Seattle Kraken activate Gourde, place Driedger on IR in flurry of roster moves
It was thought that we would not see the Seattle Kraken debut of center Yanni Gourde until a few months into the season due to offseason shoulder surgery.
So much for that. How about after missing just four games?
As had been reported over the last month, Gourde made considerable progress during his rehab from the injury and appeared to be well ahead of schedule when he began practicing in a non-contact jersey last month before practicing in what he told reporters was a “half-contact” jersey at the beginning of this month.
Now, Gourde has been activated by the Seattle Kraken after missing the franchise’s first four games and he is expected to play Tuesday night in New Jersey against the Devils.
In other roster moves, No. 2 goalie Chris Driedger has been placed on injured reserve. He made his Seattle Kraken debut in relief of starter Phillip Grubauer in a blowout 6-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Kraken activated Joey Daccord from AHL affiliate Charlotte and forward Kole Lind, who also made his season debut in Philadelphia, was assigned to Charlotte. Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol said Daccord will start against the Devils on Tuesday, per Ryan S. Clark of The Athletic.
Gourde, a Seattle Kraken alternate captain, was among the biggest names that the franchise acquired in July’s expansion draft. After winning back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Gourde moved from Florida to the Pacific Northwest to join the NHL’s newest franchise.
The 29-year-old center is entering his seventh NHL season and is seen as a potential face of the franchise for the upstart Seattle Kraken. Gourde has 187 points (80 goals and 107 assists) in 310 games, with his career-best 64 points coming in 82 games during the 2017-2018 season.
Last season, Gourde notably scored the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals with a short-handed goal in a 1-0 win over the New York Islanders to push Tampa Bay to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Gourde joins a Seattle Kraken team looking for more scoring. After tallying seven goals over their first two games, the Kraken have just two total in their two most recent games, both of which were losses, dropping Seattle to a 1-2-1 record through four games.
Per the Seattle Kraken’s website, Gourde is expected to play on the first line at center at some point along with forwards Jordan Eberle and Jaden Schwartz, though because he’s returning from injury, it’s unclear how soon that will happen. But Hakstol told reporters that Gourde will have “full availability” and play without any restrictions against the Devils, per Clark’s report.