In this edition of Seattle Kraken News & Rumors, Chris Driedger prepares for gameplay after returning from the injured reserve for a second time this season, Morgan Geekie matches his career high in goals, and the Kraken’s three 2022 NHL All Star Game captain nominees are revealed.
Driedger Returns to Complete One-Two Punch in Net for Kraken
The Kraken got the second piece of its one-two punch in net back on Saturday, with Driedger activated off the injured reserve for a second time this season. He has played just five games (four starts) this season, recording a .876 save percentage (SV%) and 3.60 goals against average (GAA). He last played in a 7-4 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 29.
Driedger’s next start is likely to come on either Tuesday or Wednesday, with the Kraken set for back-to-back games in California against the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks, respectively. Hopefully, the road trip marks a turning point for Seattle’s goaltending tandem that has struggled to stay consistent and healthy this season. If Philipp Grubauer and Driedger turn into the strong net-minding duo they were expected to be entering the season, they may give the Kraken new hope in the playoff race.
Geekie Matches Career High in Goals, Off to Strong Start in Seattle
Geekie’s third-period goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday marked his third goal of the season, matching a career high he set twice with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2019-20 and 2020-21. In 27 games he has seven points (three goals, four assists), just two points shy of his total set in 36 games with the Hurricanes last season.
The 23-year-old center is making a name for himself in Seattle, still very early in his career. He has played 65 NHL games with the Hurricanes and Kraken, tallying 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists). It is evident that his time with the Kraken is serving him well in his development, leading the team with a 55% face-off win percentage and ranking ninth among Seattle forwards in points. Keep an eye on him to continue building confidence and expanding his skill set this season, which will be his first full NHL season if he plays all the way through.
Giordano, Schwartz and Eberle Are Kraken’s All-Star Captain Nominees
Voting for the 2022 NHL All Star Game is now open, and three Kraken players are nominated for Pacific Division captaincy. Seattle defenseman Mark Giordano; and forwards Jaden Schwartz and Jordan Eberle are listed on the ballot, with voting open until Jan. 8. If any of the Kraken’s captain nominees make it into the event, they will take the ice in Las Vegas from Feb. 4-5.
Giordano is tied for most goals among Kraken defensemen with three in 21 games. Despite missing six games due to COVID-19 protocols, he ranks third on Seattle’s defense with eight points (three goals, five assists). Giordano is looking for his third appearance at the NHL All-Star Game after playing in the 2015, 2016 and 2020 events.
Schwartz leads all Kraken skaters with 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in 25 games. Right behind him is Eberle, who has 18 points (12 goals, six assists) in 25 games. Eberle played in the 2012 NHL All-Star Game, while Schwartz is still looking for his first appearance.
The Kraken are set to face-off against the Sharks on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. PT. Seattle is 11 points back of a wild card spot, while San Jose is only one point out of playoff position. A win for the Kraken could help it gain some traction in the playoff race.
Tom Pepper hosts The Hockey Writers Podcast and writes the “NHL Talk” column every weekday (Monday to Friday). He also writes the daily “NHL Quotes” column. He is a diehard Buffalo Sabres fan in Toronto, frequently driving the Queen Elizabeth Way to cheer on his team at KeyBank Center.