Seattle Kraken, goalies

Hey Seattle Kraken; How’s Your Goaltending?

The Seattle Kraken have more than gotten by with an almost bizarre pattern of goaltending starts, and it’s not necessarily something that’s been done on purpose. It’s simply because the respective hots streaks of each goalie, other than when Martin Jones (photo left) filled in for Philipp Grubauer when he was injured, haven’t really lasted that long.

It appears this last little ‘Grooby’ run might be coming to an end, and there’s nothing that says there’s anything wrong with that. It doesn’t matter what each guy is making at this point — Grubauer $5.9-million per season for four more and Jones $2-million for just this one — it’s all about the wins and losses.

Grubauer was victimized by the Boston Bruins, the team with the best record in the NHL on Thursday, and was victimized by his own team with a sub-par performance on Sunday against the Maple Leafs. The first goal was likely a bit soft.

“It’s unfortunate us giving up these goals because our goalies are actually playing pretty well for us,” Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn said after the 5-1 loss to Toronto. “Unacceptable. For Grooby there, there’s not much he can do on many of those goals, so we’ll have to look at it, we’ll just have to take a step back here and breathe a little bit.”

Grubauer was replaced by Jones after the 4th Maple Leafs goal that came in the 2nd period.

Seattle Kraken Timeliness

The statistics for both of these veteran netminders contradict the wins and losses. For Jones in particular it’s been about consistency, timely saves, and not giving up low-danger goals. He’s made the saves he’s supposed to make and he’s come up with big saves at big times.

Otherwise, looking at general numbers, they’re not spectacular.

The 31-year-old Grubauer has a goals against average of 3.10 and a save percentage of .893. The 33-year-old Jones is better in one area (2.93) and basically the same in the other (.892). Those goals against marks are 25th and 28th in the NHL respectively. The impressive number for Jones in 39 appearances is the 23 wins, That’s tied for 8th in the league for a guy with a lot less starts than everyone else in the top-10 other than two, one of them being the remarkable man on top, Boston’s Linus Ullmark (37 games).

How much of this is the Seattle Kraken simply outscoring opponents and outscoring mistakes? Not necessarily as much as one might think. It’s more clear that Jones likes regular work.

Starting on January 1st, he won seven consecutive starts and nine of ten. Since then, he’s lost his last four starts, ones that came sporadically. During the nine wins when he was “the man” for the Seattle Kraken, Jones gave up a grand total of 17 goals. In the four losses in starts that were intermittent. 17 goals.

It Might Be Jonesy Time

Analytically, both guys are hovering very close to “saves expected” and “goals (allowed) expected”. Grubauer kicks out a much higher percentage of rebounds/second chances.

Ultimately, it’s not just the timeliness of actual saves, it’s been the timeliness of Seattle Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol playing the right hunch consistently as to which guy is feeling it. So far it’s worked out pretty well.

With four games in six nights on this road trip, one would expect to see both guys twice, unless Jones, if it is indeed his turn again, looks dominate and can pull-off three appearances outside of the back-to-back.

That first big decision comes Tuesday night when the Seattle Kraken visit the St. Louis Blues.

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.