The Kraken are Backen! It’s been a minute since we’ve gotten to see any amount of Seattle Kraken hockey, but our long mid-winter nightmare ends tonight!
The Need to Knows:
The Time: 4:30pm PT
The Place: UBS Arena in New York
Place to Watch: ROOT Northwest, ESPN+ for out-of-market fans
Place to Listen: KJR 93.3fm
An Opposing Viewpoint: Lighthouse Hockey
Know Your Enemy:
- The Isles made the first big splash move of the trade deadline, trading for former Canucks captain Bo Horvat just before the All-Star break. General manager Lou Lamoriello quickly gave his new center a massive contact extension which he already hates.
"It's too long and it's too much money"— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) February 6, 2023
Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello with his assessment after signing Bo Horvat to an eight-year deal
( : @NYIslanders) pic.twitter.com/kFTQreLvUg
- The extension at least makes the trade make more sense though, as a one-year rental for Horvat would be quite the bold move from a team outside the playoff picture as it stands right now. The Isles are 6th in the Metropolitan division right now and tied with the Penguins for the last wild card spot, but Pittsburgh has 4 games in hand.
- Center Brock Nelson leads the way in New York with 47 points in 53 games, pacing to blow his personal best point total out of the water in his age 31 season.
- Meanwhile, another center (man, they’re pretty deep down the middle) Mat Barzal is still doing his thing and racking up the assists, with 31 so far this year. Sidenote, shoutout to his former WHL team the Seattle Thunderbirds, who look poised to win their first ‘ship since Barzal was there.
- Ilya Sorokin will likely get the start, as Semyon Varlamov played in net yesterday against the Flyers. Sorokin has a solid .913 save percentage this year, but arguably the very best advanced stat profiles in the NHL, saving more than 33 goals above expectation, per Evolving Hockey.
Goals might be coming at a premium tonight, as we’ll see the Kraken’s unstoppable shooting percentage force meet the immovable object of Sorokin. He’s a tough nut to crack, so the Kraken will have to pepper him with as many chances as they can to get a few on the board. Thankfully, Seattle has a plethora of goal scorers up and down the lineup, including the red-hot Eeli Tolvanen, who is currently riding a 3-game goal scoring streak.
Bo Horvat was kept off the stat sheet yesterday, so he’s still searching for his first goal in Islanders blue. Brock Nelson, on the other hand, is on a 6-game point streak, showing no signs of slowing after his hot start to the year.
Seattle has not allowed a power play goal since January 14th, killing 17 straight penalties over that time. New York hasn’t had a very successful power play this season, but the addition of Horvat could change that at any moment, so the Kraken should not take these special teams situations lightly.
Team Advanced Stats Profiles:
Don’t forget to get home early for this 4:30 start, we’ll see you there!