In anticipation of the Seattle Kraken‘s inaugural season, we at The Hockey Writers are taking a deep dive into each player. This installment focuses on forward Alex Barré-Boulet, whom the Kraken claimed off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning.
2020-21 NHL Team: Tampa Bay Lightning
2020-21 Season: Barré-Boulet played in 15 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning last season, registering three goals. He also spent time in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Syracuse Crunch, where he recorded 12 points in 10 games.
Type of Acquisition: Waivers
Barré-Boulet’s Junior Career
Barré-Boulet had a fantastic junior career in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with the Drummondville Voltigeurs and Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. He was taken in the sixth round of the 2013 Bantam Draft and scored 337 points in 263 games during his QMJHL career. This included a 51 point rookie season in 2014-15, which ranked him sixth in the league among rookie scoring.
Barré-Boulet’s best season came in 2017-18, where he was named Canadian Hockey League (CHL) player of the year after scoring 53 goals and 116 points in 65 games. That season, he helped the Armada within two wins of a Memorial Cup berth. Despite his point production, he was never drafted into the NHL and signed as a free agent with the Lightning on March 1, 2018.
Barré-Boulet Makes Noise in the AHL
After his junior career was complete, Barré-Boulet was assigned to the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. In his first season, he put up 68 points in 74 games and was named the AHL rookie of the year. He finished tied for first in goals across the league with 34, tied for first in power-play goals with 17, and sixth with 68 points. As the season went on, he was becoming a complete player, and that he could dominate at the NHL level.
2019-20 was his last full season in the AHL, where he put up 56 points in 60 games. At the end of the season, he was named to the Second All-Star team. When the season stopped due to COVID-19, he ranked first in goals, assists, and points on his team. During the season, he also participated in the AHL All-Star game.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Last season, Barré-Boulet skated in 15 games with the Lightning. He played most of his minutes with Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat on the team’s first line. He finished the season with a 55.99% Corsi rating, five high-danger chances created and 13 shots while five on five.
Where Barré-Boulet shined, last season was the power play. He finished with two goals and 13 shots in 40:46 TOI. What was impressive is that he was given a chance on the Lightning’s first unit power play despite Tampa Bay’s stacked roster. He earned coach John Cooper’s trust and did not disappoint when given an opportunity to succeed.
Fit on the Team
Now that he is officially part of the Kraken, where does he fit on the team? The best place is on the third line with Morgan Geekie and Mason Appleton. Barré-Boulet is a smaller player that does not throw hits often, so partnering him up with two bigger players could help protect him as he gets used to being an everyday NHLer. Also, all these players are around the same age and could create some chemistry that could translate to future success past this season.
The other question is, do you give him first-unit power-play time? When this team is completely healthy, he will best be suited on the second unit, but he has an opportunity to show why he deserves first unit minutes early in the season. If his time in Tampa Bay is any indication, it could be sooner rather than later that we see Barré-Boulet on the first unit power play.
Smart Waiver Claim
Claiming Barré-Boulet was an intelligent move by the Kraken as they get a young, NHL-ready forward who can score goals. The Kraken’s roster is currently missing that pure goal scorer, and he could fill that role for years to come. This is one player fans in Seattle should be excited to see as he has the skill set to bring them to their feet throughout the season.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken team. His work can also be found at dubnetwork.ca where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League. Adam is excited to be part of the Kraken’s inaugural season and ready to bring you in depth coverage of the NHL’s 32nd team.