Hughes.
“Obviously he’d be an unbelievable player to play with,” Soucy told Vancouver Hockey Insider on Thursday, “I’d like to think I’ve done a decent job in my time with Minnesota playing on the right side, so it would be pretty special to play with him, kind of just watch him, protect him defensively and let him do his thing.”
That’ll be up to some experimentation in training camp and Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet, who begins his first full season at the helm. Vancouver also added veteran Ian Cole to the left side and will have righty Filip Hronek starting his first full season with the Canucks.
The 25-year-old Czech came over from the Detroit Red Wings just ahead of the last NHL trade deadline, but saw limited action due to an existing shoulder injury.
As for Soucy facing his former Kraken teammates …
“Ultimately it’s just about getting wins,” Soucy said. “They’re in our division, so it’s going to be a rivalry over these next couple of years, obviously we need those division points, that’s all it comes down to.”
Soucy signed a three-year deal as a free agent with the Canucks for $3.25-million per season. He says he had some interest in returning to the Kraken, but it wasn’t in the cards. For some outside the division it’s a mystery, but it simply didn’t fit for Seattle to sign this 29-year-old D-man to a medium term or long range deal. It’s the hockey business.
“I would have definitely been happy to come back to Seattle, obviously just couldn’t find common ground I guess, couldn’t find a deal, so just kind of best for both to part ways,” Soucy said.
After being drafted in the 5th-round by Minnesota in 2013, Soucy played 108 games for the Wild before being nabbed by the Kraken in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. Over two seasons he played 142 games for Seattle, lower in the blueline pecking order, while putting up 37 points. He scored ten goals during the club’s inaugural season.
In Vancouver he’ll focus on taking care of his own end and using his 6-foot-5, 210-pound frame to win puck battles. There was obviously demand for him, he signed with the Canucks on July 1st, the first day of NHL free agency.
“It seemed like a good spot, a good fit, meeting with them on that day, they had good confidence in me, they wanted to give me a good opportunity,” Soucy said. “It’s gonna be a good fit.”
Soucy will take on his former Seattle team on November 18th at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, November 24th at Climate Pledge Arena, and then again in Seattle on February 22nd.
Less Irma in Seattle
Whether born in the nearby town of Viking or not, Soucy, his cousin Scott Ratzlaff, the goalie for the Seattle Thunderbirds junior team, and Kraken 2022 2nd-round draft pick, winger Jagger Firkus, all grew up in the little town of Irma, Alberta, population 475. Pretty remarkable that one is already in the NHL and the other two are considered strong prospects.
“Hopefully Jagger keeps growing, keeps growing his game and does his thing,” Soucy said.
The two had a chance to work out and skate a few times together back home before Soucy slid over to Vancouver to get a head start on settling in.
Soucy appeared to be ready for camp during the four-day preseason event organized by Richmond native and former Canucks D-man Troy Stecher, who was attempting to raise money for Diabetes Canada. Stecher lost his father to complications from the disease a few years ago. Two dozen NHL players from around the NHL with local roots or ties took part.
((Editor’s note: a different version of this story appeared at seattlehockeyinsider.com))
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