Kraken Weekly: Inaugural Ending

This week ends the very first season ever in Seattle Kraken history. It was one filled with plenty of positive memories despite it being a tough one where we saw the team not being as competitive as we all had hoped. I will briefly recap it in a bit, let’s get to the final games of this season first as the Kraken played against the Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, and San Jose Sharks:

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Quinn Hughes sets record, Canucks beat Kraken 5-2 (4/26/22)

Kings take over in 3rd period to beat Kraken (4/27/22)

1st home shutout victory for the Kraken in home finale (4/29/22)

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How’s it Kraken? My thoughts on the week and season that was

The end of the inaugural season for the Seattle Kraken is finally here, and the first year in the history of the team had its ups and downs. Before I briefly recap the season as a whole, let’s quickly take a look back at this past week. Just as a heads up and a disclaimer, I’m not going to discuss the game that was rescheduled against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday. There are no implications with that game whatsoever and won’t change the outcome of the Stanley Cup playoffs or anything. With the game against the Canucks, the Kraken dug themselves a whole and we’re somewhat able to get back in the game until Vancouver was able to lock it down and get the victory. Against the Kings, Seattle had a lead a couple of times but just wasn’t able to get the job done before L.A. pulled out in front and finished it off with an empty netter. The Kraken were playing against a team in the Canucks who were in the playoff chase before recently eliminated, and a Kings team that just qualified for the postseason. So it wasn’t a surprise to lose to these two teams. Finally, the Kraken in their home finale added more history to their record books as they got their first home shutout victory by defeating the San Jose Sharks on Friday 3-0. What a great way to end the season by putting on an amazing performance for their fans. It was definitely a game and performance to be proud of for sure.

Looking back on this inaugural season, it had high hopes before it started and didn’t wind up going how other fans thought it would be as an expansion team (ie. like the Vegas Golden Knights before them). As I’ve said before in looking back at the expansion draft, it should’ve been expected that things would be tough for the first year. GM Ron Francis’ plan is to build a team through the draft and have a sustainable winning culture for years to come and not be in “salary cap hell” where there are bad contracts taking up cap space, and big names players not playing to what they’re getting paid to do. That’s why you didn’t see names like Cary Price or Vladimir Tarasenko get picked at the expansion draft besides their recent injury history. They plan to use the salary cap space as a weapon to acquire high end talent that will improve the team and make it better.

It was nice to see a guy like Jared McCann get a chance and show that he’s capable of being a top producer and produce he did as he lead the team in overall scoring. Yanni Gourde showed why he was an important piece on the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning and how he’s very important to the Kraken going forward. Jordan Eberle provided some secondary scoring and very valuable leadership along the ways. The only concern going forward is goaltending as Philipp Grubauer had a very off kind of a season that didn’t resemble his Vezina trophy nominee season like the year before. Hopefully Grubauer will have a bounce back season next year and the goal turning position will perform a lot better as a whole as there’s plenty of talent there.

There are a lot of bright spots to look forward to with there being salary cap space to spend, trades that could be made, and there will be a lot of young prospects coming in through the draft with plenty of draft picks at the Kraken’s disposal thanks to a very successful trade deadline. We will have to wait and see what happens over the off-season but it definitely will be exciting for sure to see what improvements will be made to the team and as I always say…stay tuned Seattle!

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