There are many things that could make this a successful inaugural season for the Seattle Kraken. We will discuss expectations and players in particular in more detail.
What would make a successful first season for the Kraken? Many have high expectations for this team heading into their first season as a franchise. Are people’s expectations too high as the Kraken will continue to be compared to the Vegas Golden Knights? How will players perform and will any surprises come in the form of breakout seasons?
A good start for a successful season is that the Kraken are competitive every game and stay in games. They enter the league in the weakest projected division in hockey this season. Teams should need the least amount of points to finish in the top-3. This makes it a little easier on them as not every new team is going to perform like the Golden Knights. If they manage to make it into the playoffs in their first season, many will be happy with their season. Every franchise that has been around for years can’t even perform like them.
The Kraken went the route of selecting many young players with potential instead of going with veterans. They hope this translates to player development, at either the American Hockey League (AHL) level or the NHL level. There is lots of opportunity as a newly formed team, and these young players will get their chances to step up.
Comparing the Kraken to the Golden Knights
It’s inevitable, the Kraken will be compared at every turn to the Golden Knights. Nobody can help it since they are the only new expansion team of the past two decades and of the salary cap era. These teams will also be compared closely since they are in the same division, so more games against each other, starting with the very first regular season game played for Seattle.
The Golden Knights’ overwhelming success in 2017 was record-breaking in so many ways. To live up to that will be extremely difficult. Nobody in the league had experienced what adding a brand new NHL franchise to the mix would entail. From players to general managers, everyone underestimated the Golden Knights and was caught off guard.
The Kraken shouldn’t be expected to make it all the way to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, but qualifying for the postseason is a start. Don’t be surprised if the Kraken don’t shatter every record set by the Golden Knights for an expansion team or win the division. There are established and very talented teams and players already in the Pacific Division that they have to contend with.
Kraken Players Step Up
There are many players who have had success in the past that the Kraken strategically picked up. From Stanley Cup Champions to veterans who have gone deep into playoffs or been around the league for many years. Combined with the youth they selected and signed, there’s a good mix of opportunity and expectation ahead.
Young players like Jared McCann, Morgan Geekie, Mason Appleton, Vince Dunn, Nathan Bastian, and Ryan Donato could all be primed to break out. Lineups may be forming ahead of the regular season opener. Don’t be surprised at all if players move up and down the lineup almost every night. The Kraken will need some of these names to take steps forward, as this team needs to work more as a unit with the lack of star power in their lineup, similar to the Golden Knights.
As far as personal and team records and milestones go, you will be hearing about something new almost every night. Stay tuned for everything on the Seattle Kraken as they make their historic arrival into the league.