The initial outlook for the Seattle Kraken is brighter with Vezina Trophy finalist Philipp Grubauer in net.
Selected From: Free Agency [2020-21 Team: Colorado Avalanche]
Contract: 6 yr. left at $5.9 million AAV
2020-21 Season Stats: 40 GP: 30 W, .922 SV%, 1.95 GAA
The Seattle Kraken signed former Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer to a six-year deal in free agency.
Grubauer was a fourth-round draft pick of the Washington Capitals in 2010. He spent the first six years of his professional career in their organization. The first half of his Capitals career was spent playing for the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League; He only appeared in 20 NHL games over his first three seasons while seeing 105 games of AHL action.
Grubauer spent the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons as the backup to Braden Holtby and earned a timeshare with Holtby in 2017-18. While splitting starts with Holtby, he put together a .923 save percentage and a 2.35 goals-against average. Grubauer hit free agency after that season, and impressed enough for the Avalanche to give him a three-year, $10 million contract. He became Colorado’s clear-cut starter and led them to the playoffs in each of his three seasons with the team.
Seattle Kraken Outlook
Grubauer now has another opportunity to be a starting goalie after having much success in that role with the Avs. Seattle’s team was built with defense in mind, so Grubauer should have similar success with his new team. Colorado boasted one of the NHL’s best defense cores over his time as their netminder, but Seattle’s defense is nothing to scoff at. If the pieces fall into place for the Kraken, they could be one of the top defensive teams in the league. Being backstopped by Grubauer could certainly help in that quest.
The Avalanche allowed a league-low 25.4 shots against per game last season, a number that will be hard to match. Even with a low shot volume, Grubauer posted a career-low 1.95 goals-against average and his .922 save percentage was the fourth time he’s finished higher than 92 percent.
He and Chris Driedger immediately form one of the league’s best goaltending duos, and while Grubauer might not command as many starts as he did with Colorado, the team will be getting quality goaltending every night.