New Kraken call-ups Winterton, Morrison “expect” to play Tuesday

Colorado Avalanche v Seattle Kraken

Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Shortly after a 5-1 loss for the Seattle Kraken to the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday night that was termed by head coach Dave Hakstol in a fiery post-game media availability as “more than disappointing,” the Kraken summoned two call-ups on Sunday night, followed by a third on Monday. 

A pair of forwards, Ryan Winterton and Logan Morrison, were recalled from AHL Coachella Valley. Defenseman Gustav Olofsson followed as a Monday recall in the wake of a Ryker Evans lower body injury (termed as “day to day”) that knocked him out of Sunday’s loss. 

Hakstol hinted after practice on Monday at Kraken Community Iceplex that both Winterton, who got in three games earlier this season in a brief call-up, and Morrison, aiming to make his NHL debut, are likely candidates to play Tuesday when the Kraken host the Anaheim Ducks at 7pm PT. 

“I expect them to play tomorrow, we’ll make our final decision (Tuesday) morning,” said Hakstol. 

“Both guys earned their way here with the way they played.” 

Winterton’s case is an obvious one. The rookie forward continued to make noticeable strides as a reliable offensive weapon for a Coachella Valley team that has, pardon the expression, caught fire once again while nudging closer to another division title. Gifted with offensive touch along with strong defensive and penalty killing elements, his 21 goals led all Firebirds rookies at the time of his call-up. 

“I think I know what I have to bring,” said Winterton. “Some energy, good forward check, good back check, just kind of reliable two way forward.” 

His roommate, Morrison, is coming along for the ride, another potential deep dive finds for general manager Ron Francis. He’s in the middle of a 15-goal season in Coachella Valley, after coming out of the major junior ranks as an undrafted forward who hit 40 goals last season in the Ontario Hockey League with Hamilton and Ottawa. 

Seem familiar? Tye Kartye did the same thing to end his overage season with the Soo Greyhounds two years ago. Last year, he made his NHL debut in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and hasn’t left the Kraken ever since. 

Morrison, a playmaker with power play aptitude who was once described by his Firebirds head coach as having a “junkyard dog type of game,” said he found out about the news on a Sunday check-in at Acrisure Arena, unaware of what he was walking into when head coach Dan Bylsma and executive Troy Bodie were waiting for him inside of an office. 

“They just told me that I got called up,” said Morrison. “There was definitely some disbelief. It was pretty special.” 

Hakstol denied the call-ups were made as a reaction to send a message to a struggling roster that has been held to two goals or less in six consecutive games, instead to reward a pair of Firebirds who are ripe for an opportunity. 

“The decision to have them here today, that was made before last night’s result,” said Hakstol. “They’re here because they’ve earned their way. We’re in a situation where we’re in an ability to give them that opportunity.” 

Morrison will come in with a completely blank slate, while Winterton’s three-game stint didn’t’ go unnoticed by Hakstol, who said his play had a foot-to-gas pedal approach as soon as he was dispatched back to the American Hockey League.  

“Real good energy, especially in game one when you think back to his performance (Nov. 9 vs Colorado),” said Hakstol. “He’s a confident player. He’s very intelligent in terms of his awareness of what’s around him around the rink. He’s got a good stick and is strong on the puck.”  

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