Kraken See Soucy Emerge as a Defensive Presence

While the Seattle Kraken have struggled out of the gate in their inaugural season, Carson Soucy has been a rock at the back-end for the fledgling team. Soucy scored his first goal as a member of the Seattle Kraken during Monday night’s contest in Philadelphia.

The former Minnesota Wild defenseman has already proven himself as an offensive threat from the blue line through the first four games of the season for the Kraken. Soucy sits near the top of the Kraken’s offensive numbers in several categories throughout the start of the season, despite early struggles from the team’s defense. the early season play could look to see the 27-year-old move up the Kraken’s lineup as the team comes into its first home stand. It should be noted that all of the stats below are prior to Saturday’s game against the Canucks.

Soucy Leads Seattle in Even Strength Shots

One thing Soucy has not shied away from doing through his first four games with the Kraken is shooting the puck. Soucy’s 10 total shots are tied for second on the team, with captain Mark Giordano, sitting behind only Ryan Donato’s 11 shots. However, all 10 of Soucy’s shots have been in 5-on-5 situations, which leads all members of the Kraken at even strength. Soucy recently reaped the rewards of his frequent shooting, scoring his first of the season and the first goal by a Kraken defenseman in Seattle’s loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Carson Soucy, Seattle Kraken
Carson Soucy, Seattle Kraken (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Soucy’s offensive presence has been felt by the Kraken, despite his absence from the ice during the power play. He has only seen a measly 28 seconds of power-play time for the Kraken throughout four games, and has not recorded a point in a 5-on-4 situation. However, 20 seconds of that time came during the Kraken’s Tuesday loss in New Jersey.

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Soucy should look to make waves in a Kraken defensive core that is anything but solidified as of yet. The Seattle Kraken have made liberal use of their defensive core with Soucy and others moving up and down the lineup as the team struggles to find a solution to its early woes. He has already played over 20 minutes once during last Saturday’s game against the Blue Jackets and has played over 18 in three of his four games so far.

Soucy Saw Consistent Improvement Over Past Two Seasons

After spending two seasons playing the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Iowa Wild before breaking into the NHL in the 2019-20 season, Soucy saw moderate success in his time with the Minnesota Wild. His seven goals during his rookie season during the shortened 2019-20 season were fourth among Wild defensemen. Both his 14 points in 55 games during 2019-20, and his 17 points in 50 games last season, meant he was scoring at an over-20 point pace in a standard 82-game season.

Carson Soucy Minnesota Wild
Carson Soucy, Former Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

While Soucy’s offensive play may have only seen him showing up once on the scoring sheet so far, he has brought a physical presence to the Kraken’s back end as well. His 10 hits are in the top-five on the team prior to Saturday’s game against Vancouver, and his physical play has been largely clean as well, only taking one penalty through his first four games. Soucy’s presence as a physical defenseman was already well established by the time he was drafted by the Kraken, finishing top-five in hits in both of his past two seasons with Minnesota.

Soucy Thriving Among a Fluid Defensive Lineup

The biggest asset to Soucy as a Seattle Kraken may be the relatively fluid state of the team’s defensive core. He has moved up and down the Kraken’s lineup throughout the franchise’s first games, projected to play on the third line alongside Vince Dunn for Seattle’s home opener on Saturday night. While Soucy played in the shadow of stars like Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon in Minnesota, the flexible state of Seattle’s lineup provides an opportunity for the 27-year-old to set himself apart from the pack.

Soucy will look to help buoy a Kraken defense that has struggled defensively, holding the fourth-worst goal differential in the NHL at minus-8. He holds a plus/minus of minus-2 after his first four games, sitting roughly in the middle of his teammates. Soucy’s play so far has afforded him a second look by Kraken management, and he will look to solidify a top-6 spot on the Kraken’s defensive core.