Seattle Kraken, Vancouver Canucks

Seattle Kraken Penalty Kill is a Let Down

The Seattle Kraken PK has struggled and is a big reason for the club’s sub-.500 record. This should come as no surprise. As the old saying goes, success during an NHL season is all about “special teams and goaltending.”

The other cliché is, “your goalie is your best penalty killer”. It might be unfair to blame the netminders at this point.

Here’s a remarkable stat’; in 5 of the Seattle Kraken’s six losses this season, two of them after regulation, the opponent has scored two power play goals. That ain’t gonna fly. Or swim.

The first game on October 12th contained an anomaly with the Kraken scoring three power play goals to the Ducks’ two in Anaheim’s come from behind overtime win.

Since then the Kraken have given up two power goals in losses to the Vegas Golden Knights on October 15th, the Carolina Hurricanes two nights later, the Chicago Blackhawks on October 23rd, and the Vancouver Canucks on October 27th.

Seattle’s power play, clicking overall at a rate of 28.6%, fifth best in the NHL, hasn’t been enough to overcome the penalty kill woes, presently tied for 30th in the league at 64.5%. Although improved, the club’s overall offensive depth isn’t quite at a level where it wants to be getting into special teams battles on a nightly basis, and losing.

Kraken PP And PK

There’s always the opportunity to sprinkle in a few more names on the PK units. Obviously it’s very early in the season and too soon to point fingers excessively, but if Jamie Oleksiak or Karson Kuhlman’s names keep popping up on the goals against sheet, maybe you take a look at a few other candidates.

Last season’s abysmal Vancouver Canucks penalty kill, off to an awful start again this season and dead last in the league, improved dramatically in 2021-’22 when head coach Bruce Boudreau invited Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes into the PK fray. Offensively gifted players with great anticipation skills who added a little danger to the shorthanded counter-attack. Hughes has been injured much of this early season.

Who on the Kraken might fit that bill?

We’re only nine games deep. Panic never works in any situation. Just as we shouldn’t plan Stanley Cup parade routes for teams that get off to a hot start, an old joke in Toronto, we also shouldn’t panic over personnel on special teams.

Of course, that tune changes if things don’t start to even out.

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.