Seattle Kraken Turn Around

Nate Fischer, Sports Writer

The Seattle Kraken began play in the NHL’s Pacific league in the 2021-22 season, finishing with a league worst 27 wins.  Now only a season later they are in the running for the top spot. 

The Krakens first season as the new NHL expansion team was one to forget. It was consistent losing from the get-go. Only able to get 6 wins through their first 20 games and finishing dead last in the Pacific division. Although disappointing, a season like that was expected. 

Out of the past 5 expansion teams, 3 had similar results by also finishing dead last, so a terrible first season wasn’t the end of the world. Fortunately for the Kraken, a few years prior, the Las Vegas Golden Knights became the most successful expansion team in history. Before the knights were added, the NHL restructured the expansion draft rules. Allowing teams to be more competitive early on. It worked like a charm as the Golden Knights made it to the Stanley cup in their first season. 

As you can see, it didn’t come that easy for the Kraken in year 1, but if the current season had the same result, panic might have started to set in, and coaches and players may have been let go. 

Coach Dave Hakstol had other plans, as he and his staff made a few key moves such as drafting young star Shane Wright with the 4th overall pick and replacing ex team caption Mark Giordano with a potential future star Will Borgen. But besides that, the kraken really stuck with what they had. 

With the new season underway, the struggling Kraken found themselves off to somewhat solid 4-4-2 start through the first 10 games of the young season, which was already much better than the year prior. 

“Coming into the year, we wanted to make sure we moved in the right direction,” Hakstol said after the promising start. “Early on, we’ve been able to show that, demonstrate it night to night.”

Things really picked up when the same Kraken who had finished with only 27 wins in their first season, had 30 wins through their first 50 games. 

Besides the few moves, the substantial turn around can only be explained by the teams “scrappy underdog mentality,” says player Jordan Eberle. Every night the Kraken seem to be doing everything they can to score more goals than their opponent.  

Possibly the most important factor is the Krakens brick wall of a Goalie, Phillipp Grubauer, who has a save percentage that is top 10 in the NHL. Grubauer is a fan favorite due to his success, and the anchor to their defense. 

On the other side Jared McCann and Matty Beniers are leading the offense, with a combined 52 goals so far this season. Along with the rest of the team the Kraken average 3.52 goals per game, which comes in at an outstanding 6th in the entire NHL. 

Now that the Kraken have proved they can play, the new question is if they can keep it up. The playoffs are just around the corner. The kraken have unfortunately sizzled out a bit, splitting their last 20 games. But if they can stay strong for the last half month of the season, they will find themselves in the NHL playoffs, with a chance to win a Stanley cup, only a year after they were by far the worst team in the league.