3 Things on Seattle Kraken: Insight on now, what’s next and the future

May 3, 2023, 1:45 PM | Updated: 2:04 pm

Seattle Kraken...

Jaden Schwartz celebrates after scoring against the Dallas Stars on May 2, 2023. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The Seattle Kraken are sitting pretty once again in the playoffs after taking a 1-0 lead Tuesday night in their best-of-seven Western Conference Semifinals series against the Dallas Stars.

Seattle Kraken win Game 1 in OT 5-4 despite four goals by Stars’ Pavelski

Greg Wyshynski, senior NHL writer for ESPN, joined Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy the following day to discuss the Kraken’s surprising postseason run, the Stanley Cup Playoffs in general, and even a brief look ahead to the offseason. Let’s break down what Wyshynski said about what’s now for the Kraken, what could be next if they make it to the Western Finals, and how they can improve for the future.

Now: How can Seattle Kraken beat Dallas Stars?

“It’s gonna have to look a little bit like it did last night,” Wyshynski said.

How it looked last night (Tuesday) is the Kraken swarmed the Stars with four goals in the first period – despite not scoring first like they did in all seven games of their first-round series win over Colorado – withstood an epic four-goal performance by Dallas’ Joe Pavelski, and then had a player (Yanni Gourde) step up when it mattered most in overtime.

“Win these battles, handle it when the Stars are coming at you in waves, get contributions throughout the lineup,” Wyshynski said. “Having a Yanni Gourde, for example, be the hero is the kind of thing that you need because ultimately Dallas is a pretty deep team and they get performances typically out of most of their lines, (though) they were a little bit Pavelski-centric last night… So just keep doing what you’re doing.

“It was exciting to see the Kraken kind of flip the script a little bit and not have to score the first goal to win a game, which was obviously a real key to the success in the Colorado series. But that’s what they’re going to do. Get up on the Stars as early as you can and then just try to grind them down as best you can.”

What could be next: Edmonton Oilers

With the Kraken already having knocked out the defending champion Avalanche, and the top-seeded Boston Bruins out in the East despite finishing the regular season with the best record in NHL history, there’s a new front-runner for the Stanley Cup. Wyshynski has seen this team coming, though.

“Well, I picked Edmonton to win the Cup,” he said. “I was always more picking the field over the Bruins than picking the Bruins because I just feel like they are the hunted (and) it’s really hard to win. I mean, the President’s Trophy curse is a curse for a reason, and right now we’ve had nearly as many teams that have finished first overall in the regular season losing in the first round as win the Stanley Cup going back to like the mid-1980s. It’s kind of amazing.”

Led by superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton finished second in the Pacific Division and will begin their semifinal series against the Pacific champion Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday night. The Kraken lost three of four to the Oilers in the regular season.

“The Oilers to me are a team that it’s kind of their time,” Wyshynski said. “You put two generational talents on the same team, at some point they’re gonna figure it out and it kind of feels like that for them.”

The future: How can Kraken solve power-play issues?

The power play hasn’t been Seattle’s strong suit, with the Kraken ranking 14th out of the 16 teams this postseason with a 12.5% success rate (three goals in 24 power plays). In the regular season, Seattle was 21st in the league at 19.75% on power plays.

Asked by host Stacy Rost if the Kraken’s lack of a true superstar is the reason, Wyshynski agreed but provided optimism that Seattle could be able to address that soon.

“That’ll happen with time,” he said. “I mean, you don’t just find those guys – you draft those guys or you sign those guys, and the Kraken haven’t really been in a position to do either of those things quite yet. I mean, they have (Calder Trophy favorite Matty) Beniers, who is certainly somebody that you build around, but no one really knew what they were gonna end up being this season.

“I think now that they’ve established that they’ve got something cooking with the roster that they have, maybe you go out and try to find that person in the offseason if you really believe that you’re one piece away from challenging for a Cup – if they don’t win it this year. Or you just over time hope that you can find a couple of those guys through the draft, develop them, and they become the core of this team going forward. I just think that’s a symptom of being so new, not having the opportunity to have done any of that stuff yet.”

Listen to the full conversation in the podcast below.

Can the Seattle Kraken pull off another upset against Dallas Stars?

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3 Things on Seattle Kraken: Insight on now, what’s next and the future