Happy Labor Day to all Seattle Kraken supporters and to the rest of hockey fandom in the 50 states and a happy Labour Day to everyone checking in from North of the border. Cheers!
1) The Kraken signed a couple of players this week, including lefty forward Devin Shore, who spent a solid hunk of the last three seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, He’ll get a look at training camp and he’ll make $250,000 if he slides down to the American League (AHL) and $775,000 if he sticks in the big show. The 29-year-old had nine points in 47 games last season for the Oil’.
Shore, who grew up outside of Toronto, played three seasons of college hockey at the University of Maine after being drafted by the Dallas Stars in the 2nd-round of the 2012 NHL Draft. After three-and-a-half seasons in the Lone Star State he was traded to the Anaheim Ducks. He also saw six games with the Columbus Blue Jackets along the way, prior to being moved to Edmonton.
Shore’s best season was his first full season in the league, 82 games, 33 points for the Stars.
Minor league scoring defenseman Mitch Reinke was the other pick up. Also a college product, Reinke played at Michigan Tech, went undrafted, and signed as a free agent with the St. Louis Blues in 2018, playing his one and only regular season NHL game right after his college career ended. He’s also participated in just one Stanley Cup playoff game; that came in 2021.
The 27-year-old righty blueliner is coming off a 27 point season in 52 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL.
2) The countdown continues and flying pucks are getting much closer. Some rookie camps, not all of them, open on September 15th. NHL training camps get started a few days later. The Kraken open their preseason schedule with a split squad set against the Calgary Flames in 22 days. Half the camp roster for each franchise at the Climate Pledge Arena, the other half at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on September 25th.
The Kraken regular season: it starts in 37 days in Vegas. (see item #8 below)
Here’s the full preseason schedule:
3) Whatever happened to those sex scandals involving the 2003 and 2018 Canadian World Junior teams that saw Hockey Canada torn apart and rebuilt with all new policies put into place?
You might recall, and here’s the cheat sheet version: that the organization had spent $7.6-million (Canadian dollars) out of a “National Equity Fund”—funded partially via player registration fees—to help pay out settlements in 21 sexual misconduct cases since 1989.
We haven’t heard who was involved and how the police investigations wrapped up.
4) On a much happier note, here’s a couple of items that zipped by this week that you may want to catch up with: Seattle Hockey Insider had the opportunity to chat with former Kraken turned Vancouver Canucks defenseman Carson Soucy on Thursday.
It’s all business against his former club for the Irma, Alberta native. Here’s the link if you missed it: “It’s Gonna Be A Rivalry”
And while on the cross-promotion theme, myself and Kraken TV play-by-play man John Forslund had some fun catching up on some off-season news and views this past week. You can see that video at the bottom of this page.
5) The Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) has had a very busy week. The six franchise sites have been named; Minnesota, Toronto, Boston, New York, Ottawa, and Montreal, and so have the general managers. Minnesota will be run by former American national team great Natalie Darwitz.
Free agency has opened and the first draft picks announced. Follow developments at wphseattle on instagram. Fans in the region are already asking about western expansion.
6) In their inaugural season the Kraken only had four players who were on the plus side of the old fashioned plus/minus ledger, among those with at least 30 games played. Meaning, the player was on the ice when more goals were scored for the Kraken at even strength or shorthanded, compared to when they were on the ice for goals scored against. Those plus players were Soucy (+7), Riley Sheahan (+6), Brandon Tanev (+4) and Colin Blackwell (+1).
Things sure did turn around in season two. Only three players of the 19 who skated in more than 40 games for the Kraken finished as minus players. Can you name one or all of them? Answer at the bottom of this page above the video.
7) Without thinking too much about it, spur of the moment, here’s my quick preseason Pacific Division order of finish contemplation.
1. Edmonton OIlers
2. Calgary Flames
3. Vegas Golden Knights
4. Vancouver Canucks
5. Seattle Kraken
6. Los Angeles Kings
7. Anaheim Ducks
8. San Jose Sharks
— Note A: The Canucks making the playoffs is contingent upon number-one goalie Thatcher Demko staying healthy. If not, the Kraken finish ahead.
— Note B: For the Canucks and Kraken to both make the playoffs in this scenario, they’d have to beat out the wild card contenders from the Central Division. That possibility definitely exists.
8) The NHL announced its national rights-holder telecast schedule and the Seattle Kraken play a huge part in it, stepping into the limelight on three major occasions.
The league’s opening night triple-header on various ESPN networks on October 10th will conclude with the Kraken playing at the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights.
Next, Seattle will host the NHL Winter Classic beginning on New Year’s Day at 12-noon pacific against those very same Golden Knights on TNT.
The Kraken will also be featured as part of a special President’s Day double-header on February 19th when they host the Detroit Red Wings on ESPN.
9) Gordie Howe, the great number-9 for the Red Wings and all of hockey, picked up the nickname “blinky” along the way, and he actually didn’t mind it. Those who spent anytime around him knew that he would blink in a pronounced fashion on a semi-regular basis. Not that we’d go out of our way to say it to his face, but he actually had no problem telling the story.
During a playoff game in late-March 1950, Howe fell awkwardly into the boards head first while trying to check Maple Leafs center Ted Kennedy. Howe was knocked unconscious, carted off to Harper Hospital in Detroit, where he underwent a 90-minute emergency medical procedure that included drilling a small hole in his head to relieve pressure.
At least one doctor said he’d never play hockey again. The next season Howe led the NHL in scoring.
The blink is believed to have been one of the side effects of the incident and the operation.
— Trivia Answer: Only three players of the 19 who skated in more than 40 games for the Kraken finished as minus players: Jaden Schwartz (-17), Alexander Wennberg (-7), and Oliver Bjorkstrand (-1).