In this edition of Seattle Kraken News & Rumors, Brandon Tanev‘s season ends early after suffering an ACL injury against the Edmonton Oilers on Dec. 18, Mason Appleton enters COVID-19 protocols and Matty Beniers records an assist in Team USA’s opening game of the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Tanev Suffers ACL Injury, Will Miss Remainder of Season
The Kraken have already had a rough start to the season, ranking 28th in the NHL and second-last in the Western Conference with a 10-17-3 record. Things got even worse on Monday, with the team announcing Tanev will miss the remainder of the season due to an ACL injury suffered in Seattle on Dec. 18 versus the Oilers. The heavy-hitting power forward who has captured the hearts of Kraken fans everywhere will certainly be missed the rest of the way this year.
Tanev was on pace to shatter multiple career highs, with 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in 30 games. His 17.6% shooting percentage (S%) with the Kraken is the best he’s shot in seven NHL seasons. Not to mention, he ranks first on Seattle and eighth in the league with 98 hits. The Kraken have lost a key piece to its offense and overall identity. It will be very difficult for Seattle to find a suitable replacement for him with 52 regular-season games still left to play.
The Kraken continue to fall in the playoff race, and now with Tanev’s unfortunate injury, the team will have an even more difficult road ahead if it wants to qualify for the postseason this year. With a major free agency period ahead this summer, the next time Tanev takes the ice in Seattle could be alongside a very different lineup.
Appleton Becomes Third Kraken Player to Enter COVID-19 Protocols in 48 Hours
After the Kraken announced Vince Dunn and Ryan Donato missed Sunday’s practice due to entering COVID-19 protocols, Appleton joins the list one day later on Monday. The league-wide virus outbreak is causing issues for many teams and puts upcoming games in limbo as it continues to rapidly spread among players and staff.
Appleton has six points (two goals, four assists) in 19 games this season. If the Kraken’s games go ahead as scheduled, the Kraken will need to dig deep into its depth to find suitable replacements for its COVID-stricken players while they recover. It’s an extremely complicated time in the NHL, and the Kraken are not alone in their issues. All fans can do right now is hope for the well-being and good health of their favorite players while this wave of COVID-19 rips through the league.
Beniers Records an Assist in USA’s 3-2 Win Over Slovakia at 2022 World Juniors
The defending champion Team USA’s opening game of the 2022 World Juniors was a success, taking down Team Slovakia by a score of 3-2 on Sunday. Kraken prospect Beniers drafted No. 2 overall at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, tallied an assist on USA’s second goal of the game, scored by Mackie Samoskevich.
On Tuesday, the USA forfeited its game against Switzerland on Tuesday with two American players testing positive for COVID-19. The USA is next scheduled to play against Sweden on Wednesday, but that game is obviously in question as well as it is likely other players will test positive for the virus as well. Hopefully, the USA finds a way to resolve its issues and can hit the ice again to attempt the first gold medal repeat at the tournament since Canada in 2009. If not, Kraken fans can still watch Beniers when he returns to the Michigan Wolverines to play the remainder of his season in the NCAA.
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers.