Seattle Kraken, Grubauer and Dunn

Kraken NHL Tuesday: Skating Group Grows, Free Agents

Kraken Informals

The Kraken posted some pic’s from Tuesday’s informal skate at the Kraken Community Iceplex.

Kraken Yanni Gourde, Vince Dunn (top) and Matty Beniers.

Yanni Gourde, Vince Dunn and Matty Beniers were seen in one photo montage while Kraken newcomers Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Brian Dumoulin were featured in another.

New Heights

Of the aforementioned players, a lot will be expected of and much of the team’s success this season might depend on Dunn and Beniers continuing their trends.

No pressure.

Dunn at age-26 is coming off a career year on the blueline when he finished second on the Kraken in scoring with 64 points, while 20-year-old Beniers will look to add more scoring to his blossoming all around on-ice resumé.

The first year NHL center had a 24 goals, 57 point season en route to winning the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie-of-the year.

Both players have birthdays within the first four weeks of the season, but aging in their case obviously isn’t a factor.

One other player who will always find himself in that prove-yourself-all-over-again and be-even-better scenario is goaltender Philipp Grubauer. “Grooby” struggled with consistency and an injury the first half of last season before finishing the regular campaign on somewhat of a roll. In the playoffs he didn’t steal any games, but he did make almost all of the saves he was supposed to, plus some timely ones.

Given the fact that he plays the most important position on the ice, is the second highest paid player on the team at the moment, and still has four years remaining on his deal at $5.9-million per, Grubauer can’t be allowed any down time. Playing fifty to fifty-five games this season while staying healthy is one thing, putting up above average performances each and every night is another. He turns 32 in late November.

The Kraken franchise and its fans have some happy momentum building. In particular, it’s imperative that all of these guys keep their runs going.

Gourde, Dunn, Grubauer and Jared McCann.
Sadly Tiring Of These …

It sure does seem we’ve been reporting a lot of NHL obituaries this summer. Or maybe the powers that be are just including a greater range of players and executives in their announcements, but I don’t think so. I think it’s just been a lousy 2023 in this regard. Whether it’s prospects, middle-aged guys, or “old-timers”, we sure seemed to have lost a lot of folks in the hockey world.

Brad Maxwell, the 7th-overall pick in the 1977 NHL Draft, played ten seasons along the blueline in the big show, a great majority of that time with the MInnesota North Stars, the team that selected him out of the old WCHL junior league. “Maxy” died two days ago of cancer that began in his lungs.

The righthander, who helped get the North Stars to the 1981 Stanley Cup Final, also played briefly with the Quebec Nordiques, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, and New York Rangers.

Free Agent Tracker

What’s more fascinating; wondering what’s going to happen to aging, former Chicago Blackhawks superstars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, both unrestricted free agents (UFA), or with young Anaheim Ducks stars Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale, both unsigned restricted free agents (RFA)?

First of all, I can’t see Toews or Kane going the Professional Try-out (PTO) route. It seems a bit beneath them at this point, even with Toews having some health problems and a bit of unpredictability to his capabilities. How desperate are they to play would be the bigger question. All things considered, one would think “Kaner” would be more anxious.

The big question then becomes, how small are they willing to go with their price tags.

Kane had six points over seven playoff games for a disappointed New York Rangers team that lost to the New Jersey Devils in the first round, while Toews played his last ever regular season game for a Blackhawks club that didn’t come anywhere near the playoffs.

Meanwhile, what’s Ducks GM Pat Verbeek up to? Of course, it could be ownership tangling this up. How much are they willing to spend on their star center Zegras and burgeoning defenseman righty Drysdale and will they get things in order before training camp.

Brisson’s two clients Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes missed Canucks training camp two years ago as RFA’s without deals.


— Simmer’s Sunday 9: Kraken Deals, SEA Primetime Pucks

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.