In the second half of a back-to-back, the Seattle Kraken were out-star powered by the Edmonton Oilers and lost, 5-2. The Kraken now drop to 3-6-1, while the Oilers climb to 7-1-0. Joey Daccord started for the Kraken, but the game didn’t go as he would have liked.
At one point, he gave up three goals on just six shots and finished allowing five goals on 23 shots. It’s probably fair to say Daccord would’ve rather it stayed at three; to honor that, here are three takeaways from the game.
Kraken Fail To Capitalize on Chances… Again
For the second straight game, the Kraken managed to out-shoot and out-chance their opponent. Interestingly, the shots and hits were identical against the Oilers, 29-23 favoring the Kraken. They out-chanced the Oilers 35-29 and just slightly had the edge with a 50.53 Corsi for percentage (CF%).
It’s great to have depth scoring. Especially when forward Brandon Tanev, whose projected role was in the bottom-six, ends up leading the Kraken in goals off the hop. The problem is, that isn’t supposed to be his job. Will it come in handy down the line? Yes. Is it great for his confidence? Absolutely. However, if you’re the Kraken, there’s cause for concern.
Forward Jaden Schwartz finally scored his first of the season, more on him later, but forwards Yanni Gourde and Jordan Eberle did not score. The three combined for just four goals through the Kraken’s first 10 games. That’s not going to win you many hockey games.
Some solutions? Juggle the lines. Make a call-up and give them a fair chance of playing; Alexander True leads the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Charlotte Checkers in scoring with eight points in seven games. The power play has been dismal and definitely could use a shakeup while the season is still young.
The Kraken should keep the focus on making smart plays and scoring dirty goals. Leon Draisaitl scored two goals for the Oilers. One was a deflection and the other was in-tight off a rush, both below the dots. Right now, the Kraken should be looking to score similarly rather than something pretty.
Kraken Goaltender Daccord Still Needs More Time
While this may seem like an overreaction given the final score and small sample size, Daccord needs more seasoning before making the jump to full-time NHL backup. Yes, he just went up against Connor McDavid and the Oilers, but you don’t always get to choose your hand, and these are the cards he was dealt.
It’s with no disrespect intended towards Daccord, but goalies take longer to develop, and he hasn’t seen much ice over the last year. He combined for just 10 games between the AHL’s Belleville Senators and the NHL’s Ottawa Senators and struggled.
“‘Goaltenders come into their peak somewhere around the age of 25,’ said Mark Kelley, the Hawks’ vice president of amateur scouting. ‘You have some of the outliers a little bit sooner than that but it takes awhile.’”From “Path from prospect to NHL goalie is long, difficult and no sure thing” by Jimmy Greenfield, Chicago Tribune, 7/21/18.
Original backup goalie Chris Driedger has skated with the team and could be eyeing a return. Daccord could very well catch fire in the AHL with the Charlotte Checkers, where he is 1-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and a .963 save percentage. Either way, he is better served getting those reps rather than sitting behind starter Philipp Grubauer.
Kraken Defense Shows More Offensive Prowess Than Anticipated
Defenseman Carson Soucy scored a goal, more on him later, while defensemen Jamie Oleksiak and captain Mark Giordano tallied assists in the Kraken loss to the Oilers. In all, the Kraken defensive corps combined for three points, six shots, 15 hits, and 11 blocks.
The latter two statistics are to be expected, and Adam Larsson led the way. He registered four hits, tied for the team lead, and five blocks, which led all players. Despite this commitment to defensive play, he has three assists on the season, which points to a larger theme.
The Kraken defense, which was looked at for its defensive prowess, has scored seven goals and 21 points this season. Three of the Kraken’s seven multi-goal scorers come from the blue line. Considering the scoring struggles, this is promising for the Kraken and could take some of the weight off their forward corps’ shoulders in the immediate future.
Right from the start, the Kraken defenders looked eager to jump into the play. As long as they remain responsible in their own end, this could be a saving grace for the Kraken during the early parts of the season.
These two shoutouts go to a player who is owed a mea culpa and another who made a splash in his return to the lineup.
You have to give credit where credit is due. Schwartz was called out in the previous “3 Takeaways” edition, and he responded with the Kraken’s first goal. He did so on four shots and added two hits and two takeaways in 17:57 time on ice, including over two minutes on the struggling Kraken power play.
Soucy hadn’t played since the Kraken’s home opener against the Vancouver Canucks, back on Oct. 23. He responded with a goal on two shots, four hits, and two blocks in 17:28 time on ice. It’ll be interesting to see if he dresses next game, based on his performance against Edmonton, he earned it.
Kraken Go Buffalo Hunting
The Kraken is looking at a two-day break, before taking the ice at Climate Pledge Arena. They’ll look to get their third home win of the year against the surprising Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres are a team mired in the Jack Eichel drama and controversy and weren’t expected to do much of anything this season, let alone rank second in their division.
The Kraken comes off this back-to-back 0-2, and it may not be fair to say they were outplayed, just outmatched. The Kraken dominated the Rangers and had chances against the Oilers but were beaten by both star power and themselves.
They need more from several players and to keep generating the chances they’ve been unable to finish on. If they can’t start finishing on those chances, they’ll fall deeper and deeper into a hole that may be closing faster than it appears.
Sean Raggio lives for hockey. He will be covering the Seattle Kraken, and is a co-host of “What’s Kraken” for THW. Sean gained experience in writing for television, print and radio while studying journalism at Quinnipiac University and being an active member in the student media organizations there. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out on Twitter! A link can be found at the bottom of his articles, such as this one.