In this edition of Seattle Kraken News & Rumors, Chris Driedger is activated off the injured reserve and will make his first start with the team, Alex True is the leading points-getter on the Charlotte Checkers and Joey Daccord is sent back to the AHL to continue building on his impressive start to the season.
Driedger Activated Off the Injured Reserve, Awaiting First Kraken Start
Kraken fans received great news on Monday, with goaltender Driedger being activated off the injured reserve (IR). The 27-year-old completes the highly-anticipated Seattle tandem with Phillip Grubauer and looks to make his first start in net for the Kraken, potentially as soon as Thursday. Driedger, who was selected from the Florida Panthers in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, was initially expected to be the starting goaltender before Grubauer signed as an unrestricted free agent. He played just 32 minutes this season, in relief of Grubauer, before being placed on IR.
The one-two punch of Grubauer and Driedger was a hot topic heading into the 2021-22 season, and talks can finally start heating up again. Driedger is coming fresh off a pair of incredible seasons with the Panthers, recording a .927 save percentage (SV%) in 2020-21 and .938 SV% in 2019-20. Last season, he made a career-high 23 starts in net. Look for him to share considerable time with Grubauer in the crease, likely splitting the load approximately 60 percent for Grubauer and 40 percent for Driedger. Driedger was the only goaltender present at the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft in Seattle and will soon get a chance to play his first full game in a Kraken uniform.
True Leads Charlotte Checkers in Points After Seven Games
The future of the Kraken already looks promising, especially for True. Seven games into the 2021-22 AHL season, he has tallied eight points (four goals, four assists), leading the Checkers in both points and goals. He is also the only player on the roster averaging more than a point per game.
True recently changed his goal song to “You Make My Dreams (Come True)” by Daryl Hall and John Oates, and he could very well make his NHL dreams come true soon by earning a call-up to the Kraken at some point this season. The 24-year-old is still young in his career, only having played 19 NHL games so far, all with the San Jose Sharks. In his first promotion in 2019-20, he tallied four assists in 12 games. Last season, he played seven games for the Sharks, recording one assist. It may not be long before he gets another shot at the top level if he continues his success with the Checkers.
Daccord Returns to Charlotte Checkers to Build on Impressive Start
After filling the backup goaltender position while Driedger was on the injured reserve, Daccord has been sent back to the Checkers to continue building on what has been a stellar start to the AHL season for the 25-year-old. He made his Checkers debut in a 4-1 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Oct. 17, turned aside 26 of 27 shots for a stellar .963 SV%. As the youngest goalie on Charlotte’s roster, look for him to continue developing into an NHL-caliber puck-stopper.
His brief stint with the Kraken saw him make two road starts in net, first against the New Jersey Devils and then against the Edmonton Oilers. Despite a mediocre .855 SV% combined between his two games, he showed a lot of promise and made some key saves for Seattle. He got to face-off against some of the NHL’s most elite talent in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in Edmonton, an experience most young goalie prospects never get. If Daccord continues proving himself at the AHL level, it likely won’t be long before he gets another look in Seattle, maybe even sometime this season.
The Kraken host the Buffalo Sabres at Climate Pledge Arena on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. PT. A starting goaltender has yet to be named, but there is a good chance Driedger gets the call to make his first start for the Kraken.
For prospects enthusiasts, True and Daccord will play against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Saturday at 3 p.m. PT.
Tom Pepper is a diehard Buffalo Sabres and Seattle Kraken fan writing news and rumors columns at The Hockey Writers since June 2020.