Seattle Kraken 2022-23 Season Preview

The NHL gave the Kraken an outstanding opportunity to live the magic of the Golden Knights in their inaugural season. Instead, Seattle confused everybody at the expansion draft, then proceeded to act like an actual expansion team. But don’t fear, lifelong Kraken fans! Even with the fourth overall pick, Seattle managed to luck into Shane Wright, who everyone assumed would be the top pick in the draft. Wright, who had 94 points in 63 OHL games, may not be on the team to start the season. But he is a potential top line center for the future. If the Kraken have drafted well, then this team could become something special soon.

Offseason additions: F Andre Burakovsky, F Oliver Bjorkstrand, D Justin Schultz, G Martin Jones, F John Hayden, D Michal Kempny.

Offseason subtractions: F Riley Sheahan, F Victor Rask, D Haydn Fleury.


The all-time leader in goals and points for the franchise is Jared McCann through one season. The expansion draft pick from Toronto (a team he never played for), McCann scored 27 goals with 50 points, both career-highs. His 49.7 xGF% was the second-best on the forward core, behind bottom-six center Riley Sheahan. The most established forward on the team entering last year was Jordan Eberle, who scored 21 goals and was the team’s lone all-star representative. Once a consistent scorer, 2021-22 was actually Eberle’s first 20-plus goal season since 2017-18. The third and final 20-goal scorer on the team was Yanni Gourde, who put up 48 points in 74 games. Gourde had a much bigger role last year, finally playing on a team that didn’t have Brayden Point and Anthony Cirelli as centers ahead of him.

The Kraken pounced at the opportunity to acquire one of the best players on the Blue Jackets for just a third and fourth-round pick. Oliver Bjorkstrand set career-highs last season when he scored 28 goals with 57 points in 80 games. Bjorkstrand is also a very solid defensive winger who struggled with the weak goaltending in Columbus last season. That probably won’t get any better in Seattle, but at least he has experience. The Kraken signed Andre Burakovsky, who also had a career-high in goals, with 22, and points, with 61. Of course, playing on last year’s Avalanche will do that. Since joining Colorado, Burakovsky has scored 61 goals with 150 points in 191 regular season games, rocking a shooting percentage over seventeen percent. He had eight points in 12 playoff games. Even if Wright doesn’t play in 2021-22, Seattle fans have Matty Beniers to look forward to. Drafted second overall in 2021, Beniers scored 20 goals with 43 points in 37 games at the University of Michigan. He then made his way to the NHL, scoring nine points in ten games.

Ryan Donato had an even strength GF/60 of 2.76. Second place on the team was Eberle, at 2.5. Donato scored a career-high 16 goals with 31 points in 74 games, while playing on his fourth team in four seasons. Many were surprised when the Kraken gave Alexander Wennberg a three-year deal with a cap hit of $4.5 million after one good season with Florida. He responded with 37 points, his most since his breakout season of 2016-17. With Sheahan and Calle Jarnkrok gone, Wennberg could step into a bigger role on the penalty kill. The five-year signing of Jaden Schwartz did not work out in its first season, as Schwartz played in just 37 games and only scored eight goals. He did play a ton in the games he was healthy for, but Schwartz could be looking at a third line role after a few new additions.

After scoring 17 goals in 51 games in 2020-21, Joonas Donskoi mustered only two in 75 games last season. While he was much better than that suggests, and suffered from a 2.2 percent shooting rate, the Kraken did not get what they were looking for in Donskoi. While he was an important penalty killer, the overall lack of offense has doomed Donskoi to the fourth line. Morgan Geekie scored seven goals with 22 points in his first full NHL season after being the surprise expansion draft pick from Carolina. He was one of the few members of the Kraken to receive passable goaltending when he was on the ice. That led to his 2.48 GA/60 at even strength, the second-best on the team. Brandon Tanev was supposed to be one of the team’s leaders, and he was for the first 30 games of the season. He scored nine goals with six assists, but then unfortunately tore his ACL. He still had 98 hits before the injury. Getting the pest of a winger back will be key for Seattle. Kole Lind had eight points in 23 NHL games last year. In 46 AHL games, he scored 17 goals with 35 points, while also racking up 106 penalty minutes. A waiver claim from Boston, Karson Kuhlman has four points in 16 career playoff games. He put up eight points in 25 games after coming to Seattle.


Seattle clearly tried to create a defensive-first team, with Adam Larsson signed to be the backbone of the defense. But when he has an on-ice save percentage of 88.6 percent, his numbers won’t be good. The team’s awful goaltending elevated Larsson’s GA/60 to 3.28 and lowered his GF% to 39.3 percent. Once infamously traded for Hart winner Taylor Hall, Larsson’s 25 points last season were a career-high. Part of that could be thanks to his partner, Vince Dunn. He had flashed offensive talent in St. Louis, but hadn’t been able to fully unleash it while playing in a sheltered role. Dunn had 35 points in 73 games, but his 2.64 xGA/60 was the worst on the defensive core.

Big Jamie Oleksiak played in a career-high 72 games, and put up 17 points with 182 hits. Standing at six-foot-seven, Oleksiak’s expected goals for percentage of 49.79 was the second-best among Kraken defenders. His new partner will be Justin Schultz, who regressed in his second and now final season with Washington. After putting up 27 points in 46 games the season before, Schultz had just 23 in 74 games last season, while seeing his ice time get cut.

The Kraken love big defenders, which is proved by the six-foot-five Carson Soucy playing behind Oleksiak on the left side. Soucy didn’t show a ton of offensive potential in Minnesota, but scored ten goals with 21 points in 64 games last season. While he only played in 36 games, the underlying numbers for William Borgen were impressive. He had eight points with a 51.15 xGF%. Borgen was superb defensively, with a 2.05 xGA/60 and a 1.7 GA/60. Cale Fleury played in nine games for the big club last year, alongside his brother Haydn. Now, his sibling is gone, and Fleury is looking to secure a bigger role. In 58 AHL games, he put up 33 points.


The Kraken aren’t going anywhere until Philipp Grubauer figures his issues out. He was a Vezina finalist when playing behind an elite Avalanche team, but was the league’s worst goalie in 2021-22. In 55 games, he posted an ugly .889 save percentage with a 3.16 GAA. Grubauer’s -31.5 goals saved above expected was by far the worst in the NHL. With Chris Driedger injured, veteran Martin Jones was signed to be the backup. Jones hasn’t had good numbers since 2017-18, but last year’s Flyers weren’t exactly sound defensively. Jones had a .900 save percentage and a 3.42 GAA in 35 games while splitting starts with Carter Hart.

Projected Lines

Jared McCann – Yanni Gourde – Jordan Eberle

Andre Burakovsky – Matty Beniers – Oliver Bjorkstrand

Ryan Donato – Alexander Wennberg – Jaden Schwartz

Brandon Tanev – Morgan Geekie – Joonas Donskoi

Scratched: Kole Lind, Karson Kuhlman

Vince Dunn – Adam Larsson

Jamie Oleksiak – Justin Schultz

Carson Soucy – William Borgen

Scratched: Cale Fleury

Philipp Grubauer

Martin Jones

Published by carterhud SI Kids Kid Reporter, Prime Time Sports Talk writer

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