Just because the Seattle Kraken won’t be making the playoffs, this season doesn’t mean fans won’t have moments to celebrate. There are some players who are projected to hit personal milestones in the last 19 games this season. Here are some moments to watch out for.
Jaden Schwartz- 600 Games Played
Jaden Schwartz is just four games away from 600 in his career. The former Stanley Cup champion is set to pass the milestone on March 30 at home versus the Vegas Golden Knights. He has played 36 games with the Kraken this season, along with 560 with the St. Louis Blues from 2012-20.
When Schwartz passes the 600 game mark, he will become the 15th player from the 2010 draft class to achieve this milestone. Others include Kraken teammate Riley Sheahan and Buffalo Sabres sniper Jeff Skinner who is the current leader with 833 games played. Amongst those drafted in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, he ranks 11th in goals with 162, 10th in assists with 245, and ninth in points with 407.
Yanni Gourde- 100 Career Goals
Yanni Gourde currently sits at 96 career goals and is projected to hit 100 before the season ends. The two-time Stanley Cup winner has been a bright spot for the Kraken this season, putting up 16 goals and 38 points in 55 games. He is also the only Kraken player projected to hit 50 points this season.
Related: Meet the Kraken: Forward Yanni Gourde
Gourde’s career has been impressive, considering he was never drafted in the NHL. When he passes the milestone, he will join a list that includes players like Martin St. Louis, Alex Burrows, and Jonathan Marchessault of undrafted players from Quebec to score 100 goals in their careers. The hope for Kraken fans is he can continue to skyrocket up the list of points by undrafted players during his time in Seattle.
Alex Wennberg- 200 Career Assists
Alex Wennberg is closing in on 200 career assists, only needing seven more this season to hit the milestone. He has 20 so far this season, meaning he will need to pick up his play to get to 200 before the campaign ends. The task is not impossible but could be challenging as he only has one assist in his past ten games.
Wennberg is currently tied with Bo Horvat of the Vancouver Canucks for eight in assists amongst players drafted in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He also currently sits 22nd in goals from his draft class with 64 and 11th in points with 257. Although this season hasn’t gone the way he has hoped for, the Nacka, Sweden native has a chance to end it with a positive by claiming the milestone.
Adam Larsson- 1,600 Career Hits
Adam Larsson is making his way up the career hit list and currently sits 50th since the statistics started being counted in 1997. The former first-rounder has accumulated 1,592 hits over his 666 career games and should cross the 1,600 mark by the end of March. Over his career, he has registered 428 with the New Jersey Devils, 1,026 with the Edmonton Oilers, and 139 with the Kraken this season.
This season, Larsson has been a rock for the Kraken on defence. He has been their best shutdown defender and isn’t afraid to lay his body on the line. He is also closing in on a blocked shots milestone as he currently has 1,167 for his career. While he most likely won’t get the 33 required to hit 1,200 blocked shots for his career, he will definitely be celebrating his 1,600 hit milestone this season.
Matty Beniers- First Career Game
Matty Beiners’ first game is arguably the biggest event Kraken fans are looking forward to this season. While it is unclear when his first game will be, the projection is mid-April as the University of Michigan is expected to go far in the NCAA Frozen Four tournament. Although playing him will burn a year of his entry-level contract, the Kraken should get him in the lineup as soon as they can to ensure his NHL development starts and so fans can get to see their future star as much as possible before the end of the season.
So far this season, Beniers has been everything the Kraken expected and more. The 2021 second-overall pick was a key member of the US Olympic team, has helped the University of Michigan secure the Big Ten Championship this season, and has been nominated for the Hobey Baker Award. He is the future of this Kraken team, and getting him on the ice in Seattle needs to be a priority once his season concludes.
Still Something To Cheer For As A Kraken Fan
Although the Kraken will finish in a draft lottery spot, there is still reason to cheer. The players have worked hard to achieve these milestones, even if the majority of the work was done before coming to the Kraken. There are 19 games left this season, which is plenty of time for the Kraken to work on their chemistry and get ready for next season.