Kraken Goaltending Finally Finding Footing with Revitalized Grubauer, New Backup

Philipp Grubauer clings to the post, waiting for the puck.
Photo credit: Steph Chambers/Getty Images

A plethora of challenges have faced the Seattle Kraken in the opening weeks of their season. Offensive regression, depth issues, long-term injuries to core wingers in Brandon Tanev and Andre Burakovsky, concerns over effort and motivation– you name it. However, goaltending is one thing the team hasn’t had to worry about.

Strangely enough, the aspect of the game that has long been a liability for the team, inducing mass hysteria among fans, has suddenly become the team’s greatest forte. No longer are starting goaltender announcements a catalyst for controversy, as Seattle will be getting a strong performance on the back end regardless of who takes the crease.

Ironic? Yes. Unappreciated? Certainly not.

Philipp Grubauer and Joey Daccord have proven through six games that they have what it takes not only to keep the Kraken in games but to put them in a position to win them. Whether their skaters can capitalize on those opportunities is a different story. For now, Seattle can rest assured knowing that while they untangle issues on the attack, the position most indicative of long-term success is a stronghold.

Weathering the Storm

Seattle’s defensive corps has yet to return to the stingy standard of play they normally exceed, allowing the third-most unblocked shot attempts in the league (214) in just six games. Nevertheless, both netminders have held their own against the barrage.

While Grubauer’s individual record has taken a beating (0-4-0), it shouldn’t be mistaken for poor play on his part. He’s recorded a .896 SV% and allowed 3.04 goals against on average– lackluster numbers until one looks at his workload. According to NHL Edge, Grubauer has struggled to save a higher-than-average amount of high-danger shots (32, compared to the league average of 20) but is perfect or performing higher-than-average in saving all other shot dangers.

In two games, Daccord has recorded a .918 SV% and allowed 2.40 goals against on average, one of the better goaltending stat lines in the league at the moment.

Grubauer and Daccord have allowed about as many goals as they were expected, indicating that neither goaltender, even on their worst nights, has independently added to any pre-existing deficit on account of poor play. As long as the skaters in front of them can prevent excessively high danger chances, Grubauer and Daccord can deliver results.

Backup Decision Proving the Right Choice

Deciding who would take the backup position was the biggest question facing the Kraken entering this season, as its implications would have far-reaching effects on the sustainability of the tandem.

Most of the questions regarding the legitimacy of Daccord’s claim to the position revolved around whether his sterling stat line and physical endurance would translate to the NHL level in the face of a more significant workload. Keeping Grubauer well rested is the key to ensuring his strength of performance. Any backup selected by the Kraken would need to shoulder their fair share of the workload.

“Last year, I played almost 70 games between the NHL, AHL, and AHL playoffs,” Daccord said, countering questions of his ability to keep up with the intensity of the NHL physically.

Time will only tell if optimism for Daccord’s endurance holds any grounds in reality. It’s still early, but the current sample of his play bodes well for the season ahead. Daccord has had no trouble diving headfirst into high-stakes situations confidently, tackling the St Louis Blues in the first overtime game of the season and handling the Carolina Hurricanes’ high-volume play gracefully. Seeing this, the coaching staff has exhibited no hesitancy to start him against tough opponents, indicating a growing trust in his reliability.

Depth in the Desert

After losing out on the backup position, Chris Driedger likely won’t see any playing time with the Kraken anytime soon. Regardless, he’s thriving with the team’s affiliate, the Coachella Valley Firebirds. In two games, he’s recorded a .945 SV% and allowed only 1.52 goals against, on average, for the fourth-best stat line in the AHL.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

Allyson Ballard

Goth sports enjoyer covering all things Seattle Kraken. Freelance writer, as seen on SeattleHockeyInsider, Cor-sea, formerly of the 32 Krew. Currently majoring in English at the University of Washington

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