The Seattle Kraken — have I mentioned it should be your new favorite team? — got a lot more real Wednesday when it made its selections in the expansion draft. While there is no guarantee all players selected will still be on the Kraken roster come this October when the tentacle drops the puck (and someone please tell Kurt Eichenwald this isn’t the kind of tentacle he finds exciting), let alone on the ice, it does at least give an indication of the team’s preferred direction.
The Kraken, for the most part, took a pass on known-name veteran players, preferring instead to draft those with upside and/or already contributing at the NHL level with the apparent idea of keeping players together for a while and building camaraderie. Or players young enough to dodge fish purchased at Pike Place Market to be thrown on the ice whenever the Kraken score. A helpful hint to those planning on attending games at Climate Pledge Arena this coming season: Please don’t bring fish to throw on the ice. That would be gross. Maybe stick with plush Squidwards instead.
A noticeable exception to the youth direction was Calgary Flames captain and defenseman Mark Giordano, who at 37 is past his prime but is still a solid blueliner and, one would suspect, a logical choice to be the Kraken’s first captain. He and company will be trying to keep pucks away from Chris Driedger, most recently on the Florida Panthers, who put up very good numbers last year and is, for at least now, figuring to be the Kraken’s number one goaltender.
Although he won’t be available until most likely November, Yanni Gourde figures to be the Kraken’s main goal-scoring threat. The roster as it stands looks to be more of a total team effort than reliance on one or two stars, a philosophy that two twenty-goal scorers equal one forty-goal scorer so let’s get everyone in the act. Defense and physical play will be the Kraken’s stock in trade.
The Kraken made a production number out of the draft, with local celebrities and current/former Seattle sports personnel making the player announcements while at locations from the aforementioned fish market to the Seattle Aquarium to somewhere on Mt. Rainier. Sorry, no one from Antifa was asked to participate, nor was the location formerly known as CHAZ or CHOP or Look-At-The-Stupid-Spoiled-White-Kids-Pretending-To-Be-Anarchists-World included.
So, how did the Kraken do in the draft? Pretty well, actually. The Pacific Division is presently the weakest in the NHL, so a playoff spot and possibly a bit of a post-season run is not out of the question. While it is unlikely the Kraken will represent the Western Conference in the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals, it won’t embarrass itself either.