So it might not be a Cinderella season for the Seattle Kraken. The bounces haven’t been going their way. They’ve lost games they should have won, and haven’t really won any of the matchups where they were the underdog either. Done no favors by the NHL schedule makers in the early days of the season the team recovered briefly, before losing its footing once again. After a couple losses in a row, there’s the potential to get discouraged, but you shouldn’t. This is what a “good” expansion team is supposed to look like. And there are plenty of reasons to expect a brighter tomorrow.
First of all, the team isn’t scoring timely goals on a regular basis. Even outshooting a team like the Edmonton Oilers, including several high danger chances, the team lost 5-2. But it’s a team of 7th forwards and 4th best defensemen, lacking an elite finisher. Next season, when the first draft pick in franchise history, #2 overall Matty Beniers joins the team, that should change. And while one hopes the Kraken don’t remain at the bottom of the standings, a low finish could mean another highly touted draft pick in the pipeline.
Coach Dave Hakstol is doing it right. While the Kraken have a less-than-impressive 3-6-1 record, there are positives to take from every game. The team does not quit. They didn’t fold up tent when the Philadelphia Flyers hammered them 6-1 and they were within one goal in several other losses (with some results worsened by empty net goals). Scoring by committee, and getting their defensive systems more fully in place, should bring their win total back closer to .500 over the coming months.
The arena looks great, the fandom strong, and the club is demonstrating values and leadership off the ice, a bright spot in a league that seems to consistently drop that particular ball these days. The Kraken are breaking barriers, supporting local sport, and embracing diversity, all while being hands down the best dressed team in the league.
The wins will come, the Cups too, eventually. And anyone who says the Kraken aren’t living up to the standard set by the Vegas Golden Knights just needs to look one or two slots up the standings to see how their elder expansion brother is doing these days. It’s early in the franchise’s first year of existence, and the season is far from lost, but even if it ends up going that way, the Kraken, and their fans, have already won.