Seattle Kraken fans don’t have to be overly concerned that at 12:01 am tonight, a.k.a. Wednesday morning, the NHL holiday roster freeze comes to an end. That’s when the window opens back up that allows players to be waived and traded. Bartering can be conducted right up until the March 3rd trade deadline.
There is no urgency whatsoever for Kraken General Manager Ron Francis. He’s in a position at this point to utilize the age old NHL GM line, “we’re always looking for opportunities to improve our hockey club.”
But with the team sitting in a playoff position in third place in the Pacific Division and that trade deadline more than two months away, he can sit back and wait for the best possible deals should he desire to make them and if his team is still in a playoff position come mid-February.
Optimism is one thing, but there is no reason to assume the club will still be in that spot in seven weeks, and no reason to assume that he should be bolstering the line-up for a playoff run.
Seattle Kraken fans can and should hope that he’s faced with that opportunity.
A flipside exists: the team slides out of a position and Francis is confronted with the possibility of making a different kind of deal. That would be swapping out a couple of pieces from the current line-up in an effort to improve it for next season and beyond.
Playoff race reality kicks in immediately as the Kraken host the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night at Climate Pledge Arena. Calgary is just one point behind Seattle in the Pacific Division standings and the Flames could leapfrog the Kraken with two points from a regulation win. A win for Calgary in OT or a shoot-out would put them even in points with the Kraken, who would remain ahead by virtue of having played three less games.
The Flames presently occupy the second wild card playoff position in the Western Conference.
Refresher: the top three teams in each division make the playoffs, followed by the next best two (wild cards) teams overall from either Western Conference division. That’s eight teams total (in each conference).
Seattle practices Tuesday at the Kraken Community Iceplex.
Team Canada has a full day off to think about their 5-2 loss to Czechia in their opener of the 2023 World Junior Championship in Halifax on Monday.
“[Czechia] was the better team tonight,” Team Canada captain and Seattle Kraken forward Shane Wright said postgame. “We gave them way too many opportunities and made it way too easy for them. We did not make it hard on them in the defensive zone, and they were able to skate through the neutral zone easily. We took too many penalties, and that is something we need to clean up for our next game. Hats off to them, but we will take a lot of things away from tonight and look to improve for our next game.”
That next game will be Wednesday against Germany.
Our holiday edition of “Simmer’s Morning Skate” with NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly with all kinds of informative tantalizing tidbits. Find that by clicking here.
Enjoy the Hockey Action!!