SEATTLE KRAKEN

How do the Seattle Kraken match up with their Pacific Division foes?

Oct 6, 2022, 12:16 PM

Seattle Kraken...

Jordan Eberle of the Seattle Kraken controls the puck against Brad Hunt of the Vancouver Canucks on January 01, 2022. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Kraken wrap up their preseason schedule Friday night with a tilt in Edmonton against the Oilers before things start counting. Seattle opens the regular season schedule on Wednesday in Anaheim and then in Los Angeles the next night prior to the Kraken opening their home schedule next Saturday against the Vegas Golden Knights.

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Three games right out the gates against Pacific Division foes.

It’s a good test for the improved Seattle Kraken, who did not fare well in the Division, with a 6-20-0 record last season, which contributed to them finishing in last place with 60 points. They were 16 points behind the next club in the division and 51 points behind the division winning Calgary Flames.

Seattle will have to improve closest to home if it wishes to get into the playoff conversation. They play each team in the division four times and it starts early this season. How do they stack up against the Pacific Division? Which teams do they have a shot of leap frogging this season?

Here’s a look at the division and how the Seattle Kraken may fare against them.

Calgary Flames – (50-21-11, 111 points)

The Flames won the division last season with a combination of explosive offense and stifling defense, usually a good combination. They allowed the fewest goals in the NHL and should be as good stopping the puck again this season, making them contenders again.

Calgary took a hit offensively with the departure of Johnny Gaudreau, who took his 100-point season with him to the Columbus Blue Jackets and the trade of Matthew Katchuk. They were able to replace some of that offense by getting Jonathan Huberdeau back from the Florida Panthers in the Katchuk trade and then landed free agent Nazem Kadri.

Maybe a little less potent, the Flames should be just as stingy on defense and will be back in the conversation for the Division title.

Do the Kraken match up?

It’s the preseason, but Seattle got a look at the Flames this past Monday and lost 4-1. They were 0-4 against Calgary last year and while they may be improved, the Kraken are not at the tier of the Flames just yet.

Edmonton Oilers – (49-27-6,104 points)

The Oilers can score goals, when you have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, that happens. Evander Kane is back for secondary scoring and expect Edmonton to once again have the firepower few teams can generate.

The question in Edmonton is the same it’s been for a while. Do they have the goaltending and defense that makes them true contenders? They brought in goaltender Jack Campbell from the Toronto Maple Leafs in hopes of getting consistency in net. The book is still out about whether that gives them what they need to play for a Stanley Cup – they reached the conference finals last spring – but Edmonton is the best team in the Pacific Division.

Do the Kraken match up?

No, even with an improved Seattle offense, the Kraken fall short when compared to Edmonton.

Los Angeles Kings – (44-27-11, 99 points)

The Kings were a pleasant surprise last season, sneaking into the playoffs when not expected to at season start. Inspiring to Seattle perhaps? They played a tough, grinding game and didn’t mind low scoring contests.

They added scoring by trading for Minnesota Wild scorer Keven Fiala and still have the great Anze Kopitar at the top of their lineup. Los Angeles is a mix of older greats like Kopitar and goalie Jonathan Quick and younger prospects like 2020 second overall pick Quinton Byfield. Will that mix get them back in the playoffs?

Do the Kraken match up?

Seattle should be able to compete with the Kings more this season. They will be tough games, but the Kraken have better weapons this season to win close games.

Vegas Golden Knights – 43-31-8, 94 points

Injuries sunk Vegas last season and they missed the playoffs for the first time in their brief history. Their aggressive approach has left them with cap issues which forced them to move Max Pacioretty this off season for little return.

The injuries are already creeping up as goaltender Robin Lehner is out for the season. The Golden Knights still have guys like Mark Stone, Jack Eichel, and former Seattle Thunderbirds defenseman Shea Theodore. If they can stay relatively healthy, the Golden Knights will be in the playoff picture again.

Do the Kraken match up?

On paper, this remains a tough matchup for Seattle. Vegas is not as deep as it once was but still has the potential to make a run. Health will be key to how the Kraken fare against the Golden Knights.

Vancouver Canucks – 40-30-12, 92 points

The Canucks had a brief surge after the mid-season coaching change that brought Bruce Boudreau behind the bench but leveled off and missed the playoffs. They have talent, like Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, Brock Boesser, and the returning J.T. Miller. Defenseman Quinn Hughes is as good as it gets on the back end and goalie Thatcher Demko is a tough, young goalie.

Vancouver and Seattle desperately want to be rivals but the Canucks won all four games last season, which doesn’t feel very rival inducing. Can Vancouver put it all together and get back to the postseason?

Do the Kraken match up?

Last season Vancouver was clearly better up front, but that gap has closed with Seattle’s upgrades at forward. Will it be enough to catch the Canucks and start an actual rivalry?

San Jose Sharks (32-37-13, 77 points)

The Sharks are coming off one of their toughest seasons in years and are probably in for more of the same. It’s rebuild time in the Bay but the Sharks still have stars Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier up front, but things get slim after that. Defenseman Erik Karlsson still has some game but his $11 million a year contract continues to weigh the Sharks down more than it helps.

San Jose has drafted well lately but the kids aren’t at the NHL level yet so it could be a long season.

Do the Kraken match up?

Yes, San Jose is a team that the Kraken should expect to leapfrog in the standings this year and already had some success, going 2-2 last season. Seattle should have at least that success this season.

Anaheim Ducks (31-37-14, 76 points)

The Ducks are an interesting club with high-end talent about to make an impact on the NHL. Mason McTavish had a monster summer playing for Canada at the World Juniors and is expected to play the full season at 19. He will be a problem soon in the NHL, but it may be too soon.

Troy Terry is another up and comer to watch for the Ducks and they have excellent goaltending on the back end with John Gibson.

Do the Kraken match up?

Yes, the Kraken have young stars of their own but the veteran group in Seattle should be better than the Ducks. The Ducks are coming but it won’t be this year.

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How do the Seattle Kraken match up with their Pacific Division foes?