Why wouldn’t he be? We’ve talked about the Kraken goaltending competition on a few occasions. This time around we chat with Joey Daccord one-on-one. As it stands right now it’s between him and Chris Dreidger to be Philipp Grubauer’s number-two.
“We have so many awesome goalies, no matter where you go, no matter what level you play, whether you’re ten years old or in the NHL, there’s always going to be competition, there’s always going to be amazing goalies around you,” Daccord stated. “Grooby, Chris, Stez’ (Ales Stezka), they’re all great guys, I’m just super grateful to be here and I’m just going to try and take advantage of every opportunity I get.”
In a bizarre way, Driedger is the incumbent, one season removed. He had two years remaining on his Kraken contract when he blew his ACL in May of 2022 at the World Championships playing in the Gold Medal game for Canada. It meant sitting out last season and rehabbing while Martin Jones was brought in to fill the role. Jonesy is now a Toronto Maple Leaf.
All the while, the recently turned 27-year-old Daccord was plying his trade very successfully for the Firebirds in Coachella Valley.
The North Andover, Massachusetts native is coming off a sterling performance in the Calder Cup Playoffs this past spring, taking an inaugural American Hockey League club all the way to Game-7 of the final.
The home team lost in overtime to the Hershey Bears.
“It was so devastating at the time, but I look back at it a few months later, it was just so special and I’m so grateful to be a part of it,” Daccord said. “We just had so many awesome people from top to bottom, the staff, coaches, all the players, it was just amazing and they made it an awesome place to play. The fans on top of it were absolutely amazing as well.”
“Mayor” Daccord became a local hero, a folk hero of sorts, with fans chanting his name, holding up placards, responding to his every save.
“They were the icing on the cake for us and they helped push us all the way through,” he added, “I’m just disappointed we couldn’t get them one more goal, but it was special no matter what.”
Momentum in this case simply means confidence, bottled up and carried forward off a remarkable season. Daccord finished the regular season with a 26-8-and-3 record, a .918 save percentage and a 2.38 AHL goals against average. He finished 2-1-and-1 in his NHL appearances.
By the time it was all over, he appeared in 69 hockey games during the season and playoffs. That large, elongated workload led to a shortened summer.
“It was pretty standard, it was just condensed,” Daccord said of off-season training. “I took a little time to go on vacation, I hopped over to Spain and Italy which was amazing, just to get away from everything a little bit, get away from hockey. We didn’t have much time other than that, so it was right back into it, back to the gym, took a bit of time off the ice.
“Biggest thing for me this summer was just recovery. I played 26 straight games in the playoffs and almost 70 games on the year and that’s a lot of hockey for a goalie. Just trying to get the body recovered and feeling the best as possible for training camp here.”
Those holidays can become a bit more deluxe on a consistent basis. Daccord signed a two-year contract at the end of June that pays him the same $1.2-million whether he’s playing in the big show or in the minors.
Speaking of financial ramifications, based on salary cap gymnastics, it essentially works out to be a wash cap-hit-wise whether the Kraken keep Driedger or Daccord in the NHL. Straight up, Driedger is more expensive and two-and-a-half years older.
Either goalie could be claimed by another NHL club off waivers when they’re sent down. Part of the back-up decision will revolve around which guy the Kraken would rather not lose.
“It’s gonna shake out however it’s gonna shake out,” Daccord added, “I’m just going to put my best foot forward, try my best to help the team win.”
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