As for timely scoring and balance throughout the line-up, no NHL team has shown the resilience and consistency that the Seattle Kraken have shown. Especially for a team that’s not loaded with superstars.
Jared McCann pounded out 40 goals this season, but in the minds of fans around North America he would be well down on the list of prolific scorers. They’ll whine about him up the road in Vancouver here and there, given that he was a 2014 1st-round pick of the Canucks who was traded away, but otherwise he and his Kraken teammates relish in a bit of national anonymity.
That could change in the coming weeks. The playoffs will do that for a team.
As for McCann, being announced as the Three Stars of the Year Award winner for the Kraken on Thursday night came as no surprise. While his team Most Valuable Player honors last season were more opinion based and came via media vote, this year’s award simply comes from tabulating his impact as the star of various games across the season. McCann led the team in scoring with 70 points.
McCann gave way to Vince Dunn this season for the Pete Muldoon Award as MVP, an honor named after a prolific athlete and hockey player and the coach of the Seattle Metropolitans when they won the Stanley Cup in 1917.
We’ve recently written quite a bit about Dunn and his prowess. He finished the season second in team scoring with 64 points and was a stalwart, minute-munching, top-pair defenseman along with partner Adam Larsson.
Matty Beniers, the favorite for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s rookie-of-the-year, won the Kraken’s Fan Favorite Award, as voted on by the club’s supporters. Again, no surprise given the size of the ovations he receives from fans during games seen in person at Climate Pledge Arena. He’s clearly on their minds.
Interesting to note; Beniers should also receive consideration for the Lady Byng Trophy, given to the NHL player who exhibits a combination of sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct, and a high standard of playing ability. Although rookies generally don’t make popular choices outside of the Calder voting, Beniers should garner strong consideration. He piled up 57 points, played in 80 of the 82 games, and compiled a grand total of 2 penalty minutes.
That’s Lady Byng material. It’s not a trophy pundits spend much time on, but it’s a highly respected accolade and a cool trophy, one that’s been around the NHL since 1924.
Finally, Jaden Schwartz won the Guyle Fielder Award as voted on by his teammates, as he exhibited perseverance, hustle and dedication. The 30-year-old winger, a Stanley Cup winner with Dunn in St. Louis in 2019, has overcome some nagging injuries and the occasional time off to notch 21 goals and 19 assists this season. He’s a team leader who others call a key to the dressing room.
The Award is named after one of the great minor league scorers of all-time and a former leader on the Seattle Bombers, Americans, and Totems.
“Just all year I think, our game’s been building in the right direction,” Schwartz said postgame on Thursday night. “Love our depth and it’s going to be exciting, we’ve shown all year that we can beat some of the best teams in the league, throughout the year, top of the East, top of the West. We’ve been in a lot of those games, beaten a lot of those teams when we’re playing that game, and we have that belief.”