The Seattle Kraken are only a few games into their NHL existence. The first home game in Seattle was an electric atmosphere, but it wasn’t enough to push them past Vancouver. The team is off to a rough start and there a few things that are noticable already. No doubt chemistry takes time to find, especially with an expansion team with a bunch of guys who barely know each other. But the troubling trends are hard to ignore.
First, it’s important to remind ourselves what the plan on paper for this team is. It’s not like when Vegas came into the league, there was not a lot of offensive firepower available for the taking. The Kraken felt with the players available to take that they would start as a defensive minded team with a focus on being physical. and getting reliable goaltending to help with that. They knew they wouldn’t have the ability to blow anyone out. Think of the Islanders for a stylistic comparison. To enforce the defensive mindset, the Kraken signed Philipp Grubauer in free agency, and loaded up on defensemen. Captain Mark Giordano, Jamie Oleksiak, Jeremy Lauzon, Adam Larsson, Carson Soucy, and Vince Dunn make up the current starting core.
Oleksiak is known to be hard hitter, and Lauzon isn’t afraid to drop the gloves and start a scrap. Dunn also adds an offensive bonus to the lineup, and he is the one who scored the first goal in Climate Pledge Arena. Giordano as we know has a lot of experience and the group as a whole does as well. Yanni Gourde and Brandon Tanev were also brought in to be physical presences. Gourde was an integral part of the last two championships for the Lightning as he centered the third line with Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman that shut top lines down.Tanev will literally hit everything in sight. Early on, they are looking like a hard working team that will try to grind you down.
Folks, I like physical hockey as much as the next person. Who doesn’t? The problem is that it is not translating into wins yet and they are not scoring enough. As we all know, goals are kind of important. Certainly there are players on the team with offensive upside – Morgan Geekie, Jaden Schwartz, Jared McCann and Jordan Eberle to name a few. However, more needs to be ton to tap into that offensive potential. They had chances at home, but could not capitalize. Maybe it’s as simple as getting more games under their belt or reshuffling the lines. It is still early on in the season, so this may not be a huge concern yet. It is also worth mentioning that that the pacific division is pretty weak besides Vegas and Edmonton. But if I were a Seattle Kraken fan, coach, or player, I’d be getting a little nervous right now.
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