The Seattle Kraken are in trouble. Their line combinations have not worked, and they are on the path towards a lottery selection this season. The good news is the season is only 15 games old, and there is time to right the ship. With that in mind, here are some line combinations head coach David Hakstol should try out.
New Kraken Forward Lines
First Line: Jaden Schwartz- Calle Järnkrok- Jordan Eberle
The Kraken need to get Calle Järnkrok going at five-on-five and putting him with Jaden Schwartz and Jordan Eberle may be the best solution. This line can generate offensive chances while playing matchup roles against the opposition’s top lines.
All three players are offensively gifted and should be able to handle going up against top defensive pairing night after night. They have yet to play together this season, but it may be time as the team struggles to find offense.
Second Line: Alex Wennberg- Yanni Gourde- Jonas Donskoi
Alex Wennberg and Jonas Donksoi are a strong pair that need to be put back together. Together, they have a 56.63 Corsi for percentage (CF%) at five-on-five and have outscored opponents six to three. Add in Yanni Gourde, and you have a second line that can do some damage against second defensive pairings.
This line can play physically, transition the puck well, and are strong in the defensive zone. Whether this ends up being the top line or second line, they should be able to do some damage on the scoreboard.
Third Line: Jared McCann- Morgan Geekie– Ryan Donato
A third line should be able to generate offense and be a shut-down line. Jared McCann and Ryan Donato have already shown they have some chemistry, and adding Geekie down the middle will allow the Kraken to move McCann to the wing, which suits his game better.
The best part of this line is they would be fun to watch. All three can transition the puck, and their speed should create problems for bottom-pairing defencemen. Their games mesh well and could translate to some success on the ice.
Fourth Line: Brandon Tanev- Colin Blackwell- Nathan Bastian
This fourth line is an energy line that no one will want to play against. They aren’t afraid to hit and will be a pain in the neck all game. What makes them so dangerous is their ability to drive the net and get under their opponent’s skin. Their nickname should be ‘The Chaos Line’ because sparks are sure to fly when they step on the ice.
New Kraken Defence Pairs
First Pairing: Mark Giordano- Jamie Oleksiak
Mark Giordano and Jamie Oleksiak are the typical shut-down pairing. Both are good at limiting chances against and have played over 105 minutes five on five together. The duo has also shown they can generate offense, outscoring opponents six to five while holding a 64.1% expected goals percentage.
Shifting lines can be good, but this is one pairing that should stick together. They have developed strong chemistry already this season and continue to be relied upon game after game. Although they may not be the fastest out there, this duo gets it done and has been a bright spot this season.
Second Pairing: Vince Dunn- Adam Larsson
Vince Dunn and Adam Larsson have only played 16 minutes together, but there is some chemistry between the two. They have a 73.9 CF% when partnered together and have outscored opponents three to zero.
They are the ideal partnership. Dunn is more offensive-minded, while Larsson can be the defensive anchor. Hakstol should consider exploring this tandem more often since they work well together.
Third Pairing: Haydn Fleury- Carson Soucy
It’s time for Haydn Fleury to get his shot as an everyday NHLer, and partnering him with Carson Soucy could create a solid third pairing. Both have shown an ability to generate offense while being strong defensively. More importantly, it would allow Hakstol to have more offensive options on the backend.
The only downside to this pairing is it knocks Jérémy Lauzon out of the lineup. He has been good this season, but the team needs to shake things up to help generate more offense, especially from the blue line. Hakstol needs to take a chance and put these two together, as the duo should work based on their playing styles.
Kraken Need to Make Changes and Quick
With only four wins in their first 15 games, something needs to change and quickly. The lines above should help the Kraken generate more offensive chances while also limiting high-danger chances against. The team has potential; now, they have to live up to it.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at area51sportsnet.com where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.