In this edition of Seattle Kraken News & Rumors, Jaden Schwartz breaks his goal-less streak against the Edmonton Oilers, Carson Soucy ties for the lead in goals among Kraken defensemen and team-leading points-getter Jared McCann looks to return to the ice after being placed in COVID-19 protocols and missing the past two games.
Schwartz Breaks the Dry Streak, Looks to Continue Scoring for Kraken
It took 10 games, but Schwartz finally broke his goalless streak, scoring a beautiful five-hole goal on Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen after splitting two top-pairing defenders, Darnell Nurse and Evan Bouchard, on Monday. It is surprising it took this long for him to find the back of the net, especially considering how many great scoring chances he’s had over the past few games. For Kraken fans, this hopefully marks a turning point for the 29-year-old forward.
Schwartz, a 10-year NHL veteran who helped lead the St. Louis Blues to its first Stanley Cup win in franchise history in 2019, was one of the most exciting unrestricted free agent signings for the Kraken this offseason. He started the season primarily playing alongside center Jared McCann and right wing Jordan Eberle before head coach Dave Hakstol began testing new line combinations. Now teamed up with center Alexander Wennberg and Joonas Donskoi on the Kraken’s top line, Schwartz is showing promise that he can be one of the top producers on the team.
With five points (one goal, four assists) in 10 games, Schwartz’s start with the Kraken has been solid. He is tied for fifth on the team in shots with 17, but carries a team-low 5.9 shooting percent among Seattle’s scorers. He’s had many scoring chances robbed by red-hot goalies, including two great chances against the New York Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin on Sunday. Now that he’s got his first goal out of the way, expect Schwartz to continue gaining confidence and finding the back of the net more often using his speed and puck-handling skills.
Soucy Moves Into a Tie For First in Goals Among Kraken Defensemen
Until Monday, team captain Mark Giordano and Haydn Fleury were the only Kraken defenseman with multiple goals, both with two on the season. In the dying minutes of the second period of Monday’s game in Edmonton, Soucy found the back of the net with a blocker-side snipe on Koskinen, moving him into a tie with Giordano and Fleury for first in goals among Kraken defensemen.
Soucy has suited up in six games this season, scoring two goals and averaging two shots per game. The Kraken’s defensemen have been relied on to also provide offense for the team, and Soucy has been one of the most successful at the task so far. His 16.7 shooting percentage is the third-highest on the team and the best among defensemen. Still early in his career, he has tallied 33 points (10 goals, 23 assists) in 114 NHL games. He’s off to a great start in Seattle and will have a chance at beating his season-high of seven goals, which he scored with the Minnesota Wild in 2019-20, if he continues to perform at this level.
The 2021-22 season is still young, and no players have solidified themselves as Kraken star players just yet. Soucy is among the candidates of breakout players this season, so look for him to continue building on his playing style as one of the Kraken’s top-contributing offensive defensemen. If he continues his recent trend, he might soon become one of Seattle’s mainstay blueliners.
McCann Missed by the Kraken, Could Return to the Lineup on Thursday
Despite McCann missing the last two games in COVID-19 protocols, he remains the Kraken’s leader in points, with seven points (three goals, four assists) in eight games. After back-to-back wins against the Montreal Canadiens and Minnesota Wild, Seattle looked to extend its win streak to three games against the Rangers, but just hours before the game, they received news that its top points-getter was unavailable. Since losing McCann, the Kraken have lost back-to-back games, falling to the Rangers at home and Oilers on the road.
Although there is no reported timeline for his return, there is a chance McCann could be back in the Kraken lineup at home against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday. Seattle is off to a rough 3-6-1 start, tied for sixth place in the Pacific Division, and need to start winning if they want to keep up with the pack. Getting McCann back on the ice could give a much-needed boost to the Kraken, who have only managed to score three goals in the past two games.
McCann is emerging as one of the Kraken’s top snipers, with the second-best shooting percentage on the team at 21.4 percent. He was greatly missed on the ice against two strong goaltenders in the Rangers’ Shesterkin and Oilers’ Koskinen. So the Kraken will be thrilled to get him back in the lineup, whenever that may be.
The Kraken play their next game on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. PT, back at home against the Sabres. Schwartz, Soucy and McCann look to continue their success and get Seattle back in the win column against Buffalo, who are off to a better-than-expected start with a 5-2-1 record through their first eight games.
Tom Pepper writes about the Seattle Kraken from a fan perspective. He began his hockey writing career with THW in June 2020, working as a Buffalo Sabres journalist during the 2020-21 season. He also spent time as a FanSided site expert and covered his childhood team, the St. Louis Blues. In June 2021, he devoted himself to the Kraken (pre-expansion draft) and started writing from a fan perspective full-time at THW. He’s been a diehard Kraken fan ever since. In addition to writing, he hosts the THW What’s Kraken show on iHeartRadio. Follow him on Twitter at @TomPepper.