KRAKEN

Seattle Kraken announcer John Forslund on preseason standouts, more

Oct 11, 2021, 1:01 PM
Seattle Kraken Jared McCann...
Jared McCann of the Seattle Kraken skates against the Vancouver Canucks in the third period during a preseason game at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. (Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
(Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

We’re nearing the start of the inaugural Seattle Kraken season, and who better to get us ready for the 2021-2022 campaign than play-by-play announcer John Forslund?

Forslund, who will call the Seattle Kraken’s games on ROOT Sports, recently joined The Mike Salk Show on 710 ESPN Seattle to share some quick thoughts on the team as well as commentating for an expansion team’s fanbase. Here’s a bit of what he had to say.

Preseason standouts

When Salk and Forslund spoke, the Kraken were in the midst of preseason action. Forslund made it clear he liked what he saw from the first line of the Seattle Kraken with Jared McCann at center and Jaden Schwartz and Jordan Eberle at forward.

“That’s a first line. That can be a first line in the NHL,” he said.  “McCann is a natural center. He’s been a wing in Pittsburgh and a wing in Toronto.”

Forslund also has high hopes for center Alex Wennberg and forward Yanni Gourde, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, to contribute to the Kraken’s offense.

Just how close is Gourde, potential face of the Seattle Kraken, to his debut?

“When (Gourde) gets healthy – and he’s way ahead of schedule – whatever that date is, that’s going to help out, too,” Forslund said.

The first line has really stood out, but so, too, has the Kraken’s fourth line, which Forslund said is key because that group is designed to bring energy, intensity and to “tilt the momentum” in a game.

“If training camp has shown us anything, Riley Sheahan with Brandon Tanev, who the fans here are going to love, Nathan Bastian, a young player who played in New Jersey, that is a prototypical fourth line,” Forslund said. “They play heavy, they can retrieve pucks, they can get out there when the team’s in a doldrum and can’t get anything done. Hakstol’s going to throw them on the ice and they’ll get the crowd going. Hockey is a game of momentum and you’re going to need that.”

Calling a game vs. teaching

Forslund has a unique job in that he’s the voice of a team that’s in a market that hasn’t had an NHL team in over 100 years.

Salk asked Forslund how much he has to think about calling a game as he normally would versus teaching the game to a crop of new fans.

“Quite a bit,” he said.

Luckily for Forslund as well as all Seattle Kraken fans, Forslund has been through this before.

“I’ve been through this in North Carolina with the Hurricanes and back in the late ’90s we had a different world,” he said. “We (didn’t have) social media or the reach that we have today or the general awareness that people have for this team – which we kind of plopped right out of the sky in Raleigh way back when – but here, there’s been such a great buildup, great support from the Kraken organization that the anticipation is already there.”

The trick, Forslund said, is building quick trust with the fanbase. He said that he and the team are working hard to do that, and that his broadcast partner, former NHL player J.T. Brown, will help a lot with the quality of the broadcast.

“He’s doing a really good job with it, I like our chemistry and we’re going to build the trust here, guys,” Forslund said. “We’re going to get it done and hopefully it’s going to be for many years to come. That’s my hope.”

Listen to the discussion at this link or in the player below.

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