It’s a new NHL season and we have a new NHL team. The Seattle Kraken will begin the history of their franchise this upcoming season. They started with nothing and now have their team set. The expansion draft caused a little concern for Seattle fans with some of their selections. Overall, the draft could have been better, but they certainly have built a team for success.
Their main focus was on defense over everything. Drafting players like Mark Giordano from Calgary and Vince Dunn from St. Louis will certainly help your blueline on any team. Unlike Vegas back in 2017, the Kraken did not make any side deals to help influence some of their selections. That seemed like a big mistake at the time, but they were just gearing up for a busy free agency. After signing some big-time players on the market, the Seattle Kraken are in control to make some noise this season. In a weak division in the Pacific Division, the Kraken seem like they have a nice path to a potential playoff berth in their inaugural season.
— Emerald City Hockey (@EmeraldCityHky) August 6, 2021
Free Agent Spending Spree
Some of the picks from the expansion draft from the Seattle Kraken were a bit of a head-scratcher to most fans. It ultimately made the team look like they wouldn’t be close to a playoff team, but it was just setting them up for a huge spending spree in free agency. Their biggest need was at the forward position heading into free agency. With some of their signings, they completely changed the scenery of their forward group.
The biggest name they signed from free agency was former Blues’ forward and leader Jaden Schwartz. Schwartz had built a reputation of being a leader and a winner. On a team that surrounded their expansion picks with young, promising players, this signing is huge. They also signed a potential fit for their number one center position in Alexander Wennberg. Wennberg isn’t the flashiest player, but he certainly has all the qualities to be a standout player on this team. The addition of Marcus Johansson from Minnesota is a very solid pickup for the bottom six too.
The biggest surprise from all their signings was at the goalie position. Philipp Grubauer was a Vezina Trophy finalist this season for Colorado. All signs were pointing to him staying in Colorado, but he shocked the world and signed a six-year contract with the Kraken. It was shocking that Seattle signed him because it seemed like their pick of Chris Driedger from Florida was going to be their starting goalie. It ends up being a bold move from Ron Francis and now the Seattle Kraken have two solid options in between the pipes. This gives the Kraken options if they need to shake up the lineup and spark the team if they are ever in a rut.
By far, the Pacific Divison is the weakest of all the divisions in the NHL. Seattle could not have been put in a better position than they are right now. It is no secret that Vegas is the heavy favorite to take the division once again. Edmonton is probably a lock to secure either the number two or three seed in the division. Other than that, the third spot with a guaranteed playoff berth is open for the taking for the remaining six teams.
The Anaheim Ducks are clearly going nowhere at the moment. Los Angeles made some strides last season, but they are far from being a playoff team. The San Jose Sharks are a dumpster fire right now and the Evander Kane saga isn’t helping them in any way. Calgary has too many holes that they still need to fill to become a true contender. Vancouver definitely improved their team this offseason, but they still concern me with how they can make the next stride.
That leaves the Seattle Kraken as a potential fit for that third spot. To be successful in this league, you need a solid offense, a tough defense, and stellar goaltending. This team seems to have checked off all those boxes with how they assembled their team. The biggest question will be if they can bond together like Vegas did to have a potential Stanley Cup run. Will we get a repeat of the Cinderalla run from the Golden Knights back in 2018? Let us know what you think.
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