Realistic Expectations Based On The Seattle Kraken’s Season Start

Nov 1, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Seattle Kraken defensemen Jamie Oleksiak (24) and Edmonton Oilers forward Zack Kassian (44) battle for position in front of the Seattle net during the first period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Kraken started the season with a target on their back, despite being completely new to the NHL, and building their roster via the expansion draft. The name of that target was the Vegas Golden Knights.

This nhl.com report details the moment that the Golden Knights officially joined the NHL as the 31st franchise. At the end of their first season, they were contending for a Stanley Cup, beaten in the final, but showing that they could compete instantly, despite how their roster was formed.  

Vegas gave the impression that building from an expansion draft was easy when in reality it isn’t, and so far, we have seen struggles from the Seattle Kraken.

Managing Fan Base Expectations

One thing that Seattle has to remember is that a lot of their fans are either old hockey fans, or those coming in to try hockey from other sports and hobbies. Many are new to the game, new to the NHL, and don’t have much to compare this team to, other than what Vegas currently looks like.

Fans who have started to watch Seattle this season from other areas such as gaming, are having to make the adjustment to watching and supporting an NHL franchise. However, eSports is set to remain strong despite Seattle’s move to the NHL. Sites such as win.gg demonstrate the appetite for eSports, with thousands of fans accessing the latest news and insights from the sector.

But, as far as traditional sports are concerned, Seattle will be hoping that their fans can base expectations on their knowledge of expansion franchises as a whole, rather than solely on what Vegas did in their first season, and what they have done since.

Can Seattle Make the Playoffs?

The biggest question on everyone’s lips is of course, will Seattle make the playoffs in their first season? Before a puck was dropped, many expected them to. But since the start of the season, expectations have lowered.

A combination of Seattle struggling and the Calgary Flames outperforming their expectations has led to Calgary having a chance of finishing third, or maybe higher, the position that many people had Seattle down for.

Expectations are that the Kraken will improve as the season continues, and part of that could come from their goaltending. On October 18, Chris Driedger, back up to Philipp Grubauer, was injured during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers, putting him on the injured reserve list.

However, good news for the Kraken as thenewstribune.com reported that Driedger was coming off IR and would be back in contention to play games. Although seen as the backup to Grubauer, Driedger is good enough to start when needed and can help alleviate the pressure that Grubauer has been under since the start of the season, with the Kraken struggling in front of him.

This improvement to their netminding, coupled with a few players finding their feet and beginning to perform should see Seattle improve. However, if Calgary continues as they have started, and Vegas get help after injuries, that still may not be enough for Seattle to make the playoffs in year one. Expectations were high, but are now becoming more realistic after the Kraken have hit the ice.

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