KRAKEN

Philipp Grubauer surprised, excited to get opportunity with Seattle Kraken

Jul 30, 2021, 4:34 PM
Philipp Grubauer Seattle Kraken...
Vezina Trophy finalist Philipp Grubauer had a 1.95 goals-against average last season. (Getty)
(Getty)

SEATTLE (AP) — When the NHL free agency window opened, the Seattle Kraken’s front office was stunned to see goaltender Philipp Grubauer wasn’t already headed back to Colorado.

They weren’t alone.

Kraken make splash with Philipp Grubauer leading trio of signings

“A little bit surprised for sure,” Grubauer said Friday. “I think we tried till the last minute to work something out (with Colorado). Didn’t work out and then entered free agency. Never experienced that craziness. Everybody was calling once the window opens up so it was a little wild hour and definitely a crazy experience.”

Signing Grubauer was the biggest splash made by the NHL’s newest franchise, which gave him a six-year, $35.4 million deal Wednesday. Landing him seemed unlikely given the success he had last season in Colorado, but the Kraken jumped at the opportunity to add one of the top goaltenders in the league.

And for his part, so did Grubauer.

“I think it’s incredible to be part of something new and make history in terms of like playing the first-ever game and being part of that group and doing the same thing Vegas did,” Grubauer said. “That’s the goal, too.”

Grubauer was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy for the first time last season, when the 29-year-old goalie went 30-9-1 with the Avalanche with a 1.95 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. He also led the league in shutouts with seven and didn’t lose consecutive games all season.

“I think you look at his save percentage, his goals against lately. Look at how he played last year in the playoffs, the fact that he was a finalist for the Vezina. I mean, he’s had a pretty good run,” Seattle GM Ron Francis said earlier this week. “I remember watching him play back in the day with Washington when they won the Cup. He’s a guy that’s proven over time that he can play at this level, an elite level.”

Grubauer and Chris Driedger make up Seattle’s primary goaltending duo. Grubauer appeared in 40 of Colorado’s 56 games last season and also saw the importance of having two elite goaltenders during his time in Washington, when he was paired with Braden Holtby.

“The way we won in Washington, I played 40 games, 45 games, (Holtby) played half the season and then the playoffs he was fresh,” Grubauer said. “It’s always good to have a good tandem. I don’t think one guy can play 70 games and then be fresh for the playoffs. You always need two.”

Between Grubauer and Driedger, the Kraken have committed 11.5% ($9.4 million) of this year’s salary cap to the goalie position. But Seattle still has $16 million of cap space available, and while the Kraken are likely to keep a significant chunk of that free for future moves, it also provides them with the opportunity to add another piece or two before training camps open in September.

“It’s going to be really interesting what system coach (Dave Hakstol) puts in place and we got to find our identity as a team,” Grubauer said. “The team looks great on paper but obviously you got to play and create some chemistry.”

More Seattle Kraken coverage from 710Sports.com

Dooley: Three reasons the Kraken will be competitive right away
Kraken take Matthew Beniers at No. 2 as team’s 1st NHL Draft pick
Seattle Kraken 2021 NHL Draft tracker
Lefko: The Kraken Core – six players who will be household names
Chris Driedger: ‘No-brainer’ joining Seattle Kraken on new contract

Kraken

Seattle Kraken Blue Jackets...
The Associated Press

Seattle Kraken go to OT, fall to Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1

Patrick Laine scored at 2:16 of overtime to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 2-1, come-from-behind win over the expansion Seattle Kraken on Saturday night.
1 day ago
Seattle Kraken Vince Dunn...
Brent Stecker

Seattle Kraken have had a fight and a beef — are rivalries soon to follow?

The Seattle Kraken had a fight in Thursday's win over Nashville and miffed some Vegas players on Tuesday. NHL Network's Jon Morosi talked to Wyman and Bob about how rivalries develop in hockey.
2 days ago
Seattle Kraken Nashville...
The Associated Press

Seattle Kraken post 1st NHL victory, spoiling Preds’ opener 4-3

Brandon Tanev scored his second goal into an empty net with 1:21 left, and the Seattle Kraken beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 Thursday night for the first victory in the expansion franchise’s second game.
3 days ago
Seattle Kraken Morgan Geekie...
Andy Eide

Seattle Kraken have their 1st breakout candidate in Morgan Geekie

Morgan Geekie had the biggest goal of the first Seattle Kraken game, and may have ignited a rivalry in the process. Andy Eide breaks down why he could be a breakout player this season.
3 days ago
Seattle Kraken...
Brandon Gustafson

Seattle Kraken analyst J.T. Brown shares the positive signs he’s seeing

Former NHL forward and current Seattle Kraken analyst J.T. Brown talked to 710 ESPN Seattle about the team's chemistry, goalie Philipp Grubauer and more.
4 days ago
Seattle Kraken Ryan Donato...
Mike Salk

Salk’s Seattle Kraken Observations: Good and bad from NHL opener

The Seattle Kraken may have lost Tuesday in Vegas, but it wasn't a bad showing in their first game, as 710 ESPN Seattle's Mike Salk details.
5 days ago
Philipp Grubauer surprised, excited to get opportunity with Seattle Kraken