What went wrong in the Kraken’s inaugural campaign

Story posted April 20, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Logan Bourandas

Every NHL season brings several storylines.

From talking about if the Tampa Bay Lightning win three straight Stanley Cups to can the Philadelphia Flyers bounce back after last season, these storylines always make for exciting seasons.

Arguably the biggest question for this season however was very simple.

How will the Seattle Kraken do in their inaugural campaign?

Spoiler alert: It did not go well.

The Seattle Kraken officially became the 32nd NHL team and finished their inaugural season with a 25-44-6 record which placed them in last place in the Pacific division.

That addition to the NHL came four years after the last expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights, took over the hockey world and went on an unprecedented run to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Despite being ultimately defeated by the Washington Capitals in the finals, that first season became the norm for the Golden Knights franchise as they have made the playoffs in each season of their existence and are still in contention to make it again this year.

That kind of run would’ve been almost impossible to repeat.

Even though the expansion draft was set up the same way for the Kraken as it was for the Golden Knights, the Kraken took a slightly different approach come draft day to set them up for the future.

The Kraken didn’t go for brand names even with guys like Carey Price and Vladimir Tarasenko available for the taking which would’ve hurt in the short term but instead left them with a ton of cap space for the future.

That cap space to go along with the debut of the team's top draft pick in Matty Beniers should help make the Kraken competitive in future seasons but one thing they did not focus on during the expansion draft was focus on expanding their draft capital.

When the Golden Knights were crafting a competitive roster from the jump, they were able to do so while also collecting several draft picks from opposing teams to prevent the Golden Knights from taking some of their players.

The Golden Knights made 10 trades during the expansion draft and collected two first-round picks in the process but not a single trade was made following the Kraken’s expansion draft.

Whether that was due to opposing GM’s learning from last time or by choice of Kraken GM Ron Francis, the Kraken is still in a great spot moving forward.

Even before the season started, everyone knew that following up on the impossible standard the Golden Knights created was going to be just that: impossible.

While it may not be this season, maybe sometime shortly the Kraken can create some memorable storylines as they look to create their legacy and follow their path to get there.

Logan Bourandas is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email lxb5412@psu.edu.