That’s more similar.
He was hard on himself after his debut in Seattle’s camp in July, but 2023 first-round pick Eduard Sale got another chance a few months later. When rookie camp concluded Tuesday afternoon at Kraken Community Iceplex, the 18-year-old’s outlook was more optimistic.
“Better and better every day,” Sale said. “I’m happy to be here and excited.”
The rookie camp serves as an introduction to Kraken training camp, which begins Thursday. Shortly before the group gathered at center ice and dispersed, Sale got rid of Ryan Winterton in a two-on-two drill and slid the puck to Logan Morrison, who covered it. As easy as it can be.
Sale, pronounced Eu-ard Sholl-eh, is embracing what it called a new chapter in North America. His tournament resume was solid, but he fell out of the top 10 in many draft projections after his production fell to 14 points in 43 games in the top Czech men’s league. He competed with HC Kometa Brno in the Extraliga, a teenager who saw limited ice time against 30-year-old players.
Sale hails from Bron, Czech Republic, the same city as Kraken’s amateur scouting director Robert Kron, and Kron has known him for years. The Kraken gladly chose him in 20th place.
After a hectic June and early July, Sale enjoyed a few weeks at home before life changed drastically.
“Now the new race will begin,” he said.
Sale finished his national team responsibilities in August and joined the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League in early September, scoring in each of two preseason appearances. The Colts selected him 29th overall in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) import draft; He recently signed his scholarship and development agreement with the OHL. If he is not one of the few to make the Kraken roster during their draft year, he is expected to return to Barrie.
This week saw two days of on-ice work with coaches from the NHL and American Hockey League, plus many of the prospects Sale skated with in July. At prospect development camp days after being selected, Sale was dissatisfied with his performance, but acknowledged that time played a role. He had been unemployed for a long time and the staff was aware.
“I think this is probably the first time he’s been on the ice since the end of the season,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said at the time. “I think that’s the case for a lot of kids.
“He is optimistic. His skill set is very obvious. You don’t want to do a lot of evaluations out there.”
Sale’s vision and playing are among his greatest assets. He gained the weight he wanted (“a few pounds”) this summer and feels good and ready for the road ahead.
He learned English in school and is comfortable with it, although he never expected he would use it so much. He had goalkeeper Ales Stezka, with whom he played last year in the Extraliga and with whom he later shared a room, to chat during both Kraken camps. Stezka signed a one-year, two-way contract in May.
Sale noted that he played in Finland for a while and that the language adaptation went well.
“I just need a couple of days and I’ll be fine,” he said.
The Colts have big plans for Sale, provided he returns to the OHL. Sale’s plans are broad.
“I’ll play my style and have fun because last year was difficult,” he said. “I just want to enjoy this year and we’ll see what it brings.”
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