Folks around the Kraken dressing room were hoping against the bad news, but had a pretty strong sense it was coming: the upper body injury to Seattle rookie Matty Beniers, the NHL’s leading scorer among first year players, will keep him out of the NHL All-Star festivities in south Florida.
What comes next seems to be a bonus kick in the groin, the league deciding to replace Beniers with Chandler Stephenson of the Vegas Golden Knights rather than with one of Beniers’s teammates.
Kraken forward Jared McCann or Andre Burakovsky or Jordan Eberle would have done just fine, thank you.
Unless of course, and this is a distinct possibility; they already had plans and didn’t want to or couldn’t go. One then has to draw the line somewhere on which other Kraken forwards may or may not have been worthy and available. Plenty of players and support personnel are headed to Mexico or Hawaii during the bye week.
No Kraken Kid
Although he’s missed the last two-and-a-half games due to injury following what the Kraken referred to as a “garbage hit” by Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers in the second period last Wednesday night, Beniers still leads NHL rookie scorers by seven points. He’s been an enormous catalyst on Seattle’s tenacious forecheck and has chipped in four points on the power play.
There was no supplemental discipline for Myers’s blind side hit away from the puck that resulted in an interference penalty.
Beniers has posted 36 points, McCann 35, Eberle 38, and Burakovsky, the team leader, 39.
Stephenson has 44, but to take him without considering a Seattle player would have been an unfair punch to the gut of the fans in the Emerald City. Every team should have someone there if at all possible.
Without the ability to scramble out a last minute replacement, the Pacific Division’s 1st place team* will go without NHL All-Star representation.
*The Los Angeles Kings play in Carolina on Tuesday night, entering action one point behind the Kraken, who remain idle until February 7th. Should LA beat the Hurricanes, they’d hop past Seattle in the standings, 64 points to 63. Regardless of whether the Kings win or lose, the Kraken will still have the superior winning percentage with four games in hand.