The Seattle Kraken’s inaugural season has come to an end, but a key piece of their future hit the ice this week.

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Ryker Evans was taken in the second round in the 2021 draft - the second-ever selection made by Seattle - and after starring for the WHL’s Regina Pats, the 20-year-old inked an entry-level deal with the Kraken to officially make the jump to the pro level.

“It was pretty sweet,” said Evans. “It’s something you work towards, and to get rewarded by them and to sign there was extremely exciting for me and my family.”

The first step for Evans came on Monday, when - after signing an amateur tryout with Charlotte - he draped on a Checkers practice sweater and joined the team for his first practice.

“He had a great year individually [in the WHL],” said Checkers Head Coach Geordie Kinnear. “Seattle is very excited about him and we’re excited to have him.”

The makeup of this particular squad makes for a welcoming entry point for the young blue liner.

“These guys are extremely close,” said Evans. “They bring energy to practice and that’s translated into their success this year. It’s fun to join.”

Evans is leaping right into a team that is clicking on all cylinders, and his approach is a simple one.

“It’s just learning,” he said. “Coming out here and learning from these guys and bringing that into next year.”

The 5-foot-11 defenseman was a force for Regina over the past two campaign, racking up 89 total points over 87 games. This season Evans led all Pats blue liners in scoring and was named to the WHL East Division Second All-Star Team.

He will look to take that productive play and translate it to the AHL game.

“These guys like to play fast and we played fast back home,” said Evans. “Playing with speed will definitely help me joining these guys.”

Whether he is inserted into game action at any point is yet to be determined, but having a high-end prospect like Evans in your arsenal is certainly a boost - especially for a team eying a deep playoff run.

“It just adds to our depth,” said Kinnear. “To be able to win in the end you have to have a lot of depth. So now we have that on the back end and we’re excited about it.”

For now though, Evans’ task is to soak it all in and show what he can bring to the table.

“We talked with him today about being the best version of yourself,” said Kinnear. “Be ready for an opportunity like everyone else. You have to develop trust with the coaches. Every practice needs to be a game for him, so if we need someone to step in, he’s ready to go.”