After looking like a traditional expansion team in the 2021-22 season, the Seattle Kraken enters the new NHL season with significantly lower expectations. Sharps bet online on the Kraken’s outright odds last season to deflating effects. Seattle finished with 60 points, which was the worst in the Pacific Division and second-worst in the Western Conference.
The Kraken, which general manager Ron Francis built to be a defensive team, allowed the ninth-most goals in the league. Seattle suffered from poor goaltending and atrocious penalty-killing (second-worst in the NHL) on top of a pedestrian offense, which tied for 28th in goals-per-game.
Francis addressed the offense and goaltending in the offseason. He signed scoring wingers Andre Burakovsky and Oliver Bjorkstrand and drafted Shane Wright with the fourth overall pick. Martin Jones comes over from Philadelphia to, hopefully, provide better play in the crease.
Seattle is still not expected to improve much hence their longshot NHL odds.
Seattle Kraken Odds
- To win Stanley Cup: +12500
- To win Western Conference: +6000
- To win Pacific Division: +3300
- To make playoffs: Yes +325/ No -450
Player to Watch
The Kraken have issues everywhere. But if this team can’t be good, it can at least be fun to watch. That’s where Shane Wright comes in. The 18-year-old could join the team this season and will play with a chip on his shoulder after falling to fourth in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.
Wright had 32 goals and 94 points in 63 games with Kingston in the OHL and also led Team Canada to gold in the 2021 World Juniors with nine goals and 14 points. Some scouts see Wright as a young Patrico Bergeron thanks to his two-way game, high hockey IQ, and work ethic.
That is a best-case scenario for Wright and one he can achieve … in the future. Fans should be patient with him as his rookie year will be filled with ups and downs.
Player to Watch: C Shane Wright
The Kraken have a rich crop of potential breakout players. The two most likely candidates are Oliver Bjorkstrand and Matty Beniers. Bjorkstrand is coming off a career season in Columbus where he had 28 goals on 215 shots. Now as the top-line winger beside Beniers, Bjorkstrand will have the green light to assail the net. A 40-goal season can be in store for him.
As for Beniers, the 2021 first-round pick wowed in his limited appearances last season. The Michigan product had nine points in just 10 games. The online sportsbook has Beniers on the short list of Calder Memorial Trophy contenders and we’re struggling to think of reasons on why he won’t impress.
Breakout Watch: RW Oliver Bjorkstrand, C Matty Beniers
Seattle will still be a bad team in 2022-23. We will be genuinely shocked if this team finds a way to qualify for the playoffs. However, the Kraken will be one of the NHL’s most exciting teams. The team features plenty of young players ready to score in bunches from the top line with Beniers and Bjorkstrand to Wright when he joins the lineup.
There is also a good chance that Chris Driedger and Philipp Grubauer improve with their goaltending. They were the worst tandem in 2021-22 but both have played a lot better with different teams. An improvement on their end, or with Jones, will get the Kraken a few extra points.
So while the Kraken will still be on the outside looking in, the fans can leave the season with a renewed sense of optimism as they have a team on the rise.