Kraken’s Top 5 Moments of 2022

The new year is upon us, and before we start 2023, we need to take a look back at my top-five Seattle Kraken moments of 2022. This article will span five moments from both the end of the 2021-22 season and what we’ve seen thus far in the 2022-23 season. The Kraken have shown a lot of improvement over the calendar year, and even when they were struggling on the ice, they gave their fans a lot to cheer for.

Seattle Kraken Celebrate
Seattle Kraken celebrate (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

This listing is subjective to my interpretation. If you have other moments you would include in your list, I’d love to hear them in the comments below or even on social media! I’m going to look at some momentous points from the organization as a whole, so it won’t just be limited to the Kraken varsity team. With that, let’s dive in.

5) Dec. 18, 2022: Coachella Valley Firebirds Win Inaugural Home Game

The 2022-23 season is the Kraken’s first with their own AHL team, the Coachella Valley Firebirds, as they shared the Charlotte Checkers with the Florida Panthers during their inaugural year. This is important for several reasons, the most important being that we now get to see how the Kraken organization will develop its prospects. Cameron Hughes scored the first goal of the game, and the team went on to beat the Tucson Roadrunners 4-3. 

The team is off to a very strong start this season with an 18-6-3 record. Through 27 games, they have seven players with at least 18 points, including two defensemen. Having their own AHL team allows more of their prospects to play and for some to have larger roles. Ryker Evans tallying 18 points, Ville Petman scoring 13 and even Tye Kartye with 12 shows that the Firebirds are off to a great start in preparing prospects to make the jump and help the Kraken down the line.

4) Oct. 1, 2022: Buoy Takes the Ice for the First Time

This next moment was one fans waited on for a long time. The Kraken unveiled their mascot, Buoy, to the world ahead of their sophomore season. The blue-haired troll is based on the Fremont Troll, which is a famous sculpture in the Seattle area. While he’s received mixed reviews, Buoy will enhance the in-game experience for a Kraken fanbase that is already wildly passionate. 

Related: Kraken Mailbag: New Mascot, Prospects & More

Paying tribute to a sculpture from Seattle is just another way the Kraken are paying homage to their hometown. Another example is their goal song being the legendary grunge band Nirvana’s “Lithium” off their highly influential album “Nevermind.” Love Buoy or hate him, the fact that the Kraken keep finding ways to pay tribute to their home will only further endear the fanbase and city to the team.

3) Dec. 6, 2022: Shane Wright Scores First NHL Goal

We’re going to give a little love to a player mired in controversy on this one. Shane Wright scored his first NHL goal in his eighth (and presumably final) NHL game this season against the Montreal Canadiens. We all know the speculation that Wright has since rebuked, that he stared down the Canadiens’ draft table after they passed on him with the first overall pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Whether or not you believe his comments on not staring them down, he has a chip on his shoulder, and it’s a fantastic thing for the Kraken. 

The Kraken were trailing 1-0 in the first period following a Johnathan Kovacevic goal; coincidentally, it was his first NHL goal as well. Wright picked up the puck just inside the blue line and was able to keep it in the zone as his linemates went on the forecheck. He found himself in the low slot unmanned, took a feed from Oliver Bjorkstrand and one-timed it into the back of the net; Yanni Gourde got the secondary assist.

Related: Kraken Make the Wright Pick at Fourth Overall

He had a conditioning stint in the AHL, where he scored four goals on just 11 shots in five games. Now playing as Team Canada’s captain in the 2023 World Junior Championship, the sky’s the limit for him. 

2) April 16, 2022: Matty Beniers’ First NHL Goal

Matty Beniers is going to be the face of the Kraken for a very long time, and I believe he will be team captain one day. He made his debut for the Kraken after a very successful two-season collegiate career playing for the University of Michigan Wolverines, where he scored 30 goals and 67 points in 61 games over two seasons. In his NHL debut, he tallied an assist. However, I’m here to discuss his first NHL goal. 

It was a non-conference matchup at Climate Pledge Arena. The Kraken were heading to the power play, tied with the New Jersey Devils 2-2. The video is linked above, and Beniers buried his first goal to give the Kraken a 3-2 lead, and just look at the Kraken faithful EXPLODE. While the Devils would tie it up in the third period, and he would be stopped in the shootout, Ryan Donato’s shootout goal would prove to be the winner for the Kraken.

Latest News & Highlights

1) 11/17-12/01: Kraken Embark On Franchise-best Winning Streak

Don’t yell at me about this one, as it technically is comprised of seven games, but those seven games created one moment, so this one definitely counts. The Kraken set a franchise-best seven-game winning streak from the middle of November to the start of December. 

  • Nov. 17: 3-2 OTW vs. New York Rangers
  • Nov. 19: 3-2 OTW vs. Los Angeles Kings
  • Nov. 23: 8-5 W vs. San Jose Sharks
  • Nov. 25: 4-2 W at Vegas Golden Knights
  • Nov. 27: 5-4 W at Anaheim Ducks
  • Nov. 29: 9-8 OTW at Los Angeles Kings
  • Dec. 1: 3-2 OTW vs. Washington Capitals

The Kraken really showed how capable they are of stringing together wins, whether or not they were pretty (9-8 OTW in LA, I’m looking at you). The team had a plus-10 goal differential and had a power play firing at 35 percent. Their penalty kill and faceoffs struggled, killing a miserable 50 percent of penalties and winning just 44.2 percent of faceoffs despite a 54.1 offensive zone starting percentage, but they still found ways to win. 

Related: Kraken Off-Ice Success Just As Important As On-Ice Performance

This was an extremely fun stretch of hockey. While they may come back down to Earth, it’s a very good sign of things to come. The team will keep maturing and growing together, and as I said, this is a sign of things to come over the next few years if their build remains on the same trajectory.

Kraken Had Fantastic 2022

While their inaugural season ended without a playoff berth, it all worked out in the end, as the Kraken ended up with the fourth-overall pick and subsequently, Shane Wright. Overall, this has been a fantastic year for the Kraken, and they’re seemingly only trending upward. 

Seattle Kraken Celebrate
Seattle Kraken Celebrate (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Look out for an article breaking down some New Year’s resolutions for the Kraken and a breakdown of why they need a strong start to 2023 as we put 2022 to rest and look forward to the future.

Sign up for our regular 'Kraken Newsletter' for all the latest.