Listen to 710 ESPN Seattle: Mariners Hot Stove airs from 7-8 p.m.
KRAKEN

Seattle Kraken feel solid with duo of Grubauer, Driedger in goal

Oct 9, 2021, 2:52 PM
Seattle Kraken Philipp Grauber...
Philipp Grubauer #31 of the Seattle Kraken looks on in the second period against the Vancouver Canucks during a preseason game at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. (Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
(Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

SEATTLE (AP) — For months, Chris Driedger seemed to be a lock to become the first goaltender for the Seattle Kraken. It made far too much sense considering his talent and success, and with no clear path to being a No. 1 goaltender in Florida.

Seattle Kraken end preseason with 4-0 win over Canucks in Vancouver

Then Philipp Grubauer became available in free agency and he turned into the first big signing by the Kraken, shuffling Driedger to the second spot in Seattle’s tandem.

That’s OK by Driedger. In the bigger picture of what the expansion franchise is trying to accomplish, having two top goalies is going to be crucial to Seattle’s success.

“My mindset is if we’re both playing well the team is going to play well, it’s going to benefit everyone in the long run,” Driedger said. “I’m excited to work with him and learn from him. He’s got a little bit more experience than I do and I think it’s gonna be exciting.”

When Seattle takes the ice for its first game next Tuesday night against Vegas, Grubauer will almost certainly be in net. Seattle’s biggest financial investment in the offseason was signing the Vezina Trophy finalist to a six-year, $35.4 million deal.

The move may have been a surprise since Seattle had already taken Driedger during the expansion draft. But a glut of good goalies is a good problem to have and it’s why Seattle’s duo is considered among the top pairings in the league.

It became obvious early on Seattle wanted to be solid defensively, even at the expense of some scoring punch up front, following the blueprint laid out by Vegas four years ago.

The Golden Knights received plenty of contributions from players who were in lesser roles with their previous teams. But their success revolved around the goaltending of Marc-Andre Fleury, who went 29-13-4 during their first season and had another four shutouts in the playoffs.

He was the stabilizer Vegas could rely on at the back. Seattle hopes the combo of Grubauer and Driedger can follow suit.

“We’re going to be a hardworking team,” Grubauer said. “We’re not going to score 10 goals like Colorado did but we’re going to be a hardworking group for sure.”

Grubauer had a career-best 1.95 goals against and seven shutouts while playing 70% of the regular-season games for Colorado during the truncated last season. He missed a couple of weeks during the regular season due to COVID-19 protocols. In the playoffs, he wasn’t able to match his regular-season form and finished with a 2.61 goals against average. He allowed 16 goals in the final four games of a second-round series loss to Vegas.

Driedger played 23 games for Florida and had a 2.07 goals against last season but found himself in an awkward three-man rotation with 19-year-old Spencer Knight and veteran Sergei Bobrovsky at the end of the season and into the playoffs.

“I think we’re going to have a great relationship,” Driedger said. “And I like to always collaborate with my goalie partners and make sure that we’re both going at the best possible level that we can.”

The team still has to shake out the rotation. When coach Dave Hakstol was in Philadelphia, he generally went with a two-third, one-third split among his top two goalies during his first two full seasons.

That would leave Grubauer playing about 50 games and Driedger around 30 should both stay healthy through the season. If one does get injured, the Kraken feel confident in No. 3 goalie Joey Daccord, who was selected from Ottawa in the expansion draft and may have been Seattle’s No. 2 until Grubauer became available.

“The camp that Joey has had has been very good for our group to have confidence in him as a guy that’s going to contribute to our team along the way,” Hakstol said.

More Seattle Kraken news and coverage

Kraken

Seattle Kraken Adam Larsson...
Brent Stecker

John Forslund: 2 Seattle Kraken players worthy of more attention, Grubauer’s season

John Forslund, the voice of the Seattle Kraken, joined Wyman and Bob to share his thoughts on a few key players during this inaugural season.
19 hours ago
Seattle Kraken...
The Associated Press

Seattle Kraken take down NHL-leading Florida Panthers 5-3

Mason Appleton scored his first goal in nearly two months 26 seconds into the third period, Philipp Grubauer made 28 saves, and the Seattle Kraken beat the Florida Panthers 5-3 on Sunday night.
3 days ago
Seattle Kraken Ryan Donato...
Andy Eide

Seattle Kraken have decisions to make with 2 players on hot streaks

Calle Jarnkrok and Ryan Donato are set to be unrestricted and restricted free agents, respectively, after the Seattle Kraken season.
3 days ago
Seattle Kraken...
The Associated Press

Husso sharp, Bozak gets shorty as Blues beat Seattle Kraken 5-0

Ville Husso stopped 27 shots, Tyler Bozak scored shot-handed and the St. Louis Blues pounded the Seattle Kraken 5-0 Friday night.
5 days ago
Seattle Kraken...
The Associated Press

Win streak: Seattle Kraken take 2nd straight by beating Sharks 3-2

Carson Soucy had the first two-goal game of his career and the Seattle Kraken beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 on Thursday night.
6 days ago
Seattle Kraken Mason Appleton...
Andy Eide

Seattle Kraken set up to build momentum after exciting end to 9-game skid

The Seattle Kraken have an opportunity following Monday's 3-2 shootout win over Chicago. Andy Eide breaks down the keys going forward.
7 days ago
Seattle Kraken feel solid with duo of Grubauer, Driedger in goal