Kraken Need Gourde To Find Scoresheet

Seattle Kraken forward Yanni Gourde has had a slow start to the 2022-23 season. While the team has seen a relatively improved start with a 2-2-2 record in six games, he has yet to register a point. After playing a career-high 18:29 average time on ice (ATOI) last season, his ice time is down to 16:29 ATOI. Ironically the team’s offseason additions, aimed at generating more offense, may be what’s hindering his own production.

Yanni Gourde, Seattle Kraken
Yanni Gourde, Seattle Kraken forward (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Kraken have a minus-5 goal differential, having allowed 22 goals and scoring just 17, and has yet to win on home ice. If Gourde can find his rhythm, that could help the team not fall into a rut in the early going. Let’s discuss how he can get there.

Gourde’s Linemates

When creating my opening night forward line projections, I had Gourde centering the third line with Brandon Tanev and Jared McCann on his wings. It was a combination that was supposed to bring gritty physicality to the bottom six but also had the potential to put up some decent offensive numbers. So far this season, Gourde has no points, Tanev just two, and McCann has four.

Related: Kraken 2022-23 Opening Night Forward Line Projections

Gourde has shared the ice with McCann and Tanev more than any other Kraken forward this season. He’s played with Tanev for 51:51 time on ice (TOI) and 34:28 TOI with McCann. Aside from them, he’s seen significant ice time with both Jordan Eberle (29:34 TOI) and Karson Kuhlman (27:58 TOI) as well.

The Kraken have scored 17 goals in six games, but they really need more offensive production if they hope to continue their decent start. It looks like Gourde’s linemates are going to remain relatively consistent between the four players mentioned above, and if that’s the case, better chemistry needs to develop quickly.

Gourde’s Special Teams Placement

THW’s Adam Kierszenblat projected the Kraken’s special teams lineups prior to opening night and had Gourde on both the second power-play unit and the first penalty kill unit. While the penalty-killing placement is correct, as he’s spent 16:27 TOI killing penalties thus far, he’s been scarcely seen on head coach Dave Hakstol’s power play.

Yanni Gourde Seattle Kraken
Yanni Gourde, Seattle Kraken forward (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Gourde has only seen 1:10 power-play TOI this season. While power-play production hasn’t been a major factor in his point totals in the past, that’s a steep drop from the 144:34 TOI he saw in 72 games last season. According to Daily Faceoff, the Kraken’s second power-play unit has four forwards; Alexander Wennberg, Matty Beniers, Ryan Donato, and Oliver Bjorkstrand. If it were me setting the lineup, I’d find a way to get Gourde in there somehow.

Related: Kraken 2022-23 Opening Night Special Team Projections

Beniers and Bjorkstrand are the two definite keepers. You want Beniers getting power-play time as the future and face of this team, and having Bjorkstrand on the power play was one of the reasons behind bringing him in. Both Wennberg and Donato can play center and wing, similar to Gourde, so to remove one of them in favor of the veteran and two-time Cup winner is a must in my eyes.

Gourde Needs To Start Scoring Soon

Gourde is a heart-and-soul player, similar to Tanev in that sense; if he’s performing well it’ll have a positive impact on the team as a whole. Through the first six games of the Kraken’s inaugural season, Gourde produced a goal and five points with a 21:02 ATOI. Despite not registering a single point thus far, the Kraken are off to a better start than last season; the team was just 1-4-1 with 13 goals scored. It’s an interesting coincidence how the tables have turned with Gourde getting off to a slower start than the team this season. 

The Kraken made moves to be a more competitive team during the offseason, and fans are starting to see glimpses of that. If they really want to keep building on what they’ve started, then they need Gourde to start contributing. If I had to set a goal for him, he needs at least a goal and three points by the time they’ve played 10 games.

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