The 2022-23 season is less than two months away, and the Seattle Kraken look ready to right the ship after a tough inaugural season. After an offseason that included some big acquisitions via trade, the draft and free agency, the NHL’s 32nd franchise is slowly building one of the strongest cores in the Pacific Division. While every game this season will be must-watch, here are five games that fans should have circled on their calendars.
Oct. 15, 2022, vs Vegas Golden Knights
Not only is this the Kraken’s home opener, but it is also against a division rival that Seattle went 0-4 against last season. Despite losing key pieces in Robin Lehner, who is out for the year with injury, and Max Pacioretty, who is now a member of the Carolina Hurricanes, the Vegas Golden Knights still have a strong team that will look to make the playoff after missing out last season. This will also be the first chance for Kraken fans to see fourth overall pick, Shane Wright, if he makes the team out of training camp. Seattle lost their home opener last year, so winning that first game at Climate Pledge Arena would be an ideal start for the team.
Looking ahead to the playoffs, the Kraken need to find a way to beat their divisional opponents. Last year, Seattle went 6-20 against their division last season. If they want a chance at making the playoffs, beating Vegas early in the season is a must.
Oct. 27, 2022, vs Vancouver Canucks
The Kraken and Vancouver Canucks present the potential to become the next great NHL rivalry. They already hold a strong Major League Soccer (MLS) rivalry, along with one in the Western Hockey League (WHL). The only thing that is missing for this rivalry to start taking shape is Seattle beating Vancouver in a regular season game.
Last season, the Canucks swept the Kraken, which included beating Seattle during their franchise home opener. Seattle fans are a competitive and passionate group who have become a custom to their teams beating proximity rivals throughout their sporting history. The Kraken need to find a way to beat the Canucks at least one time this season, so why not at home during their first game against each other?
Dec. 6, 2022, vs Montreal Canadiens
While the Montreal Canadiens always draws a crowd, this year will be different, as we will call this the Wright revenge game. Despite being the number one ranked prospect the entire year, the Canadiens passed on the young center to take Juraj Slafkovský. If both are in the lineup, this could be a high event game with both prospects looking to one-up the other to show who truly is better.
From the Kraken side, it is hard to argue against the fact that Wright was not happy being passed over by Montreal. Few prospects, if any, stare down a team’s table as they walk by, which should indicate he is ready to prove them wrong. He still needs to make the team, but if he does, this could shape up to be his best game of the season.
Jan. 21, 2023, vs Colorado Avalanche
There is always some extra excitement in the air when the reigning Stanley Cup Champions come to town, and next season is no different. The Colorado Avalanche, led by Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon, visit Seattle once next season, with the contest coming in mid-January. This will be the second matchup between these two teams as they will play each other in Colorado on Oct. 21, 2022.
This game has special meaning as multiple players on the Kraken played for the Avalanche in recent years. André Burakovsky, who won a cup with Colorado last season, signed with Seattle this past offseason, joining both Philipp Grubauer and Joonas Donskoi. Grubauer and Donskoi also spent time with the organization before making their way to the Kraken. If you want to be the best, you must beat the best, which the Kraken were able to do once in three meetings last season.
Feb. 26, 2023, vs Toronto Maple Leafs
During the Kraken’s inaugural season, they named Mark Giordano as the first captain in franchise history. He would spend less than a season in Seattle before they moved him to the Toronto Maple Leafs for additional draft picks. Just under 11 months later, he will make his triumphant return to Climate Pledge Arena with the Maple Leafs.
During Giordano’s time in Seattle, he was a leader on the ice. He recorded 23 points in 55 games and was one of, if not the best, players on the ice night after night. Kraken fans will be able to honour their first captain and give him a proper send-off in late February.
Kraken On Pace For An Exciting Year
Even if the Kraken don’t make the playoffs, they have built a fun team that will be a must-watch the entire season. They have some highly skilled players like Burakovsky, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Jared McCann, Matty Beniers, Wright and Jordan Eberle while possessing a potentially strong defensive and goaltending group. The season gets going on Oct. 12, 2022, against the Anaheim Ducks, and fans should be excited for what Seattle has in store for year two.
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.