As has been the case through much of their young history, the Seattle Kraken saw a goalie fall from the lineup this past week. In stepped Joey Daccord, and we’re continuing to see a drastic change in his play from last season. Obviously, the team is vastly different from last year; between new personnel, team chemistry and performance. However, I think that since he’s the team’s injury/emergency call-up, and with Chris Driedger eligible to be claimed off waivers, we should take a look at his recent performance.
I’ve written several times that what Daccord needed more than anything was consistent playing time. There were often long gaps between his starts during his time with the Kraken last season, and I think that partially contributed to head coach Dave Hakstol overplaying Philipp Grubauer. We saw how Daccord performed in the American Hockey League (AHL) for the Charlotte Checkers last season, when he was seeing consistent ice time down the stretch, and was even named March’s AHL Goaltender of the Month.
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This season, the inaugural season for the Coachella Valley Firebirds, he’s picking up where he left off. He’s played more than any of the five goalies who’ve seen ice for the Firebirds, and holds a 24-6-3 record with three shutouts while helping lead the team to its first playoff berth. His 2.43 goals-against average (GAA) and .915 save percentage (SV%) are exactly the numbers you want to see from him.
I harp on Daccord so much because he’s really the team’s only young goaltender with an immediate NHL future. They’ve drafted two in Semyon Vyazovoy and Niklas Kokko, but I can’t see them really impacting the team for at least two or three years. With that, we dive into his latest stint in the deep.
March 21, 2023: Seattle Kraken 5 – Dallas Stars 4 (OT)
The Kraken were up early on the Dallas Stars through two periods of this Western Conference joust, but that came crumbling down in the third period. The teams each struck in the first 15 minutes of the third period to make the score 4-2 Kraken. Here’s my takeaway from this game: Daccord was able to bounce back from a rough period.
Related: 3 Takeaways From Kraken’s 5-4 Overtime Win Over Stars
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The Kraken were outshot 29-27, and 11 of those shots came in the third period. The Stars had a 73.53 Corsi-for percentage (CF%) and owned 77.78 percent of the high-danger scoring chances, both at all strengths, according to Natural Stat Trick. The kicker? The game-tying goal was scored at 19:59 of the third. Adam Larsson went on to seal the deal in overtime for his sixth goal of the season, and Daccord made a lone save in the overtime period to secure the win.
If Daccord were in the same situation last season, I’m not sure we would’ve seen the same result. Consistent playing time coupled with success helps build confidence, and confidence helped him bounce back from a hiccup like he experienced in the third period. While he did allow four goals, he was able to recover and help get the win in overtime instead of letting it affect him, throw him off his game, and allow things to go the other way. He finished with 25 saves on 29 shots for a .862 SV%. Not the prettiest percentage, but he got the win.
March 23, 2023: Seattle Kraken 1 – Nashville Predators 2 (SO)
In the game against the Stars, the Kraken opened the scoring 2:32 into the game courtesy of Brandon “Turbo” Tanev. Against the Nashville Predators, Daniel Sprong decided to open the scoring four seconds earlier. However, it would be their only goal of the game. In the second period, Kiefer Sherwood scored the equalizer before they headed to a shootout. The shootout… didn’t last long, as the Predators won it 2-0.
The takeaway from this one? We saw Daccord step up to the plate against a hungry team that was fighting to stay alive in the wild card hunt. We also got to see him upside down, as he had to stand on his head in overtime in order to force the shootout in the first place. The Kraken were outshot 6-1 in overtime, which contributed to the Predators’ 72.73 CF% in the period, courtesy of Natural Stat Trick.
For my money, Daccord played his best game of the season. He stopped 23-of-24 shots for a .958 SV%, and his one goal-against is the least he’s ever allowed in a game for the Kraken, and among NHL games he’s started in his career. He did beat the Calgary Flames in November 2022 for his first win as a Kraken, but that was early in the season, not against a team that’s fighting for their playoff lives. He may not have gotten the victory, but to get a point and play that well when it mattered the most was a pretty significant jump from last season.
What Daccord’s Latest Stint Says About His Future
Daccord is a pending restricted free agent (RFA) with arbitration rights, and is currently making $750,000. I don’t think he’d be getting any significant raise, but his performance in both the AHL and NHL this season should see him receiving another contract with the Kraken. Driedger will still be under contract for another year, but there are even more question marks with pending unrestricted free agent Martin Jones leading the way for most of the season.
If Daccord is back next season, I think he could be in the same role he is now. He’d be a serviceable NHL backup who is more prepared to play well in spot call-ups and as an AHL starter. There’s no doubt that the improved team in front of him has contributed to his decent play this season, but at the end of the day, he still has to stop the puck. A lot could happen between the end of this season and the start of next, but based on his latest two games, I’d say that the best-case scenario for Daccord sees him as the backup to start the season (however unlikely).
As for the immediate future, Daccord returns to the Firebirds with the Calder Cup on his mind. It’s a testament to goalies taking longer to develop, and he’s showing that with time he has the potential to stick in the NHL. I really want to see a deep playoff run from the Firebirds. Not only because of what it will mean for Daccord in his continued development, he’s had one playoff run as a professional and it was last season, but for the Kraken’s prospects playing in the AHL.