SICHL Champions Krunch: Off-season Previewby Kirk MacRae | July 3, 2018, 11:23 AM ET
The City is still recovering from all the celebrations from their Cup win but behind the scenes the front office is already preparing for a busy and important off-season.
"We would like to keep all our players, but that's not how this works." commented GM MacRae when asked who he might lose. "We will certainly explore all options with the new GM and try to do what is best for the team moving forward."
After the expansion draft will be the entry draft, where in contrast to last season where the Krunch only picked one player (#1 overall Nico Hischier) they will have 13 picks in this draft. The earliest of those picks will be their own 1st rounder at 29. While the Krunch have certainly enjoyed some high draft picks recently they have made good on picks at 29 or later. From their Cup winning team players they have drafted at 29 or later include: Zack Smith (106th, 2008), Nick Leddy (29th, 2009), Kevin Hayes (31st, 2010), Xavier Ouellet (53rd, 2011) and Oliver Bjorkstrand (46th, 2013). It will be an interesting draft day with all the new players coming in.
When the draft is over we'll quickly move to Free Agency where the Krunch will certainly be big players again. With the largest cash reserves in the league ($107,554,139) and a willingness to spend you can expect more big moves. Last year they made more than a splash by signing the top Free Agent Ryan Getzlaf to an unprecedented $28,765,500 1-year contract.
"I couldn't have asked for a better outcome" said Krunch Captain Ryan Getzlaf reminiscing on the season. "Few people expected us to have the success we did and so quickly. I've loved my time here and hope we can work out a deal so that I can keep playing here."
Besides Getzlaf the Krunch have a number of important RFAs to re-sign including Kevin Hayes, Playoff MVP Cam Fowler, Nick Leddy and Aaron Ekblad. Assuming Getzlaf is willing to take a pay cut they should be able to bring them all back.
In addition to those players it is rumored that Evgeni Dadonov will be returning to North America to sign with the Krunch after seeing the success that they have had. If that is true you can expect they are not going to re-sign pending UFA Radim Vrbata.
And of course there are the young up and coming players who will be challenging for roster spots. Most notable among them are Nico Hischier, Christian Fischer and Charles Hudon who will all have a good chance to crack the opening night roster.
So it looks like a busy but exciting time in Kansas City. After a very successful season the Krunch are hoping to follow it up with a great off-season to secure their positon for the future and to contend for many more championships.