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What we’ve learned about the Kraken in ten games

It’s been a lovely month of hockey, so let’s talk about what we’ve learned so far.

NHL: New York Rangers at Seattle Kraken Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Dave Hakstol and the Power Play need to have a sit down

The Kraken are a strange team. At 5v5, they generally control most of the action they’ve gotten so far, but have been completely incapable of getting the goals they need on the man-advantage. As Dan pointed out in the most recent Morning Swim, Their power play success rate has been sitting at 9.4% with their advanced metrics giving the impression they should probably just defer any man-advantage given to them, if it were at all possible. From the eye-test, one wonders how on earth they’ve even been able to get that far, as the Kraken become seemingly unusually skittish with the puck, unsure of themselves where previously a clear confidence in what they want to do (start out high, then come down to the goal), and it’s really starting to affect their ability to win games.

Coach Hakstol has had these troubles in his past, and so it would behoove him if he wants to stay in the good graces of Seattle fans to try and reconfigure this team’s ability to score with a man advantage.

Goaltending’s a bit of a question mark

I would say that both goaltenders have played and that given the way this team defends we need more data (which is always how this works. the 30-40 game mark is usually when we have enough data for the fancy numbers to start evening out.). But that would be a lie, as while Joey Daccord and Philipp Grubauer have played and have had...mixed results, let’s call it? The Kraken’s netminder situation has been pointlessly complicated by the unlucky injury of Chris Dreidger, who was previously slotted to be Grubauer’s backup (or the other way around, even given his less than optimal preseason).

NHL: Seattle Kraken at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

This has otherwise left the Kraken in a strange place. Most of the goaltending woes have come in such strange ways that while yes, both have struggled, it’s not a complete picture at all.

Further, it doesn’t seem they’re getting much help — for as rough as the individual save percentages of the goalies have been, the team save percentage is just as rough, currently worst in the league at 87.56%, though that’s only because the Blackhawks have actively won a game in the time it’s taken for the Kraken to get ready to play the Sabres.

Your goalie should be able to steal you a game, but they can’t steal all of them for you. You can only do so much before you get help.

They are stupendously, relentlessly, phenomenally unlucky

PDO is the stat that governs luck in the NHL. There’s a little more to it than that (“team shooting percentage + team save percentage” can never quite describe what it’s like watching the game), but generally speaking in this case I feel like it explains a lot about the Kraken’s not-great-looking 3-6-1 start.

In that after ten games, The Kraken own a 31st in the NHL PDO of 0.960.

The only team worse is the Chicago Blackhawks, who may be unlucky on the ice, but are actively a force of malignant evil off of it, and should garner absolutely no sympathy whatsoever.

But even when not playing the stats, there’s gotta be something you can get for getting goalie’d, kicking rule’d, players going into COVID protocols left and right, losing your backup/starter depending on how you feel right now in the first week, goals that no sane goalie should ever give up going in, apocalyptically bad power play, and habitually bad third periods happen all in the same month of each other to start your first month ever as an NHL team.

...Like a winning streak in November, maybe?

We have a long way to go before we start worrying about something like draft position.

It should be noted that for as unfortunately as the Kraken’s start has been, the Pacific has been a place of confusion for pretty much everybody; Vegas hasn’t been able to take over the division as the media previously anticipated they might. Vancouver has been going through the mother of all bad slumps, LA’s defense may as well be a turnstile. Things look bad now, but this is the Pacific Division. It can always change, and it can change quickly.

Until then...maybe start a wish list of who you’d like to see acquired at the trade deadline? I for one think Tomas Hertl would look good in a darker shade of blue.