42 Saves For Kraken
Joey Daccord is doing it again – exceeding expectations.
His team-record 42-save effort in the Seattle Kraken’s 3-2 overtime loss Thursday to the Carolina Hurricanes is the latest example. The closer you examine Daccord’s performance, the more impressive it becomes.
Since his first NHL game with the Ottawa Senators in 2018-19, Daccord had bounced up and down between the ‘big show’ and the minors, mostly down. Prior to this season, he played only 19 total NHL games with Ottawa and Seattle combined.
But goalies take time to find their form. In his age-25 and age-26 seasons, Daccord shined for Seattle’s American Hockey League affiliates: 2.28 GAA, .925 save% with the Charlotte Checkers (2021-22), then 2.38/.918 with the Coachella Valley Firebirds (2022-23).
His real coming-out party was in last year’s AHL playoffs. Daccord brought the Firebirds within one victory of a Calder Cup championship, recording 15 victories, three shutouts, and numbers (2.22/.926) against the AHL’s best that forced the attention of the Kraken front office.
Daccord Wins Job And Aims To Keep It
The Boston native’s preseason performance earned him the back-up goalie job in Seattle, something that would have been considered the longest of long-shots a year earlier.
It’s not a knock on #1 netminder Philipp Grubauer to point out that Daccord has been the goalie for all six standings points the Kraken have earned this season, and he hasn’t lost in regulation (2-0-2, 2.83/.910).
One reason is that he makes saves goalies aren’t expected to make. Tuesday, he foiled a breakaway by Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin. Thursday against Carolina, he denied breakaways by both Seth Jarvis and Sebastian Aho.
Now 27, Daccord showed his maturity against a Hurricanes team that never misses an opportunity to throw the puck at the net. Time after time, he would freeze the puck, halting the offensive chaos Carolina is known for, and giving teammates a chance to reset.
“Their game plan was a lot of shots, just pucks and bodies,” Daccord said after the game. “I think we were ready for that. The guys did an incredible job boxing out, letting me see pucks.”
Goalie Stick Useful For More Than Saves
Another of Daccord’s superior attributes, his stick-handling, was shown to good effect during one 2nd period sequence.
7:43: Carolina enters the Kraken zone.
7:50: Daccord, behind his net, slows the puck as it winds around the boards.
8:05: Jordan Staal, from the far corner, throws the puck into the crease; Daccord uses his paddle to deflect the puck out of danger.
8:11: Jesper Fast slides the puck back behind the Seattle cage; Daccord retrieves again, sending the puck with authority back to the corner.
8:18: Matty Beniers clears the zone.
During the 35-second span, Carolina didn’t record a shot on goal. Their puck cycling caused pressure for the Kraken defense, but Daccord’s adroit stick-handling three times reduced Carolina’s ability to generate a scoring chance.
“He helped us with his ability to play the puck,” said coach Dave Hakstol. “There’s a fine balance, but for the most part, he’s had a fine balance to his game there. He’s helped us with some of our retrievals when we were under pressure. Especially against a good forechecking team like they are.”
Though ultimately in a losing effort, Daccord saw overall team positives.
“It’s still early in the year, and we can keep building off this. So many guys did such good things.”
None more so than the guy in net, who keeps exceeding expectations.
Notes: It will be interesting to see how coach Hakstol deploys his goalies for the remainder of the road trip. He wasn’t shy last year about sticking with the hot hand. ‘Back-up’ Martin Jones took over for long stretches.
Why not stick with the guy who’s getting it done?
The New York Rangers presently provide the perfect example. Back-up Jonathan Quick has played (and won) two of the Blueshirts’ last three games, and they have an all-world number-1 goaltender named Igor Shesterkin. So, anyone ready to scream “goalie controversy!” should cool their jets.
The Kraken play their next two games in the Sunshine State, 3 pm Pacific Saturday against the Florida Panthers, and 4 pm Pacific Monday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
— After Blown Lead, Kraken Pull Off 5-4 OT Win In Detroit