Kraken F Jacob Melanson suspended 2 games for blow to the head

The NHL suspended Seattle Kraken forward Jacob Melanson for two games on Tuesday for an illegal check to the head of Edmonton Oilers forward James Hamblin.

During a preseason game between the Kraken and the Oilers on Monday night in Seattle, Hamblin ran a puck on the boards and Melanson came in late to hit him, making his head the main point of contact.

“Melanson chooses an approach angle that crosses the front of Hamblin’s body, missing his trunk and taking the lead,” an official with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety said in an explainer video. “If Melanson is going to land this blow, he needs to stay low and choose an angle that leads to a full body check through the shoulder or chest, rather an angle that makes the head the primary point of contact.”

Melanson, a 2021 Kraken fifth-round pick, has yet to make his NHL regular-season debut. The player safety department official said Melanson must serve the suspension “in the next two consecutive games he is eligible for for his club.”

Melanson’s junior league in Canada, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, suspended him for four games earlier this year for having knee-to-knee contact with another player.

It is the first player suspension in the history of the Kraken, which debuted as an expansion team last season.

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