Jon Morosi breaks down why Kraken have started season slowly

Oct 27, 2023, 4:07 PM | Updated: 4:13 pm

Seattle Kraken...

Philipp Grubauer of the Seattle Kraken against the Clorado Avalanche on Oct. 17, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Kraken dropped another game on Thursday, this time 3-2 in overtime to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Martin Necas scores in OT to give Hurricanes 3-2 win over Seattle Kraken

Seattle did pick up a point in the standings, but after making the playoffs and coming just one game away from the Western Conference Finals last season, the Kraken are off to a disappointing 2-4-2 start to the 2023-24 season.

Jon Morosi, who Mariners fans know well from his MLB coverage, is also a reporter for NHL Network and closely follows the Kraken.

During his Thursday appearance with Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob, which came just before the Kraken fell in Carolina, Morosi shared what he’s seen from the Kraken so far this season.

“They’re giving up more goals than I would have expected at this point,” Morosi said. “You have not seen them able to win really many low-scoring games at this point in time.”

The Kraken have now allowed 28 goals through their first eight games this season and are 27th in that category after finishing 15th in goals allowed last season.

Offense has also been hard to come by save for Seattle’s two wins this year. Those games also included severe defensive struggles for the Kraken.

“Their two wins so far been by the scores of 7-4 and 5-4. And I think that to me is a little bit of a concern,” Morosi said. “You look at the back end and I think that when you compare this team to last year’s team, I’m just not sure that they have the same amount of functional depth right now defensively, and certainly goaltending is going to have some ups and downs. I think we’re just seeing how dependent they are on great goaltending. It is a team that is in some instances able to score goals, but they’ve done it so far in bunches … But the rest of the games have been either one or zero (goals scored).

“They’ve sort of come in bunches, but they haven’t really been able to have that consistent three- to four-goal output every single night or even just two goals a night just to have you on a more consistent tempo.”

What makes matters harder for the Kraken, Morosi said, is they play in a loaded Pacific Division, which includes the reigning Stanely Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights.

“They’re in a very, very tough division,” he said. “Edmonton has got off to a slow start, too, but you look at Vegas and how good they are – and really how great they are – I think that team still is setting the standard right now in their division.”

With all that being said, did the Kraken do enough this past offseason to help the team for this year?

Rather than focus on new additions or departures, Morosi focused on what he thinks Seattle was looking for from returning players.

“I think that they certainly had hoped that the return of (winger Andre) Burakovsky would bring a level of production beyond what they had last year,” Morosi said. “And I think when you consider the the way that that team was built last year, they got really good with (Jared) McCann having a career year and then obviously (Philipp) Grubauer finding it late. I think that when you look at a team that’s really heavily predicated on those two things, McCann — he’s got three goals already, which I think is a fine start to the year — but he’s not been a consistent 40-goal player throughout his career. And you’re starting to look around and say, ‘OK, if Burakovsky is not going to be part of the group every single day, where are you going forward?'”

Burakovsky is expected to miss at least a month with an upper body injury, making matters more difficult for the Kraken offensively. Fourth-line winger Brandon Tanev is also out for the foreseeable future.

“I’m just not quite seeing the amount of forward depth that you would expect to be able to hang with a team like Vegas or the Oilers when they really get going,” Morosi said. “They’re hoping I’m sure for (rookie winger Tye) Kartye to still continue his development.”

“Would I have liked to see them do a little bit more offensively? Yes,” Morosi later said. “But I think their big bet was that that McCann’s last year was real, that (Matty) Beniers was going to take a step, that Kartye was going to take a step, that (Kailer) Yamamoto would give them some offense and that Burakovsky was going to be a top-scoring left wing. And without Burakovsky in the lineup right now and for the foreseeable future, I think the mathematics of that recipe just gets a lot harder to make square at the moment.”

Listen to Wyman and Bob’s full conversation with Morosi at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

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Jon Morosi breaks down why Kraken have started season slowly