When it was announced that the NHL would add a team in Seattle, many wondered how they would do in their first season.
Unfortunately, many more than likely compared the Seattle Kraken to the Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights shocked everyone in their first season and made it to the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost to the Washington Capitals.
The Kraken would not be so lucky. Like many expansion teams before the Golden Knights, the Kraken struggled mightily and finished last season ranked 30th in the league with a 27-49-6 record.
Fast forward to this season, and things have been much different for the Kraken. As of this writing (Monday, January 3), the team is fourth in the Pacific Division (just one point behind the Calgary Flames) and 16th in the league with a 19-12-4 record.
There are several reasons why the team is currently in a playoff spot in the very competitive Western Conference. For starters, the team’s goaltending has been a bit better this season.
While Philipp Grubauer was out with an injury, Martin Jones stepped in and played well. Jones is 15-5-0-3 with a 2.96 goals-against average, a .888 save percentage, and one shutout, while Grubauer is 3-7-0-1 with a 3.53 goals-against average and a .881 save percentage.
Those numbers may not look great, but what really matters is the number of victories. Despite going into the season as the backup, Jones has done everything that has been asked of him so far, and as long as he keeps winning games, that is all that should matter.
As a whole, the team has been much better defensively this season. The Kraken are 17th in the league in goals allowed (114) and third in the league in shots against per game (28).
Because the team is playing so well defensively, it has taken the pressure off an offense that, while getting better, is still working on things. They are 13th in the league in goals scored, with 121 goals in 35 games.
The team has also shown that it has depth. Players Andrei Burakovsky (28 points), Jordan Eberle (27 points), Matty Beniers (25 points), Jared McCann (23 points), Daniel Sprong (21 points), Vince Dunn (21 points), and Yanni Gourde (21 points) have all been producing for the club.
Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol has done a much better job managing his hockey club this season. They have been better on offense, do not allow many shots on goal, and are in the thick of a tight playoff race.
Whether or not the Kraken find a way to make the Stanley Cup playoffs this season, they have shown their fans that they have the potential to be a really good team, whether it is now or in the near future.