With the Seattle Kraken set to open training camp for the 2023-24 season in just a few days, anticipation is already building around the city. After last season’s run to the second round, there is plenty of excitement regarding this season’s team as they have built a roster that should once again help them make the postseason. That being said, there are still many questions heading into the season that should start to be answered once the players hit the ice at the Kraken Community Iceplex on Sep. 21. With that in mind, here is a look at the three biggest questions heading into training camp.
What Goalie Tandem Will the Kraken Use?
One battle to watch in training camp and the preseason will be who is the Kraken’s backup in net this season. Philipp Grubauer is once again expected to be the starter, but with Seattle having two goaltenders on one-way deals, it will be a difficult decision that could result in one being traded or lost on waivers. Both Joey Daccord and Chris Driedger are NHL goalies at this point in their careers, so expect both to be at the top of their games over the next few weeks.
Based on last season’s play, it looks as though Daccord may have the edge despite Driedger’s experience. The American keeper led the Coachella Valley Firebirds all the way to the Calder Cup Final while also performing well when he was called up to the NHL. Regardless of what decision Seattle decides to make, they should have a strong duo this season which will be imperative if they have their eyes set on the Pacific Division crown.
Where Will Shane Wright Play This Season?
Just like last year, one of the biggest questions for the Kraken will be what to do with Shane Wright. The 2022 fourth overall pick started the season with Seattle in 2022-23 but ended up playing in three different leagues as well as on Team Canada’s World Junior squad. It is safe to say the 19-year-old needs some stability, which is why Seattle needs to decide early what the plan is for him heading into the 2023-24 season.
Latest News & Highlights
The good news for the Kraken is that it sounds like Wright can play in the American Hockey League (AHL) all season if they would like. As reported by Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times (from ‘Kraken prospect Shane Wright will be allowed to play in AHL if he can’t make NHL squad’, The Seattle Times, Sep. 12, 2023), general manager Ron Francis has been notified that Seattle’s top prospect will be eligible for the AHL. This would be via an exception to The CHL-NHL Transfer Agreement, which could open the door for other prospects around the Canadian Hockey League to make the jump full-time to the AHL a year earlier. Regardless of where he starts, he needs to play at least 60 games this season so he can continue his development and live up to expectations.
What Does Seattle Do With All Its Forwards?
This offseason, the Kraken made a point to upgrade their forward depth. The problem is they may have signed too many and created a logjam for their younger players. With 12 forwards currently signed to one-way contracts, plus multiple experienced players on two-way deals, it creates a scenario that may limit opportunities and keep players who deserve a shot at the NHL in the AHL for another year.
Based on the current roster, it is hard to picture Wright, Ryker Evans, Kole Lind, Cale Fleury, or Tye Kartye earning a spot in the opening night lineup. They also have players like John Hayden, Devin Shore, and Connor Carrick, who, despite being signed to two-way contracts, could make a push to be on the fourth line or occupy the team’s 13th forward/seventh defenseman spot. While this depth will ensure the Firebirds once again have a strong team, closing virtually all openings on the NHL roster prior to the season may not be the best policy in the future.
Plenty Of Excitement Heading Into Training Camp
Based on the roster the Kraken have assembled, fans should be excited heading into training camp. Seattle kept their core together, added some strong pieces, and will be getting back one of their top players in André Burakovsky. While they may not be Stanley Cup contenders just yet, this team has the capacity to make some noise this season as they look to build on the success of the 2022-23 campaign.