In this edition of Seattle Kraken News & Rumors, Philipp Grubauer plays his first game against his former team, Jared McCann extends his lead among Kraken goal scorers, and Marcus Johansson finds success in the injured Jaden Schwartz’ lineup spot.
Grubauer’s First Start vs. Avalanche After Signing with Kraken
Grubauer was making his 25th season start, his first against his Colorado Avalanche team in a 4-3 loss. After three seasons as a goaltender for the Avalanche over the past three seasons, Grubauer signed a contract. six-year, $5.9 million average annual value (AAV) contractIn the offseason, he was with the Kraken. He posted a .886 save percentage (SV%) in the game, besting his former goaltending partner Pavel Francouz’ .885 SV% performance for the Avalanche.
Grubauer was last season Nominated as finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goaltender. In his final season with Avalanche, he posted a.922SV% in 40 games. In Seattle, he has not been able to post the same statistics with Seattle, where he posted a.922 SV% across 40 games. His play has been dropping off because the 30-year-old German goaltender is starting so many games with the Kraken. His return to Colorado will hopefully remind him of what he’s capable of, and help him return to his regular elite form.
McCann Takes the Kraken Goal-Scoring lead with Snipe
McCann has become the Kraken’s go-to sniper this season, and he proved why again on Monday night vs. the Avalanche. Johansson tossed the puck into Avalanche’s zone and ringed it back behind the net. McCann was perfectly placed to pick up the puck along the left boards after the puck had passed Colorado defender Cale Makar, and Kraken forward Jordan Eberle. Francouz was not able to stop McCann’s rocket, giving the Kraken an immediate lead of 2-1.
This was his 14th goal of the season. He now leads Eberle by two goals. McCann carries an incredible shooting percentage of 17.7 percent on 79 shots, highlighting the 25-year-old forward’s incredible accuracy. He continues to be a consistent scorer for Seattle, and is having himself a career year despite the Kraken’s struggles to keep up in the Western Conference.
Related: Jared McCann Is Emerging As Seattle Kraken’s Sniper
McCann is currently in the last year of his $2.94 million AAV two-year contract. At the end of the season, he will be a restricted free agent. McCann will be able to receive a raise if he keeps lighting the lamp with his deadly shot. Seattle has found its sniper and will likely lock him into the Kraken’s future core with a new deal at the end of the season.
Johansson Puts Up Two Points in First Game Filling in For Schwartz
Schwartz is out It can take four to six monthsThe Kraken are looking for a replacement for one of its top forwards as they recover from hand surgery. On Monday, head coach Dave Hakstol played veteran forward Johansson in Schwartz’ spot on the top line, alongside McCann and Eberle, which turned out to be a great experiment. The 31-year old forward had a great night scoring a goal and helping to assist on the McCann goal.
Johansson looked promising in Schwartz’ place, with the top line providing the most spark for the Kraken on Monday. He currently has eight goals and five assists in 23 games. If he plays top-line minutes with McCann, Eberle, he will try to improve his stats.
“[Johansson]This is a completely different player from [Schwartz] in terms of the things that he brings,” NHL.com: Hakstol. “He can be a real driver in terms of transporting that puck into the zone. He’s really good five-on-five as well and we’ve seen him do that well on our power play. He’s a guy that works well off of the goal line. So, he can bring some real benefits to his linemates from that area in terms of his ability to make plays off that goal line and with his vision down there.”
The Kraken will be facing-off against Dallas Stars on the roads on Wednesday, at 5:30 PM PT. The Kraken should be able to test the Stars, who are currently in the Western Conference wildcard race. With a strong effort in Dallas, Seattle hopes to end its three-game losing streak.
Tom Pepper hosts The Hockey Writers PodcastEvery weekday, Monday through Friday (on iHeartRadio) and wherever podcasts are available. He also writes columns about the Buffalo Sabres (Mon. Wed., Fri. and Fri.) as well as the Seattle Kraken (Tues. & Thurs.). He is a diehard Sabres fan in Toronto and frequently drives the Queen Elizabeth Way to cheer on his team at KeyBank Center.