Seattle Kraken 2023-24 season preview and predictions

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Seattle Kraken season preview

After a rough inaugural season in 2021-22, the Seattle Kraken had quite the sophomore season, finishing one win shy of the Western Conference Finals. They really turned things around and became one of the league’s best stories, but now that they are on the map, the pressure is on for this group to perform. They’re one of the fastest teams in the league, making them very difficult to play against. I expect the Kraken to compete for one of the top three spots in the division. 

 

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Offense

When thinking about overall team depth, the Kraken are one of the top teams that come to mind. Last season, they had six different players with at least 20 goals. Starting at the top with Jared McCann, who absolutely exploded (40 G), followed by the NHL’s Rookie of the Year Matty Beniers (24 G). They did lose Daniel Sprong, but still have Jaden Schwartz (21 G) along with Oliver Bjorkstrand and Jordan Eberle, who tallied 20 goals each. 

Seattle completely turned their offensive game around last season. In 2021-22, they finished in the bottom five of the league, averaging 2.60 goals per game, but last year, they erupted into the top five, finishing fourth with 3.52 goals per game. Now, the question is if they can sustain that this season, and I think they will. 

Defense

Team defense was one of Seattle’s biggest strengths in the 2022-23 campaign. They finished in the top 10 of the league in allowing high-danger chances against per 60 (11.54), as well as the top three in expected goals against per 60 (2.77). As a whole, they are very sound defensively, but one area they can improve upon is their penalty kill. They finished toward the bottom of the league last year when being a man down, only successful at a 76.7% rate. They can easily bump that up to 80% this season. The Sharks will most likely finish in the bottom 10 of the league in defensive categories yet again this season. 

Goaltending

Philipp Grubauer had a phenomenal postseason run last year for the Kraken after what was a mediocre regular season. In the playoffs, he boasted a 2.7 goals saved above expected, as well as a .903 save percentage. His regular season numbers weren’t as strong, but at least he has this to build off of leading into the 2023-24 season. Chris Driedger will be backing him up after spending the 2022-23 season in the AHL with the Coachella Valley Firebirds. Seattle’s goaltending isn’t the strongest, but both Grubauer and Driedger can at least help them remain competitive every night. 

Player To Watch – F Matty Beniers

This one might be the obvious choice, but winning the Rookie of the Year is not an easy accomplishment in the NHL. Now that Beniers has established himself as an elite talent, opponents will be more locked in on the Kraken’s young stud. Last season, he tallied 24 goals with 33 assists, and I have no doubt that he will put up 30+ goals this coming season, with the chance of putting up a total of 70+ points. Beniers is a stud. 

Outlook

I have no doubt that the Kraken are a playoff team. They put up 100 points in 2022-23, and I don’t know if they’ll reach that plateau again, but they should compete for the third spot in the division. I don’t see them finishing any higher than that, but they could make some noise once they’re in the playoffs.