The Seattle Kraken is a new organization in the Pacific Northwest of North America. They’re looking to create a professional hockey team that will be part of the National Hockey League, and they plan on doing it with cryptocurrency.
The seattle kraken logo is the new logo for the Seattle Kraken. The Kraken is a fantasy hockey league that has been around since 2008.
A new NHL force will emerge from the depths of the Pacific Northwest. Its tendrils will extend into fantasy hockey leagues, giving fantasy managers more players, more metrics, and therefore more choices.
However, how should we deal with the effect of a brand-new NHL franchise?
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Fortunately, we can rely on a recent example. So let’s take a look at the Seattle Kraken’s roster, how the Vegas Golden Knights performed in their first season, and how we can apply it to the Kraken’s 2022-22 season.
Set the Kraken free!
Yanni Gourde will most likely be unavailable until November. When it comes to penciling in this depth chart, it is the most important piece of information. When Gourde returns, he will be the team’s first- or second-line center, which will alter the team’s composition after a month. In October, Jaden Schwartz and Jordan Eberle are the team’s clear-cut best wingers, with Alex Wennberg serving as the team’s top center in the absence of Gourde.
Marcus Johansson, Joonas Donskoi, Calle Jarnkrok, and Jared McCann, in that order, have different levels of top-six experience. Mason Appleton and Nathan Bastian, on the other hand, have been touted as having such potential but have yet to fulfill it. It’s a thin forward bunch no matter how you slice it. Jaden Schwartz is the only forward in the last six years to average 1.9 fantasy points per game (FPPG), which is approximately what a skater needs to be in the top 100 fantasy players. And that was only done once by Schwartz, and it was four seasons ago.
Defense is a bit more involved. Mark Giordano has averaged over 2.00 FPPG in each of the last six seasons. With his prodigious shot-blocking abilities, Adam Larsson comes close to that record in a good year. Vince Dunn has the potential to be a top-pairing defender and power-play quarterback, but he has yet to get the chance. While Jamie Oleksiak had a strong debut season, averaging over 17 minutes each game.
The Kraken have a solid goalie lineup. In his tenure with the Colorado Avalanche, Philipp Grubauer established himself as a viable No. 1 starter, while Chris Driedger demonstrated to the Florida Panthers that Sergei Bobrovsky’s poor statistics were not due to their defense. Last season, Grubauer finished fourth among goaltenders in fantasy points per 60 minutes (FPP60), while Driedger came in seventh.
How did your Knights fare?
In the two years leading up to the Golden Knights’ first season, no player on the roster averaged more than 1.90 fantasy points per game. In fact, only a few people came close to matching that score.
Jonathan Marchessault averaged 1.71 points per game in 2016-17, while James Neal averaged 1.82 points per game the year before. But it was the closest any of the Knights’ rookies got to that record in the lead-up to the 2017-18 season.
Of course, a new team with new responsibilities meant there would be plenty of possibilities.
William Karlsson improved from 0.84 and 0.71 goals per game in the two seasons before to 2017-18 to 43 goals and 2.16 goals per game, good for third and 44th in the league, respectively.
All three players benefited from the line of Karlsson, Marchessault, and Reilly Smith, with Marchessault averaging 2.07 FPPG and Smith 1.82.
On paper, Erik Haula, David Perron, and Neal constituted the top line, but they were surpassed by the Karlsson three. Nonetheless, Haula had a fantasy-friendly 1.85 FPPG, while Perron had a 1.79 FPPG. In many leagues, Neal was still rosterable, but his 1.59 FPPG was disappointing.
Brayden McNabb was a strong presence on the point, averaging 1.83 FPPG thanks to hits and blocked shots, which put him in the top 40 among defenders.
Shea Theodore and Colin Miller both flirted with fantasy relevance due to power-play opportunities, but neither was an everyday play with 1.54 and 1.50 fantasy points per game, respectively.
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Marc-Andre Fleury, 32, was coming off a disappointing season with the Penguins, during which Matt Murray stole his thunder in the playoffs and led the team to the Stanley Cup (for the second season in a row). Fleury had been a fantasy powerhouse in 2015-16 (3.53 FPP60), but he struggled in 2016-17. (2.34 FPP60).
In 2017-18, he rode the Golden Knights’ defense’s gritty, physical style to one of his finest seasons of his career. Fleury had a 4.20 FPP60, which was second among goaltenders who started at least half of their teams’ games and ninth overall in fantasy points.
