It’s been nearly three years in the making, but the Seattle Kraken finally hit the ice this past weekend, officially legitimizing their status as the NHL’s 32nd franchise. The Kraken completed an entertaining comeback against the Vancouver Canucks by erasing an early deficit in front of over 10,000 rowdy fans at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Without fixating too heavily on early results, here are three takeaways from Seattle’s positive pre-season debut.
Seattle Shows Resilience
In what could be an indicator of things to come, the Kraken persevered after spotting the Canucks an early lead, scoring five of the next six goals on the way to a comprehensive 5-3 victory over their Pacific Division rivals.
Goals aside, Seattle thoroughly dominated possession-wise, outshooting Vancouver handily by a margin of 38-15 at the eruption of the final horn. Being able to trot out the power-play brigade frequently exaggerates the disparity, but the expansion club calmly executed their game plan when required to do so.
Not every game will be contested under the din of a bloodthirsty home crowd, but the Kraken should recognize that they possess the facilities to make earning two points at their hands a hefty proposition.
Kraken’s Prolific Power-Play Production
Seattle’s power-play units – no doubt buoyed by the frenetic crowd – repeatedly flexed their muscles on a woeful Canucks’ penalty-kill, which undoubtedly plead for mercy after allowing a goal on three of the Kraken’s five opportunities on the man advantage.
Without a set lineup drawn from previous seasons, the composition of the special teams resembled a carousel, with several worthy candidates stating their case for consistent deployment in regular season play. The play of center Morgan Geekie – the expansion draft prize from the Carolina Hurricanes – best exemplified the limitless possibilities offered by a new franchise.
Of the many castaways eager to establish themselves as legitimate NHL options, Geekie starred with two goals, teasing a potential breakout role in the Kraken’s top-six next season. With little by way of tangible expectations, the Kraken should continue to excel as the league’s pre-eminent spoiler.
A Fanatical Fanbase Frenzy
Boy, did the fanbase ever show up for the franchise debut. Spokane Arena, a world away from the confines of Climate Pledge, trembled under the collective boisterousness of the Kraken faithful. A crowd that numbered into the thousands pushed the capacity to its limits, isolating the Canucks on a lonely island to absorb wave after wave of Seattle’s buzzing attack.
Despite Spokane – nearly 300 miles away from Seattle proper – hosting the coastal conflict due to ongoing construction at Climate Pledge Arena, the fans showed up in droves, demonstrating the profound connection that the franchise has already forged across the state.
It’s easy to show up when the team is successful, but it remains to be seen if the fans continue to invest their valuable time and hard-earned wages in a group that sputters when the games count for real. If the first game of the preseason is any indication, the Kraken can rely on an intimidating supporters section to power the team to new heights.
Pacific Division Preview
The Kraken rose to the celebratory backdrop of the evening and relentlessly punished the Canucks for their (understandably) lackadaisical effort. Both lineups featured an intriguing mix of veterans, tryout hopefuls, and wide-eyed prospects, so don’t read too heavily into the final score. Even so, the Kraken showed that they belong in the same conversation as their regional neighbors. Opening night can’t get here soon enough.