22 Things To Know Ahead Of The 21-22 Season

The puck FINALLY drops for the Seattle Kraken tonight as they make their way to Vegas. Here are 22 things to ponder ahead of the 2021-22 season.

Illustration by Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times

The Wait Is Over!

After a very long close to three-year wait, the puck will finally drop for the first time for the Seattle Kraken. Tonight under the bright lights of Las Vegas, the team that was announced in December of 2018 will be real. The feeling around the Pacific Northwest (PNW) is one of excitement, not unlike that feeling we had as children on Christmas Eve.

There will be storylines developing over the course of the season. So as we all wait for puck drop, let’s go into some things every Kraken fan needs to know and a few predictions sprinkled in for good measure.

The List

1 – The Seattle Kraken have five starting players under Covid protocol. Calle Jarkrok has been under them for a few days now, but ahead of practice on Monday, the team announced that Jared McCann, Jamie Oleksiak, Marcus Johansson, and Joonas Donskoi were added to the list. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THEY TESTED POSITIVE. As of this writing, it looks as though Johansson will suit up. The rest, minus Jarnkrok, could still dress if they have three negative tests leading up to lineup submission time. A curveball but a navigable one.

2 – During the final cuts for teams to get to 23 players ahead of 2 pm Monday, the Kraken snagged Alex Barré-Boulet off waivers. Seattle is hoping the winning pedigree from Tampa Bay flows through him as he will most likely be inserted into the lineup on day one! The 24-year-old undrafted center has only 15 games of NHL experience but has excelled in the AHL and the QMJHL before that.

3Philipp Grubauer and Chris Driedger will be one of the top five goalie tandems in the league this season. Grubauer has been one of the most dynamic goalies the last few seasons and was a Vezina finalist last year. Driedger shined in Florida ahead of Spencer Knight and Sergei Bobrovsky. Count it!

4 – The starting lineup tonight will not be the one you see daily, minus the Covid protocol list. The team is fluid right now, especially with Colin Blackwell and Yanni Gourde starting the season on the LTIR (long-term injured reserve). As a result, the lines will change, so be ready for it.

5 – Speaking of the lineup, here is what the roster looks like as of the final cuts: F: Appleton, Barre-Boulet, Bastian, Donato, Eberle, Geekie, Johansson, Lind, Schwartz, Sheahan, Tanev, True, Wennberg D: Borgen, Cholowski, Dunn, Fleury, Giordano, Larsson, Lauzon, Soucy G: Grubauer, Driedger

Morgan Geekie/ Photo by Benjamin Perri

6Mark Giordano was named the first captain in Kraken history. Here at KTI, we feel that this only means one thing… they will offer him a contract extension at some point. There was no other choice to wear the C.

7 – The team also announced that Gourde, Jaden Schwartz, Adam Larsson, and Jordan Eberle will be the rotating alternates. A lot of good leadership on this team.

8 – McCann is going to have a breakout season. Given the proper ice time and the proper linemates, he will spark the offense.

8A – Morgan Geekie will not only break out, but he will become a leader of this team. His on-ice presence is commanding and his confidence seems to be at a career high. If he gets the ice time, watch out!

9 – Vince Dunn will lead the D in scoring at the end of the year. The powerplay is going to run through him.

10 – The Kraken will have a top ten penalty kill in the league. The eye test alone proves this, especially as the preseason rolled on. The tenacity they showed and their poise will get the job done.

11 – Since the Kraken have just over $5 million in cap space, there is room for a move or two. If they are in the playoff race around the deadline, expect a move to get the job done!

12 – Sports on TV is a revolving door. With all the options to watch these days, trying to find out where your favorite team is playing is difficult, to say the least… just ask Avalanche fans. The Kraken games are broadcast in the PNW on Root Sports NW. To stream the Kraken games in the PNW if you don’t have cable fans must sign up for FuboTV.

13 – Subsequently, for fans that watch out of market games, NHL TV or Center Ice were your friends. That is no longer the case. They are gone. To stream over 1000 out-of-market games, ESPN+ is the home for all things NHL.

14 – That covers TV. For those fans that are on social media, there are a few accounts to follow for your Kraken news… besides Kraken the Ice of course! For all things analytics, you must follow Alison Lukan. Marisa Ingemi writes for the Seattle Times and is always on top of the news. Ryan S. Clark writes for The Athletic… and if you don’t subscribe, you should. Chris Mast snaps the photos. And last but not least, the guys at Sound of Hockey and NHLtoSeattle are the original Seattle hockey podcast and blog.

15 – Rumors and conjectures get a lot of people going and if you are one of those people, there are three hockey Twitter accounts to follow to get your fill. Elliotte Friedman, Frank Seravalli, and Darren Dreger are the best in the business.

16 – Some people ingest their media with their ears. For those fans here is a list of Kraken and NHL podcasts to stimulate your mind.

  • Kraken the Ice – All things 32 and beyond
  • Full List of FHN Podcasts HERE
  • Locked on Kraken
  • Sound of Hockey Podcast
  • Emerald City Hockey Podcast
  • Kraken Fancast
  • 32 Thoughts
  • Spittin’ Chiclets
  • The Chirp
  • The Ray and Dregs Podcast
  • ESPN In the Crease
  • The Hockey PDOcast
  • DFO Rundown

17 – The Pacific Division is going to be the wild, wild west of the NHL. The only thing we know for certain (or not) is that San Jose and Anaheim will be on the bottom. Besides that, it is wide open. Edmonton has the firepower but not the defense or goaltending. Calgary has an identity crisis with a lot of talent. Vancouver might be the dark horse. LA got better and more youthful. Vegas is Vegas. And we know where the Kraken stand.

18 – On the other hand, the Metropolitan Division is going to be one of the toughest to play in. Every team got better on paper. Keep your eyes on Pittsburgh from day one. Make note where they are before Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin return and then compare that to after they come back to play. Tune in to as many Capitals games as you can as Alex Ovechkin chases Wayne Gretzky on the all-time goals list.

19 – Watch Cale Makar and Nathan Mackinnon as often as time allows. They are going to lead Colorado to a division title in the Central. Nasty Nate is on a mission and that top line is electric. The Blackhawks are new and improved. The Wild are fun to watch again due to Kirill ‘the thrill’ Kaprizov. Gaze upon the disaster that is the Coyotes. Enjoy the slick moves of Juuse Saros in Nashville. And take in the battles that Winnipeg, St. Louis, and Dallas are going to engage in.

21 – In the Atlantic, the battle for Florida is going to be intense and if you can, watch those games. Tim Stutzle is set to go off this season in Ottawa. Lucas Raymond made the Red Wings and should play a role this year. Jonathan Drouin returns to Montreal and Cole Caufield gets a full season. It may be the last we see of Patrice Bergeron in Boston. And the only storyline out of Buffalo is where will Jach Eichel go.

22 – The Seattle Kraken will make the Playoffs.

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