Kraken Monthly: Beniers, Canucks, Hall & More

The Seattle Kraken had a January to remember going 11-3-1 in their 15 games. They set an NHL record by sweeping their seven-game road trip earlier in the month and finished January at the top of the Pacific Division. Here is a look at five stories from January 2023.

Matty Beniers Injury

During the Kraken’s win against the Vancouver Canucks, Matty Beniers took a high open-ice hit and left the game. Tyler Myers, who threw the hit did receive a two-minute interference penalty on the play but did not receive any further discipline. Seattle’s star rookie also missed the final two games before the All-Star Break.

Matt Beniers Seattle Kraken
Matt Beniers, Seattle Kraken (Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images)

Unfortunately, Beniers will miss the All-Star Game, but ensuring he is healthy and not dealing with long-term side effects is all the Kraken care about at the moment. If the injury is a concussion, which is suspected but the Kraken have yet to verify, rushing him back is not in their best interest long term. He is the present and future of this franchise so even if it means sitting him out a few games post-All-Star Break, the Kraken must do everything in their power to ensure he is at 100 percent before he suits up for another game this season.

Kraken Finally Beat Canucks

While the Kraken’s streak was unforgettable, beating the Canucks for the first time in the regular season may have been the best moment of the month. After falling the previous six times which included blowing multiple leads in a 6-5 shootout loss back in December, Seattle hammered Vancouver 6-1 on Jan. 25 in front of the Climate Pledge Arena faithful. Led by former Canuck Jared McCann who had three points, 10 players found the scoresheet with five recording multi-point games.

The Kraken’s quest to defeat every team in the NHL now sits at two with only the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers remaining. Seattle can potentially cross one of those teams off this year as they are set to face the Flyers twice in the month of February. Unfortunately, they will have to wait until 2023-24 to complete the challenge as the Lightning took both games this season.

Seattle Enters All-Star Break Top Of The Pacific

With 63 points in their first 49 games, the Kraken enter the All-Star Break at the top of the Pacific Divison. They also sit third in the Western Conference and eighth across the entire NHL. While they are tied with the Los Angeles Kings in points, they hold the tiebreaker thanks to a better points percentage, more regulation plus overtime wins, and lead the season series 3-0.

Related: 3 Takeaways From Kraken’s First Franchise Win Over Canucks

The Kraken are hitting their stride at the right time, but need to be careful if they want to keep their spot at the top of the Pacific Division. The Edmonton Oilers are also catching fire and sit just three points back with 60 points in 50 games and could knock the Kraken off if they come out of the break slow. It is sure to be a tight race throughout the rest of the campaign with the division winner being crowned possibly on the final day of the season.

Kraken Inconsistent After Winning Streak

The Kraken’s form after their eight-game winning streak was concerning. To be fair, they were missing multiple players including Beniers, Justin Schultz and Jaden Schwartz for games during the stretch, but overall, struggled against other potential playoff-bound teams. If not for games against bottom feeders like the Canucks and Columbus Blue Jackets, it is very possible they could have ended the month losing six of their final seven games.

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The big losses were against the Oilers and Calgary Flames who beat the Kraken in regulation. With the standings so close, Seattle can not afford to walk away from those games without at least a point. The Kraken have a combined record of 3-10 all-time against their Alberta rivals and with potential playoff series a possibility against either one, need to create a game plan that can produce wins sooner rather than later.

Prospect Spotlight: Barrett Hall

Playing for the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League (USHL), Barrett Hall had a great January recording eight points in eight games. He also recorded 16 shots on goal and had a plus/minus rating of plus-4. The Kraken’s 2022 sixth-round pick is up to 25 points in 33 games which ranks third on the Gamblers this season.

Hall is starting to show a bit more consistency as the season progresses. He had a six-game point streak during the month of January and recorded at least one point in seven of the eight games. A commit to St. Cloud State University for the 2024-25 season, he will have plenty of opportunities to impress with six more games this season scheduled against the US National Development Program.

All-Star Break Happening At Perfect Time

With the injuries piling up, the All-Star Break could not have come at a better time for the Kraken. With no players attending the festivities as of writing, this is a chance for all the players to get re-focused and heal up for their run to the playoffs. With a five-game Eastern swing to kick things off after the break plus visits from the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins scheduled, February could be a make-or-break month for the Kraken in their quest to lock down their first-ever postseason berth.