Philipp Grubauer can be a star
Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer has shown flashes of brilliance in his career. During his time on the Colorado Avalanche he was a favorite to win the Vezina trophy (runner up actually). When he signed with the Kraken it was believed that his amazing numbers with Colorado (33 wins-2018, 36 wins-2019, 39 wins-2020) would continue.
He had done enough to show that he was a franchise goalie, capable of carrying a team on his back, and deserving a massive paycheck. Seattle paid Gru a 6-year/$35.4 contract to be their franchise goalie. Colorado did not feel he was worth that and let him go (only to win the Stanley Cup the very next season with *cough* Darcy Kuemper *cough*).
I will be honest, there were times in the past 2 seasons that I believed in Colorado’s logic and that Grubauer’s elite numbers were the result of playing behind a superstar Avalanche team. Kuemper wins a cup and leaves for a massive payday, and he was subpar on the Capitals- the Avalanche are just a great team. My thinking changed when Gru carried the team on his back as the team went to Game 7 in the second round against a tough Dallas squad. I still believe we win that Game 7 if it were played in Seattle.
Grubauer was sensational most of the postseason. He renewed the team’s faith in him (as well as the fans) and the coaches and front office feel good about moving forward with him as their guy. They also don’t really have a choice, dude is under contract. A lot of ‘ifs’ regarding the team goaltending, but IF Gru picks up where he left off, and IF new backups Joey Daccord and Greatest-helmet-in-NHL-History-wearing goalie Chris Dreidger are able to play at least as good as last years guy Martin Jones, then the Kraken will be set in net. If they falter or struggle massively early in the season, look for the team to make a trade and upgrade.
The team is clearly in a win-now mindset.
Goalie group grade: B-
Grubauer’s amazing postseason gives him one more shot at being ‘the man’ for the Kraken. Daccord (go Sun Devils!) was sensational last season for the AHL affiliate Coachella Valley Firebirds and will be looking to stick with the big club. Chris Driedger was out last season with injuries and prior to that was supposed to challenge/share the crease with Grubauer. If either one of these guys gets hot they could take Grubauer’s job. This scenario does not move the grade needle; goaltending has been and is the team’s weakest position group.