One: Find Your Groups
Coach Dave Hakstol split his squad during early training camp because it’s difficult to fit nearly 60 players on one sheet of ice for the fast-moving drills, repetition and individual instruction that all NHL coaching staffs seek. That’s why two primary groups have been skating and training at Kraken Community Iceplex over the last week.
The second group, aka Team Blue, will get its opportunity to impress coaches, the Kraken front office and fans alike Tuesday when Calgary comes to town for the second of six preseason games for Seattle. Among other notables, goaltender Philipp Grubauer (guess here is he starts and play half the game) will be in net to answer a rock-solid game for newcomer free agent Martin Jones (14 saves in 30-some minutes) and Joey Daccord on Monday. Daccord, just minutes after subbing for Jones, even added a primary assist to set up Ryan Donato‘s thrilling wraparound goal.
Two: Forward Motions
If Tuesday’s forward combinations reflect training camp combinations, expect 2022 top draft choice Shane Wright to skate between alternate captains Jaden Schwartz and Jordan Eberle on the wings. Yanni Gourde and Jared McCannthe team’s leading scorers last season, will likely form a line with Karson Kuhlman.
Consider those six forwards, plus Daniel Sprong (six goals in 16 SEA games last year, coming over in a trade), Kole Lind, Alexander True and NHL veterans John Hayden, fans will see 10 forwards looking to make the team out of camp and/or get call-ups this season for the Kraken. There’s at least 10 more forwards from Monday’s winning group (with eight virtual locks for the 23-man regular-season roster) vying for a probable 13 or maybe 14 spots. That’s the forward depth GM Ron Francis seeks in his teams.
Three: More Kraken to Watch
Fans at Climate Pledge Arena or watching/listening on KONG-TV and KJR-950 will get first impressions of young, offensively gifted draft choice, Jagger Firkus. Nicknamed “Firkus Circus” for his playmaking and shooting skills, he was picked 35th overall in this summer’s draft with at least one division rival team upset the Kraken picked the 5-foot-10, 158-pound forward before it could. Vince Dunnback from late-season injuries, will likely get top-pair minutes with Will Borgen plus the Kraken assists leader last year will quarterback the first power play unit while Carson Soucy does the same for a second man-advantage five.