Seattle Kraken, Philipp Grubauer

Seattle Kraken Roll Call: Philipp Grubauer

Seattle Kraken Roll Call is assessing every player who held a significant place in the fortunes of the 2022-23 Kraken season. We’ll be looking at the highs and lows they experienced during the last campaign, as well as what the future may hold for them in Seattle. Today we feature 31-year-old goalie Philipp Grubauer.

Position: Goalie.

2022-’23 Kraken totals (GP-W-L-OTLGAA-Save%-ShutOuts): 39-17-14-4-2.85-.895-0

Contract Status: Four seasons remaining at $5.9-million per. He has a no-trade clause this season and a modified no trade clause (10-team list) the following three seasons.

Seattle Kraken Season Synopsis

Goaltending is the most important position on the ice and the Seattle Kraken have Philipp Grubauer presently inked in that spot for the next four campaigns. The soon to be 32-year-old German enters the third season of a six-year deal that pays him $5.9-million per.

Reason for optimism or concern? Actually, it’s somewhere in-between.

Here’s why.

In its inaugural season the Seattle Kraken team wasn’t very good and the goaltending didn’t really do a whole lot to elevate it.

In year two the team got a whole lot better and the netminding rose to the occasion. It didn’t however, at any point, dominate.

In fact, Grubauer served as the team’s back-up to Martin Jones when the Kraken were the hottest team in the National Hockey League. After “Grooby” got hurt four games into the season and missed a month, “Jonesy” seized the crease and held on to it well into 2023.

Jones didn’t exactly save the Kraken’s bacon on very many nights, but he was consistently above average and he did make the occasional big save when called upon to do so. Jones won six of the seven games on Seattle’s perfect, NHL record breaking 7-and-0 road trip in January.

When Jones faltered, Grubauer stepped in and took over.

By season’s end, four-and-a-half months after getting healthy, “Grooby” was once again the man. He rolled into the playoffs and held down the fort for a surprising 14 games of postseason hockey.

Highs And Lows

The numbers Grubauer posted last season wouldn’t earn him a $5.9-million contract, but not unlike skaters, goalies tend to have phenomenal years heading into contract summers. Grooby was no exception, posting other-worldly numbers in the both the regular season and the playoffs for the Colorado Avalanche in 2020-’21.

The Kraken needed a franchise goalie to get things started that summer and general manager Ron Francis was obligated to sign one. He and player agent Allain Roy arrived at the six-year pact for the free agent.

Two springs later, there was almost a sense of relief at how well Grubauer played in the Kraken’s two playoff rounds. Let’s face it, the whole scenario presented a big unknown for the team and it’s netminder. The club was cautiously optimistic.

Grubauer’s most famous postseason effort wasn’t a good one. As a 26-year-old back-up to Braden Holtby with the Washington Capitals in 2017-’18, Grubauer stole the crease near the end of the regular season and guided the Capitals to the Metropolitan Division title. He was red hot while Holtby was in a funk.

When the playoffs started, Grubauer melted down and lost the first two matches. Fortunately for Alexander Ovechkin and the boys, Holtby miraculously found his game, took over, and back-stopped the Capitals to their first ever Stanley Cup.

That summer, Washington traded Grubauer to the Colorado Avalanche. His clutch play improved dramatically in Denver.

One can see a trend. Inconsistency. Grubauer’s overall numbers in Seattle are not sterling. He did however pick the best time of year to get hot. From March 2nd to the end of the season he went 9-3-and-1, exactly what his head coach needed.

Dave Hakstol never wavered on his faith, and until late in the season never admitted, sometimes humorously, whether or not one of the guys was his number-one goalie.

Grubauer played very well down the stretch. The crease was his for the playoffs and he performed solidly. He didn’t steal anything, but he went 2-and-0 in the highest pressure situation: overtime games. Four of the seven postseason wins were one-goal hockey games.

What The Future Holds

Which Grooby do you get? If the Kraken receive the type of goaltending they enjoyed in March and April, they’ll be pleased as punch. It’s likely that 2023-’24 will be similar to last season, with solid help required along the way. The question remains, who will be Jonesy this time around, and will Joey Daccord or Chris Driedger be able to pull off the Jonesy?

The Kraken will definitely need some victories from their back-up.

Netminding can be a nerve-racking. It’s why the phrase “show me a good coach and I’ll show you a good goalie” exists. It’s that simple. Bad goaltending: doom. Good goaltending: team confidence and highlight reel seasons.

It’s a good trend at the moment; the Kraken hope it continues.

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.