BUMP AND STACY

How surprising is it that Kraken have regressed since playoff run?

Dec 7, 2023, 12:15 PM

Seattle Kraken...

Head coach Dave Hakstol of the Seattle Kraken looks up on Oct. 10, 2023. (Candice Ward/Getty Images)

(Candice Ward/Getty Images)

The Seattle Kraken made a massive leap from Year 1 to Year 2, recording 100 points in the standings last season en route to a playoff berth that saw them knock off the defending Stanley Cup champs and come one game short of a Western Conference Finals appearance.

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That playoff run has not carried over into this season, though, as the Kraken are 8-12-6 and are five points back of a Wild Card spot. Seattle has lost two in a row and is 3-4-3 over its last 10 games.

Their next contest is Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils, and the game will air nationally on ESPN.

The guy on the call for ESPN is Mike Monaco, who joined Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy Thursday morning to discuss what’s going on with the Kraken.

“I think you have to be surprised (because the Kraken were) coming off 100 points and going to Game 7 with the Stars last year in the second round,” Monaco said of Seattle’s struggles this season.

Monaco joined Bump and Stacy earlier this season, and one of the things they discussed was how the Kraken were likely going to see a “goal scoring regression” after being incredibly efficient last season.

“Last year, the Kraken were as good as anyone in terms of shooting percentage, so you can’t expect that every year that’s going to be exactly the case,” he said. “Some of those numbers are just expected to balance out at a lower shooting percentage over time. It’s not entirely surprising that it has happened because the shooting has has come back to more normal standard levels where other teams typically find themselves every year in the NHL. But I think still, there’s been a lot of close games, games that have gone to overtime and the shootouts where the Kraken haven’t come out with the full allotment of points.”

“I still think there’s plenty of road ahead for this team,” Monaco later added. “It’s Dec. 7, you know?”

Unfortunately for the Kraken, goaltending is again an issue with Philipp Grubauer and Joey Daccord.

“You’ve got to point to goaltending in some sense,” Monaco said. “… Here in Seattle, the Kraken have the fourth-worst save percentage in the NHL. If you look into some of the advanced analytics … it says the same story that goaltending has really struggled … That would be kind of one place that I would point to.”

The Kraken also are looking for someone to step up on the scoring end of things. That’s especially the case with winger Jaden Schwartz out for the foreseeable future.

“He’s still second on the team in goals even while missing the last few games since the injury last week against Chicago,” Monaco said.

The Kraken are starting to really shake things up with the roster, starting on Thursday.

Winger Andre Burakovsky, who has been out of action since Oct. 21, is expected to return to the lineup on Thursday. He has just two points in six games this year, but led the Kraken with 39 points in 49 games before suffering a season-ending injury last season.

“That’s a big boost,” Monaco said.

Additionally, the Kraken are also set to change this up with their defensemen.

Top prospect Ryker Evans has joined the team and is expected to make his NHL debut against the Devils.

“That’ll be a big shift on the blue line, on defense for Seattle because they’re the only team in the NHL this year that has used the same six defenseman. And they’ve also done it in the same pairs all year. They have not changed their defense all season,” Monaco said. “… I think that’s a signal that the Kraken are going to try to push some different buttons here and find some answers.”

While things aren’t looking great for the Kraken, Monaco said they can still turn things around. But they have to act fast.

“There’s still a lot ahead for them,” he said. ” … There is still plenty of time here, but it is go time for the Kraken.”

Last Game: Monahan scores twice, Canadiens hold off Kraken 4-2

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