The National Hockey League approved its newest expansion team in December of 2018, the Seattle Kraken. So far throughout preseason the Kraken have four wins and two losses. The last expansion team to join the NHL was the Vegas Golden Knights, who were added to the league in 2016. Impressively, in their inaugural year, the Golden Knights made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals before being bested for the cup by the Washington Capitals. Fans in Seattle are hopeful that the Kraken will recreate the Golden Knights’ magical season, however it is quite unlikely that the Kraken will be able to do so.
There are a lot of questions surrounding the Kraken’s first season, but one thing we know for sure is the Kraken will have a great goalie partnership in Chris Driedger, who they revealed in the expansion draft, and Philipp Grubauer who they signed in free agency just a week later. Dridger saved 93.8 percent of shots, but played fewer games than Grubauer, who posed a save percentage of 92 percent. For a team with question marks surrounding their first season, the goalie position is not one to worry about as a Seattle fan.
The Kraken’s overall team is built in such a way that allows them to be fierce competitors out of the gate, but also doesn’t leave them stranded in the future. The Kraken front office was able to build their core of players in a wide array of ages, mixing in fresher faces on the team, with gritty veterans who know what is needed to win. One of these veterans is Mark Giordano, who recently turned 38 on Oct. 3. Giordano may not be in his prime anymore, but what he will bring to the team off the ice will more than make up for what he has lost on the ice. On the other side of the spectrum is Luke Henman who is only 21, and has yet to play a regular season game but should be able to show what he is made of this season.
Other players to watch during the Kraken’s inaugural season include veterans such as Jordan Eberle and Jaden Schwartz. Jordan Eberle is the older of the two at 31 years old. He is also arguably the best player on the team. Eberle was able to accumulate 33 points in his eleventh season last year, and shows no signs of slowing down. Although Eberle’s points were not as high as in his younger years, his plus/minus was nine, a career high for the player.
Another veteran player who will be aiming to boost the Kraken to a possible playoff berth is the 29 year old Jaden Schwartz. Coming into his tenth season, Schwartz will be looking to provide veteran leadership and hopefully pass his knowledge of the game onto the younger players of the team, as well as providing a wealth of points during the season. Last year was a down year for Schwartz, accumulating only 21 points, however he only played in 40 games. If we look at the season before, where he played 71 games, he was able to snag 57 points throughout the season.
The Kraken should be a really fun and interesting team to watch this season, as they really are just so unpredictable. Will they recreate the magic that the Golden Knights were able to? Will they crash and burn with a horrific losing season? Your guess is as good as mine on where this team will finish, but one thing for sure is that we should all be tuning in to watch.