The Kraken have the deepest forward group in the NHL
Top to bottom the Kraken can beat you so many ways and get scoring from so many players. Last season (and no this is not going to be a living in the past post) the Kraken had 6 players score 20 or more goals.
Jared McCann led the team with 40. The team had 13 players score 13 or more goals. Contributions up and down the roster. What made this unit so special is that head coach Dave Hakstol could put any of his 4 lines out at any time given their ability to contribute. This is a matchup nightmare for opposing coaches.
Out of the 13 players who scored 13 or more goals, 11 return to build on last season. Daniel Sprong and his 21 goals headed to Detroit and Ryan Donato (14 goals) signed with Chicago. I believe that both players will have solid seasons with their new teams.
Barring injuries, the team will only get better as forward André Burakovsky returns from injury and will add a powerful dimension to the team’s second line and balance the top two lines. Burakovsky scored 13 goals in 49 games last season. When healthy, he was leading the team in scoring with 39 points. His return is massive and I think a lot of hockey folks are forgetting about his role with the team.
The team signed hometown favorite Kailer Yamamoto to replace Sprong and Donato. His signing is a massive upgrade. Though currently slated to have more of a depth role, Yamamoto should quickly establish himself as one of the integral parts of the Kraken machine and see regular minutes on the third and fourth lines. He is going to make it difficult for the coaches to not play him.
This is a good problem to have.
The three biggest developments to watch this season will be the role/impact that Shane Wright has on the team, the return to health of forward André Burakovsky, and the roles of Kailer Yamamoto and Tye Kartye. How these three stories play out will be the difference between the Kraken being elite or just another really good team. Keep an eye on the Oliver Bjorkstrand renaissance.
Forward group grade: B+
Matty Beniers is the only real star on this team (I say this even with Jared McCann and his 40 goals last season). The forwards all play a solid two-way game and contribute on the score sheet. Individually they look below average, but they are one of the best in the NHL and tough to matchup against as a whole. Alex Wennberg and Brandon Tanev are massively underrated.