2021-22 Kraken Report Cards: McCann, Tanev & Beniers

Hello, Seattle Kraken nation, I am back with another edition of Kraken Report Cards! Today’s edition will take a look at a trio of forwards who fans should be very excited about this upcoming season. One of these players had a breakout year for the team last season, while another just got his feet wet in the NHL. The third player is someone who, if you’ve followed my coverage and listened to the THW What’s Kraken podcast, you know I’m a huge fan of.

Seattle Kraken Year End Player Grades
Seattle Kraken (The Hockey Writers)

Before I start, let’s break down the grading system. It’s the basic A-F system where an A is excellent, and a C- means they have a lot to work on. Minimum qualifications for inclusion are having played 10 games and finished the season with the Kraken. One of these players just barely qualified, and I’m sure you know who it is considering the rather obvious teases. Alright, I’ll only make you wait a bit longer — let’s get started.

Jared McCann

Raise your hand, no cheating, if you penciled in Jared McCann as being not only the team’s leading goalscorer, but scoring more than 25 goals in the team’s inaugural season. My hand is down. McCann scored 27 goals and totaled 50 points in 74 games for the Kraken, including eight power-play goals and one shorthanded. It really should’ve been anticipated considering his goals per game numbers have been on the rise over the past three seasons, and I think it’s safe to expect at least 20 goals from him next season. 

It’s promising to see that he achieved this on a team that struggled mightily in most facets of the game. They had an inefficient power play and generally struggled to put the puck in the net. He was coming from a Pittsburgh Penguins team that, despite not going far, was at least a playoff team the two seasons prior. 

The Kraken have made some additions that should allow McCann to flourish. They added players capable of facilitating and scoring themselves in André Burakovsky and Oliver Bjorkstrand. McCann did play center a lot of times last season, finishing with a 45.5 faceoff percentage (FO%), but should definitely be kept on the wing. Even considering the additions, it would shock me if he wasn’t in the top six to start the year.

Player Grade: A-

Brandon Tanev

He’s coming back, and it should be with a vengeance. A player who I dubbed the Kraken’s emotional leader, Brandon “Turbo” Tanev. He got off to a great start last season. We knew he’d be competing for the team’s most prolific hitter, and he definitely set the tone with 98 hits in his 30 games, which averages out to just over three hits per game. It’s a respectable number. Offensively, he brought more than some may have expected.

Related: Kraken Need New Emotional Leader With Tanev Out

He scored nine goals and 15 points, the goals putting him at eighth on the team at season’s end despite the time he missed. Over an 82-game season, he was projected to score 25 goals and 41 points. It would’ve been both his first 20-goal and 40-point season. His cut-short season saw him earn his career high in goals per game and it was the first time he surpassed one goal per 60 minutes. 

Brandon Tanev, Seattle Kraken
Brandon Tanev, Seattle Kraken (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Kraken will benefit greatly from having him back in the lineup. While he could definitely find his role as a gritty third-liner who can provide some offense – including on both special teams units – added personnel could force him down to the fourth line. Either way, the boost he brings to the team and fans alike will be welcomed back with open tentacles for the team this season. 

Player Grade: B+

Matty Beniers

Here’s that youngin’ you’ve all been waiting for, 2021 second-overall pick Matty Beniers. He had a small sample size, but he definitely created a buzz for fans and pundits alike. After 20 goals and 43 points for the University of Michigan, he joined the Kraken and tallied a point in all but one game. He finished his 10-game stint with three goals and nine points. Additionally, he’s yet to take his first NHL penalty, and considering his 16 penalty minutes (PIMs) in two collegiate seasons, he may not take one for a while.

He made the team’s limp to season’s end exciting and showed his potential, which may have even increased due to the team’s additions. He’ll have wingers who look to be entering their prime and breaking out, one with some Stanley Cup rings under his belt, as well as Shane Wright to work with. Wright is important because, considering the controversy in his falling to the Kraken at fourth overall, more eyes can be on him rather than Beniers coming into the season. That’s not to say Beniers will be overlooked, but it should serve to take some pressure off him.

Related: Kraken Make the Wright Pick at Fourth Overall

Remember, both Beniers and Wright are young and entering their first full NHL seasons (assuming Wright makes the team). Don’t set those expectations too astronomically high, just let them come in and sort out the growing pains. Even if there are growing pains, Beniers has positioned himself to have a good start with the Kraken.

Player Grade: B+

Naturally, each of these players will be impacted by the team around them. The Kraken still need work, and especially need some bounce-back goaltending performances. These factors in mind, McCann, Tanev and Beniers are all coming into the year off of successful 2021-22 seasons. The momentum is on their side, so let’s see how long they can ride it.

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