We are 20 days away from the first Seattle Kraken preseason game. What seemed to be an endless offseason is coming to an end. That also means we at “Kraken the Ice” need to kick it up a notch to have this series done before the lads take the ice.
And just a quick note, you may wonder why I am putting the word “projected” all over these articles.. and if you aren’t wondering, bear with me. Not one of the hockey writers out there knows what the lines will be. All we can do is guess at this point. So, don’t take any of this as gospel.
For Kraken fans, their introduction to Brandon Tanev was his team photo. The eyes tell a story, don’t they? For all intents and purposes, this photo of Mr. Tanev speaks to his level of intensity on the ice.
The skinny on Tanev is fairly simple… he can kill penalties and forecheck with the best of them, all traits that equal perfect third-line winger. The 6′ 0″ 180lber can play either side but has seen most of his ice time on the left. As previously mentioned here, Tanev played a bunch with Jared McCann in Pittsburgh meaning that the familiarity they have could translate to a potent penalty-killing tandem that would be a threat to score a few short-handed goals. To expect a season of 30+ points from Tanev is not out of the question.
Calle Jarnkrok of the Kraken… sounds about right. A second-round pick 11 years ago, the 5′ 11″ 186-pound slick skating Swede is coming to Seattle from Nashville where he has spent his whole career.
Topping out at 35 points in 2017-18, Seattle fans can expect a guy that loves having the puck on his stick and can dish it with proficiency. The guy doesn’t score all that often what with a career-high of 16 goals, but he has had double-digit goals for six straight seasons.
The biggest issue I see is with faceoffs. Anything lower than 50% in the faceoffs won department is not nearly good enough. Possession will be huge for the third and fourth lines and if they can’t win the puck off the draw, no level of skill can cover up for that. Jarnkrok sits at a career 47.7% FOW. That will have to get better if the third line is to succeed.
As an aside, I could see Yanni Gourde being injected into the third-line center slot…
Mason Appleton is an interesting study. The 6th round pick from 2015 has averaged just about a point per game in the AHL. While listed as a center, it is most likely the Seattle Kraken will use him on the wing… and with his speed and creativity, it would be a welcome move.
A lot of scouts out there have been saying that since this kid hasn’t even come close to his offensive upside, he could be the steal of the draft. The defensive side is already there, so if he does grow into the offensive side of his game, Appleton will be a star in Seattle.
Because of Mason’s offensive upside, I could see Gourde being the missing piece on a scoring third line. The speed and work rate of a Tanev – Gourde – Appleton line would surely keep the puck in the offensive zone where they would create plenty of scoring chances for a team that will need every one of them.
The third line for most teams is an “identity” line or a “pest” line or an “energy” line and that goes for Seattle as well. The way it projects as of now, this third line will buzz like busy bees in both zones and cause a ruckus for the opposing team. The Kraken doesn’t need them to each score 20 goals a season, but if they can all put up 30 or so points, the team will be in some good shape to challenge for a playoff spot.
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