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 20-year-old center Matty Beniers.
Position: Left-handed center.
2022-’23 Kraken totals (GP-G-A-P): 80-24-33-57, 2 PIM
Contract Status: One season remaining on his entry-level deal at $897,500.
Seattle Kraken Season Synopsis
Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2023 Calder Trophy Winner as the NHL rookie-of-the-year, Seattle Kraken center Matty Beniers.
That kind of says it all, but actually it doesn’t.
“Stats tell a little bit of the story, but in Matty’s case that’s just a real small piece of the story,” his head coach said Dave Hakstol said a day ahead of the NHL Awards show in June. “You can’t make up presence, and Matty’s got presence. He’s got a ton of it. When he walks into a room, it’s not his physical stature, it’s the way he carries himself, it’s his demeanor, it’s his confidence, it’s his work ethic, it’s that whole package.”
Beniers took on a whole lot of responsibility in his first full NHL season. A top line center with mad forechecking tenacity who played on the first power play unit and finished fourth on the team in scoring.
Remarkably, so often when we discussed the changes that led to positive results for the Kraken in season-two, we first listed the additions from the outside: Martin Jones, Andre Burakovsky, Oliver Bjorkstrand, and Justin Schultz.
Oh yeah! How about the most important addition of them all, the one from the inside: The Kraken’s first ever NHL Draft choice, 2nd-overall in 2021, who played ten games for Seattle at the end of the 2021-’22 schedule after his college season ended at the University of Michigan. Last October he became a Kraken regular.
Highs And Lows
If we jump ahead we can look at Beniers’s playoff performance. A half-a-point-a-game postseason with seven in 14, while only getting stronger and more effective as time moved along. He tallied just one point in the 1st-round series against the Colorado Avalanche, then followed up with six points in the 2nd-round series against the Dallas Stars.
That’s quite an improvement. Both series went seven games.
He had a goal and an assist in Game-3 vs the Stars and again in Game-6. The Kraken won both of those contests in dominant fashion.
The drawback in his postseason; not a single point on special teams. The Kraken finished with a 14.3% success rate on the power play, 14th out of 16 Stanley Cup playoff teams.
Beniers proved streaky during the regular season. His stick was on fire twice. He tallied five goals and seven assists during a six game run from November 19th to December 1st. He became the prohibitive favorite to win the Calder when he reeled off six goals and five assists during the Kraken’s NHL record-setting, seven-game road winning streak in early January. Beniers was the main catalyst.
His longest scoring drought of the campaign and the only one to reach double-digits came immediately after that. A ten-gamer that began on January 16th.
Beniers played in 80 of 82 regular season games, knocked out of the line-up on January 25th on a cheap shot by Vancouver Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers at Climate Pledge Arena. Beniers would miss home games against the Calgary Flames and Columbus Blue Jackets, and then his appearance at the NHL All-Star Game.
Despite that bummer, he’d recover fully during the All-Star break that was coupled with the Kraken’s bye week.
What The Future Holds
Size and strength keep coming up as issues to be addressed. It’s hard to say whether Beniers will continue growing upwards, but he’ll definitely attempt to grow outwards in a positive fashion.
“Put on more weight, obviously, my skating, keep getting my skating better, my edges,” he mentioned as off-season tasks. “I’d love more weight. I think it would be great for being in the corners, holding guys off my back, a lot of benefits from it. More muscle in my legs too, make myself faster, I don’t think there’s too many downsides to it.”
His potential impact for the Kraken in 2023-’24 is tantalizing. A restricted free agent next summer, the window to sign a new contract prior to that is now open.
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