Kraken’s Joey Daccord rises from bench to burgeoning star

Jan 31, 2024, 12:10 PM | Updated: 2:32 pm

Seattle Kraken Joey Daccord...

Joey Daccord of the Seattle Kraken in net on Jan. 26, 2024. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

SEATTLE (AP) — At seemingly every stop of his hockey journey, Seattle Kraken goalie Joey Daccord ended up being overlooked.

Until now.

He was originally a seventh-round draft pick — No. 199 overall — of the Ottawa Senators. His only offer of a full college scholarship came from a fledgling program at Arizona State that was just getting started as an NCAA Division I member when he arrived in the dessert.

Even after becoming a star in college, Daccord couldn’t consistently get on the ice with Ottawa. When he was nabbed by the expansion Seattle Kraken, he was the third of three options on the depth chart.

That background makes Daccord grateful and perhaps a little humbled by what’s happened over the last two months where he’s become entrenched as the starting goalie in Seattle and been one of the top goaltenders in the entire league.

“I think like any goalie will tell you that they just want a chance to prove themselves,” Daccord said. “And I feel like I’ve really gotten that opportunity in the last month, month and a half here just to play a lot of games and get in a rhythm and feel really comfortable at the NHL level.”

As the All-Star break arrives, the third-year Kraken find themselves in the middle of a crowded field for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Seattle stumbled in its final game before the break on Tuesday night with a 2-0 loss in San Jose. Despite the setback, Seattle is one of six teams headed into Wednesday night separated by five points for the two wild-card playoff spots out West.

The Kraken wouldn’t be in this position if not for what Daccord has provided.

He’s played more games at the NHL level in the past seven weeks than the previous four seasons combined during brief snippets with Ottawa and Seattle and his numbers are reinforcing the eye test of how well he’s played.

In 16 of his past 20 games, Daccord’s allowed two goals or less. He posted the first two shutouts of his career, including the Winter Classic. His save percentage during that span is .937. Seattle is 12-5-3 during that stretch.

His advanced metrics are just as impressive. Per Natural Stat Trick, Daccord is third in the league in goals saved above average at 16.76, trailing only Connor Hellebuyck and Thatcher Demko.

“I mean, he’s just very steady for us, which is awesome,” forward Tomas Tatar said. “He’s given us a lot of confidence.”

Aside from his performance in goal, Daccord has brought a fresh personality to the ice. While the Kraken have done well to carve out a portion of the sports landscape in their hometown — an unexpected playoff run last season helped — their roster is not filled with big personalities.

But that’s who Daccord is. He’s fun. He’s energetic. He loved the chance to soak in all the “Joey, Joey,” chants after shutting out Vegas before 47,000-plus fans on New Year’s Day. A few nights later after another stellar performance against Ottawa, Daccord tackled the team mascot in a bear hug at center ice following the win.

On nights when Daccord isn’t starting, he will stay out at the end of pregame warmups practicing one-time slapshots with his goalie stick. And he has every intention of trying to score an empty-net goal at some point this season.

As Daccord noted, hockey can be a little stodgy when it comes to showing personality on the ice. He thinks that is changing.

“I think hockey kind of has a code where you’re supposed to keep to yourself and put your head down and work hard and be humble. I agree with all those things,” Daccord said. “But at the same time, I am a very passionate person and I like to show my passion and I like to be energetic and I like to celebrate when we score and fire up the crowd. I like all those things and I think that’s one of the fun parts of playing hockey.”

Daccord’s emergence does create a conundrum for Seattle’s management that will be closely watched as the trade deadline approaches in early March. The best goaltending the Kraken have received for an extended period in their three years is coming from their lowest-paid goalie.

Outside of last year’s playoffs, Philipp Grubauer hasn’t played up to his six-year, $35.4 million deal. Grubauer’s lower body injury in early December handed the net to Daccord and led to his run. Chris Driedger, making $3.5 million, has appeared in only two games this season and spent most of the year at Coachella Valley in the AHL.

Meanwhile, Daccord continues to play at a level worthy of Vezina Trophy consideration on a $1.2 million deal.

“He’s worked for it,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after Daccord’s Winter Classic shutout. “You look at all the steps he’s gone through, he didn’t just land here out of nowhere.”

Last Game: Blackwood makes 32 saves, Sharks blank Seattle Kraken 2-0

Seattle Kraken

Seattle Kraken Tye Kartye...

The Associated Press

McCann, Kraken beat Flames 4-2 for third win in four games

Jared McCann had a goal and an assist to help the Seattle Kraken beat the Calgary Flames 4-2 on Monday night for their third win in four games.

6 hours ago

Seattle Kraken...

Tim Booth

Draisaitl nets 30th goal, Skinner saves 24 as Oilers top Kraken 2-1

Leon Draisaitl scored his 30th goal of the season and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Seattle Kraken 2-1 on Saturday.

2 days ago

Seattle Kraken Phillip Grubauer...

Tim Booth

Grubauer, Kraken shut Pittsburgh Penguins out 2-0

Philipp Grubauer made 33 saves and posted his first shutout of the season as the Seattle Kraken beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-0.

4 days ago

Seattle Kraken Philipp Grubauer...

Mark Moschetti

Grubauer, Kraken beat Bruins 4-3 in shootout

Philipp Grubauer denied all three Bruins shootout attempts and the Seattle Kraken overcame David Pastrnak’s hat trick to beat Boston 4-3.

7 days ago

Seattle Kraken Minnesota Wild...

The Associated Press

Kaprizov, Zuccarello lead Wild over Kraken 5-2

Kirill Kaprizov had two goals and an assist, Mats Zuccarello added a career-high four assists and the Minnesota Wild beat the Seattle Kraken 5-2.

9 days ago

Seattle Kraken...

Cameron Van Til

McCann, Eberle lead way as Seattle Kraken beat Canucks 5-2

Jared McCann had a goal and three assists, Jordan Eberle had two goals and an assist and the Seattle Kraken beat NHL-leading Vancouver 5-2.

11 days ago

Kraken’s Joey Daccord rises from bench to burgeoning star