Kraken, Philipp Grubauer

Kraken: Grubauer’s The Man Again; A Bizarre Goalie Calendar

With Kraken “rookie” goalie Joey Daccord showing subtle signs of fatigue, almost inevitably the club is back to Philipp Grubauer, back from what seems to be a routine injury hiatus.

This time, a lower body malady that kept the 32-year-old German out of the line-up from December 9th, the night he was injured against the Tampa Bay Lightning, to February 13th, the night he returned to action.

Right on cue ‘Grubi’ (“Grooby”) showed up and played strongly and picked up the shoot-out win over the New York Islanders, stoning the Metro Division middlings in the skills competition.

When just a few days ago it seemed the number-one spot was still Daccord’s gig and Grubi would ride along until the younger man faltered, now one gets the feeling that it’s Grubauer’s crease again.

By the way, Daccord isn’t really a rookie, but while technically ineligible at age-27, for all intents and purposes he is one when considering his 55 total games of NHL experience. He might be a savvy, well-travelled pro’, but life, wear, tear, and pressure in the big show is a lot different from that in the minors.

His performance has been exemplary for the most part, but moving forward he’s likely once again the mentee.

Kraken History Repeating Itself

2022-’23 was the same only different, different in that the goalie who replaced Grubauer during his downtime was a very experienced NHL netminder. Martin Jones carried the team for long stretches in the fall and after the New Year, including with wins in six of the seven games on the team’s record road trip of perfection last January.

Eventually “Jonesy” wore out and Grubi was there to say, “Alrightee then, I guess this is mine now.”

Last season, he took over fulltime on February 9th on the road against the New Jersey Devils. Prior to that he had played 17 games.

This season, he returned to apparently take over on February 13th against the New York Islanders. Prior to this he had played 17 games.

Is this some sort of self-preservation formula or just a coincidence?

The only time Grubauer has played more than 40 games in a season was the Kraken’s inaugural campaign. That couldn’t have been very enjoyable. The team stunk and in 55 games Grubi posted 18 wins, a 3.16 goals against average and an .889 save percentage.

Prior to that, other than the Covid-shortened 2020-’21 season in Colorado when he was the clear number-one, Grubauer had always shared the crease or been the back-up. Appearances for the five seasons prior to 2021, he played in 36, 37, 35, 23, and 22 games with the Av’s or the Washington Capitals. He won a Stanley Cup in DC in 2018.

If Grubauer dominates and backstops the Kraken to a stretch run surge and a playoff spot, the club will say, “Wasn’t that something?!”

If he doesn’t, the club might be saying, “We’re paying this guy $5.9-million a season?!”

He’s got three of those left.

Previous Kraken:

— Kraken Prevail Over The Islanders 2-1 In A Shoot-out

— Awful At Times, Kraken Lose To Devils 3-1, Lose Dumoulin

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.