Another Monday Musings and another sinking feeling about this team. The Kraken are now 0-4-1 on Saturday nights this season… We all knew the Saturday egg was coming against the Oilers, right? Edmonton was coming off a humiliating loss to the San Jose Sharks, and the Kraken were coming off one of their best games of the season in Colorado, so we had seen this act before.

In fact, we saw it against Calgary just one week prior, and we saw it last season when Vancouver won its first game of the season against the Kraken after starting the season with seven straight losses. I mentally prepared myself for the loss all day Saturday to minimize that sad Sunday vibe that I usually feel after a Saturday loss.  

The week wasn’t a total failure. Last week I wrote that I was hoping for four out of six points, but three would be fine. It is fine, but I can’t shake that sinking feeling in my gut that they could have had more points. I think they were probably the better team Tuesday night in Arizona but only came away with a shootout loss and one point. Thursday against the Avs was one of the more exciting games of the season and ended with a last-minute game-winning goal by Oliver Bjorkstrand.

The Avalanche win felt like a signature win to send the boys streaking, but it was not to be.

Lack of high-danger chances

One thing I did not like about the Saturday night game against Edmonton was the lack of high-danger chances. It just never felt like the Kraken were getting looks at the net until the third period when it was way too late. It is not the first time I’ve felt that way in a loss. Here is a look at the number of high-danger shots by game and the game outcomes.

I am not exactly going out on a limb here, but the Kraken need to generate more shots from in close if they expect to win. The Rangers, Flames, and now the Oilers games have felt like Seattle never really had a chance. How they generate those high-danger shots is not clear to me, but it does seem to correlate with players battling through to get to the top of the crease, similar to what Zach Hyman did three times in 10 minutes for the Oilers on Saturday.

Derek Ryan and promoting the game

I always enjoy seeing Derek Ryan visit Climate Pledge Arena. Derek’s journey through Spokane, Canadian College, Swiss league, Swedish league, the AHL, and the NHL is remarkable in its own right. One thing I especially love about Derek is that he took the time to talk to us on the Sound Of Hockey Podcast back in November of 2020. He did not need to talk to us, but he implied he did the interview because he felt it was important to help grow the game and promote the sport. A lot is asked of NHL players and coaches, so when someone outside the Seattle hockey scene like Ryan makes the time for us, it makes me a fan for life.

Other Musings

  • The Kraken are 4-4-2 in their last 10 games, good for 50 percent of the points available in that time span. It’s not horrible until you realize the Kings, Golden Knights, and Canucks have captured at least 70 percent of the points available to them over their respective last 10 games.
  • It is still early in the season, but the NHL’s Pacific Division looks daunting. The Kraken have only played one game (Vegas on opening night) against any of the top four teams in the Pacific, and they are 0-3-0 in games against all divisional opponents.
  • Nobody brings me more joy when they score than Bjorkstrand. I’ve been following his career since he played with the Portland Winterhawks and still think the trade for him last summer was a major coup. I was jumping up and down in Denver when he scored that game winner on Thursday.
  • You must figure Colorado is going to come into Seattle fuming. They squandered at least a point to the Kraken on Thursday when they allowed a goal with 32 seconds left in regulation and then had a rather embarrassing 8-2 defeat to the Blues at home on Saturday. I am scared already.
  • It has been fun to see Ryan Winterton get the call-up this week. I think it will be some time before we can call him an everyday NHLer, but even in limited minutes, I like what I’ve seen. He brings more physicality than I would have expected out of a 20-year-old first-year pro getting called up to the NHL. I think he has a bright future in this organization.
  • Even though Andre Burakovsky was not playing at the level we expected him to play early this season, this team really misses him. He is a huge scoring threat, and having him out crushes Seattle’s depth.
  • Speaking of Burakovsky, we would like to congratulate him and Johanna on the birth of their baby girl on Wednesday.
  • The Kraken only had four regulation Saturday losses all last season. They have four so far this season.
  • I am wondering if I should change this column to Fridays for the sole purpose of feeling better when I write it. The Kraken are 3-1-1 on Thursdays this season. Friday Fusings? I don’t know. We’ll workshop it.
  • Seattle Kraken fourth-round selection from the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Ville Ottavainen, had his first North American professional goal over the weekend for Coachella Valley.
  • Former Seattle Thunderbird, Kevin Korchinski scored his first NHL goal on Saturday.
  • Monday night’s game against the Avalanche will be my 100th Seattle Kraken game at Climate Pledge Arena. There are moments where it still feels like a dream. This will be another one of those moments.

Player performances

Jaden Schwartz (SEA) – A regular call-out here on Monday Musings, Schwartz continues to be the best player on the Kraken this season. He has four goals and two assists in five games in November and is on a four-game goal-scoring streak and nine-game point streak.

Andrei Loshko (ROU/SEA) – The Kraken’s fourth-round selection from the 2023 draft had three goals in three games for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the QMJHL over the past week. Loshko gets a lot of praise for his defensive maturity, so it is nice to see him starting to get a bit of a scoring touch.

Connor Bedard (CHI) – Have you heard about this guy? He has six points in the last three games including this little beauty. Bedard and the Blackhawks come to town in mid-December.  I imagine that will be a hot ticket.

Goal of the week

Seattle Kraken prospect Ben MacDonald scored his first collegiate goal over the weekend, and it was a something special.

MacDonald is a freshman at Harvard and has four points in five games.

Chart of the week

This is an updated chart from a couple weeks ago. The chart for the 2022-23 records at this point really illustrates how playoff teams start to establish themselves near the top half of the league around this time of year.

This does not mean that teams need to be in a playoff position at this time of the season, but it pains me to say that no team that had a points percentage of .500 or lower at this stage made the playoffs last season. Yikes.

You don’t see that everyday

Check out this snipe of a shot.

The week ahead

This is a jam-packed week with four games in six nights and some quality opponents to boot. The Kraken will face an angry Avalanche team on Monday, travel to Edmonton for a single-game road trip on Wednesday night, go back to Climate Pledge Arena on Thursday to host the Islanders, and will close out the week with a game in Vancouver on Saturday night. Four out of eight possible points will be fine, but anything less could be devastating for the team.

I don’t want to look too far ahead, but I am really looking forward to the game on Saturday versus Vancouver. The Canucks are playing extremely well, so I’m hoping the Kraken really elevate their game to compete.