The Seattle Kraken will be starting next season without one of its top two goaltenders.
Goalie Chris Driedger suffered a torn ACL at the World Championships and will miss the beginning of the 2022-23 season. He had knee surgery on Monday and is expected to have a 7-9 month recovery.
Without its top-performing netminder, how will Seattle fare to open up next season?
Filling the Void
While originally thought of as the clear backup in Seattle, Driedger was the best Kraken goalie this past season. He made 24 starts and 27 appearances, putting together a 9-14-1 record. He led Kraken goaltenders in both save percentage (.899) and goals-against average (2.96). Without the 27-year-old until 2023, Seattle will need some help between the pipes.
The best replacement for Driedger would be an improved Philipp Grubauer. The German netminder signed a 6-year, $35.4 million contract last offseason, and will be looking to perform closer to expectations next season. The 30-year-old finished with an 18-31-5 record in 54 starts in his first season with Seattle. His .889 save percentage and 3.16 goals-against average were far from the career-best numbers he put together the year prior. A return to form could help Seattle remain competitive while looking to replace Driedger.
In Driedger’s stead, Joey Daccord could get another extended look at the NHL level. The 25-year-old went 0-4-0 in his four starts this season, and put up disappointing stats compared to his impressive preseason. He finished the campaign with a 4,30 goals-against average and .850 save percentage. Daccord was also credited with 0 quality starts and 3 “really bad starts” – games where his save percentage dropped below .850.
Seattle could also choose to explore external options this offseason to complement Grubauer in net. Daccord’s struggles last season could force Seattle to give him more time to develop. No matter how the team approaches the matter, Driedger’s unfortunate injury leaves a large void between the pipes for the NHL’s newest franchise.