Putting everything together
So, what can we expect from the Kraken in their first campaign in terms of fantasy?
The most important takeaway from the Golden Knights is that there will be guys who step up and discover that given more opportunities on offense, they can do a lot more.
Wennberg, Jarnkrok, and Dunn, as well as Gourde when fit, stand out as the players with the best chances.
Wennberg, who will be 27 years old when the season begins, was thrust into the starting lineup as a 22-year-old in 2016-17. He performed well, averaging 1.60 fantasy points per game, and seemed to be a promising fantasy prospect. The next year, though, Pierre-Luc Dubois arrived, and Wennberg was gradually pushed out of the scoring position. Since then, he hasn’t done much, finding himself on the outside looking in on scoring lines and power-play action. A opportunity to open the season as the team’s No. 1 center, on the other hand, might reinvigorate his game.
Jarnkrok had a reputation as a scorer while growing up in Sweden, and he proved it throughout his short time in the American Hockey League. In his seven years in the NHL, he has also struggled with a paucity of top-six opportunities, averaging fewer than 17 minutes of ice time per game and receiving little power-play opportunities. He can also play center if the Kraken choose to utilize him while they wait for Gourde to return.
Giordano is the only defensive player on the team with experience as a power-play quarterback, but he has a lot of miles on his tires. Even as a 37-year-old, the Calgary Flames attempted to move him off the top power-play unit last season. Dunn seems to be the puck mover on the point, while being a terrific senior presence and obvious option for captain.
Dunn will be 25 years old this year, but he already has four years of experience. The St. Louis Blues gave him some secondary power-play action, but he was usually overshadowed by the team’s stronger options. He has a natural talent to score. He’s tied for 27th among all defenders with 32 goals over the last four years, and he’s one of just two defensemen in the top 50 who played fewer than 20 minutes per game (17:23; the other is Mikhail Sergachev).
However, just receiving extra ice time may be beneficial to any athlete. Schwartz and Eberle each played less than 18 minutes per game last season, but with time on the team’s top power-play unit, they should be able to earn closer to 20 minutes this year. If you double their fantasy points per minute from last season by a couple of minutes each game, they both have a chance to crack the top 100 fantasy players.
The Kraken’s inferior attack and powerful defense should combine to make them concentrate on keeping the puck out of the crease. This should make Grubauer’s and Driedger’s jobs simpler. Last season, each averaged more than 4.00 FPP60, but with a new club, that may be a tough task. They’d still be fantasy plays with a 60-40 timeshare if we reduced it to somewhere between 3.65 and 3.75 FPP60.
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ESPN.com now has 10 Kraken players in their top 300 rankings, whereas I have 11 in my own.
Player, Position: ESPN, my position
G: 15 (ESPN), 16 Philipp Grubauer (me)
LW: 230 (ESPN), 57 Jaden Schwartz (me)
D: 199 ESPN, 60 Vince Dunn (me)
RW: 232 ESPN, 97 Jordan Eberle (me)
D: not ranked (ESPN), 123 Adam Larsson (me)
Alex Wennberg, 135 (ESPN), C: not ranked (me)
G: 161 ESPN, 139 Chris Driedger (me)
C: not ranked (ESPN), 198 Calle Jarnkrok (me)
Brandon Tanev (ESPN), LW: 177, 218 (me)
LW: 196 (ESPN), 250 Yanni Gourde (me)
LW: 254 (ESPN), 252 (ESPN) Jared McCann (me)
D: 64 (ESPN), not rated Mark Giordano (me)
As you can see, I deviate from ESPN’s default predictions in a few places. As I have said, I believe Schwartz and Eberle will benefit from more ice time. The remainder of the forward group should be respectable, but I view Wennberg, Jarnkrok, and Gourde as sleeper options (consider them the William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith equivalents). I’m all-in on Dunn, and I believe it’s to the disadvantage of Giordano, who is 38 years old. Nicklas Lidstrom, Ray Bourque, Rob Blake, Al MacInnis, Paul Coffey, Tim Horton, and Larry Murphy are among the few defenders in NHL history to reach 40 points at the age of 38 or older.
Colin Blackwell, among those not mentioned here, has caught my attention. His FPP60 from the previous two seasons is in the fantasy-relevant zone, so if he slipped into a large position, he may be able to make an impact. Joonas Donskoi has a comparable amount of untapped potential. He could certainly be worth a roster spot with a top-six role and power-play minutes.
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