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G58 Game Notes: The middling Seattle Kraken have decisions to make ahead of the Trade Deadline

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Photo credit:Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
1 month ago
1. After wrapping up a five-game homestand earlier this week, the Edmonton Oilers will hit the road for a Saturday afternoon game in Seattle with the Kraken.
The Oilers have won back-to-back games and will be looking to extend their winning streak to three games against a team they’ve handled well this season. Edmonton beat Seattle 4-1 and 4-3 in November and 4-2 in January and will be looking to sweep the four-game season series between the two teams on Saturday.
2. The Kraken have also won back-to-back games and currently own a 26-22-11 record, good for 11th in the Western Conference standings, seven points out of the final Wild Card playoff spot. After going 46-28-8 in 2022-23 and taking down the defending Stanley Cup Champions in the first round of the playoffs, this season has been quite the letdown for the NHL’s youngest team.
The big difference for Seattle between last year and this year has been their offence. The team scored the sixth-most goals in the league last season and they currently rank 28th in goals scored this season.
Matthew Beniers scored 25 goals in his first full season for the Kraken but has suffered a sophomore slump and only has eight goals through 54 games so far. The Kraken also lost 37 goals between Daniel Sprong and Ryan Donato in free agency and the players they brought in as replacements, Kailer Yamamoto and Tomas Tatar, have combined for only 13 goals. Another player who’s seen a considerable decline offensively this season is defenceman Justin Schultz, who has five goals in 49 games after scoring 21 goals last season.
3. While Seattle’s scoring has been an issue this season, they’ve done a better job at keeping the puck out of the net. They ranked 15th in the league in goals against last season thanks to a terrible .890 team save percentage. This season, the Kraken have a .912 team save percentage and have allowed the seventh-fewest goals in the league.
Joey Daccord has been rock-solid between the pipes for Seattle. After appearing in just 10 games for the club in 2021-22 and 2022-23, Daccord has taken over the starting goalie job and has a .919 save percentage across 39 games. Philipp Grubauer, meanwhile, owns a ho-hum .899 save percentage on the season but has stopped 124 of 131 shots in five games since coming off of the Injured Reserve in mid-February.
The Oilers will start Stuart Skinner in the first leg of this weekend’s back-to-back and Calvin Pickard will go on Sunday when Edmonton hosts the Pittsburgh Penguins. Skinner stopped 70 of 74 shots in the team’s wins over the L.A. Kings and St. Louis Blues this week and has a .904 save percentage on the season.
4. The Kraken have under one week left to decide whether they’ll try to make a push for the playoffs or sell off some assets to contending teams ahead of the March 8 Trade Deadline. They’ll host the Oilers on Saturday, play a back-to-back in Calgary and Winnipeg on Monday and Tuesday, and then the deadline comes on Friday.
Seattle owns all of their own draft picks in 2024 other than their fifth-round selection and they also have Toronto’s third-rounder and Calgary’s seventh-rounder. They can stockpile some more draft picks if they opt to move some of their pending free agents in the coming days. The two most attractive options for a contending team would be Jordan Eberle or Alexander Wenneberg, who are both set to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.
Eberle is in the final season of a five-year, $27.5 million contract signed with the New York Islanders back in 2019 that features a modified no-trade clause. The former Oiler reached the 20-goal plateau in his first two seasons in Seattle and he has 14 goals through 55 games this season. Since going goalless in his first-ever playoff run in 2017, Eberle has scored 19 goals in 63 playoff games between New York and Seattle.
Wennberg was one of Seattle’s first free signings signings in the summer of 2021, as he inked a three-year contract worth $4.5 million annually with a modified no-trade clasue. He’s scored 33 goals and 100 points over 221 games for the Kraken while providing sound defensive play as the team’s second- or third-line centre.
Both players have played important roles in Seattle getting off the ground as a new NHL franchise and the Kraken will have to decide whether to move them with the future in mind or risk losing them for nothing in free agency.

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