Seattle Kraken, Shane Wright

Simmer’s Sunday 9: Kraken Decisions, Scandalous Lying PR, Sledge!

Simmer’s NHL-Kraken 9

With the Kraken fading from the Stanley Cup playoff picture, it’s time to turn the page to plans for the 2024-’25 season and beyond. We also have a disgusting ‘scandal’, some sledge hockey, and the NHL’s biggest disappointment.

1) Is it time to bring up Shane Wright and see where the 2022 4th-overall NHL Draft pick stands with NHL competition over the final dozen-and-a-half games? Why not, although he hasn’t exactly been tearing up the American Hockey League statistically. The 20-year-old with great expectations — yes, he’s still very young and not all develop at the same pace — could always use a little confidence boost.

2) What about some of the prolific junior hockey prospects. Jagger Firkus, a 2nd-rounder for the Kraken that same summer, is tied for the lead in Western Hockey League scoring with 116 points. His Moose Jaw Warriors have eight regular season games remaining and then the WHL playoffs, with the Warriors being one of the league’s top six teams.
Their goal will be to win the league title and then head to the Memorial Cup, the all-major-junior championship between the winners of the WHL, Ontario Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior League, and whoever the host team is regardless of where that team finishes in their league playoffs. This year that would be the Saginaw (Michigan) Spirit of the OHL.
3) Speaking of the Ontario League, another Kraken 2nd-rounder from 2022, David Goyette of the Sudbury Wolves, just one point behind leading the league in scoring with 103 points, is another one to keep an eye on.
Like Firkus, he’s 19-years-old and there’s no reason to return either one of these guys to junior hockey next season as one of the two over-agers each team is allowed. These dudes will be playing professional hockey somewhere in the organization.
4) I’m not sure which article I mentioned it in during the last month of coverage, but it was probably that long ago: When everything shakes out, with rare exception, the teams that make the playoffs in the NHL have a positive goal differential and all of the teams that don’t have a negative goal differential. It’s happening again.
That’s exactly how it stands across the board with the present exception of the Philadelphia Flyers, currently in 3rd place in the Metropolitan Division despite being a minus-6 in goals for the season. There’s a darn good chance that will change to a plus by the end of the season if John Tortorella’s boys actually hold on to make the playoffs.
5) Again, if you ever get a chance to watch it, check out Para-hockey (Sled, Sledge). Team USA is the dominate squad on both the men’s and women’s sides. Both swept Canada in the three-game 2024 Sled Series that wrapped up on Saturday. The American men are 13-and-0 this season and have dominated recent World Championships and Para-Olympics.
6) Trivia Slot: In their short history, the Kraken have defeated six different NHL teams at least five times. Can you name three of those team?  Answer at the bottom of this page. (Hint: taking a glance at the current standings might give you a pretty good idea)
7) Based on what was expected before the season and the apparent strength and balance in the roster, the biggest disappointment of this NHL season: The New Jersey Devils
8) No WHL playoffs for the Seattle Thunderbirds this season, which isn’t unusual the year following a trip to the Memorial Cup Final. Teams usually peak in that situation, full of talented 19-year-olds who move on, before embarking on a rebuild.
The Everett Silvertips will be headed to the postseason, a contender with 91 points and sitting in 3rd place in the western conference. Right shot defenseman Kaden Hammell was a 5th-round draft pick of the Kraken last summer.
The Spokane Chiefs slipped into the 8th and final spot in the west, while the new Wenatchee Wild also made it in, presently in 4th place.
Finally, the Tri-City Americans and highly touted D-man Lukas Dragicevic, a Kraken 2023 2nd-round NHL Draft pick, will be sitting out the postseason.
9) The number-9 this week takes on a whole different significance.
That’s how many things I allegedly did (spoiler alert: it’s complete horseshit) to be banned from the Canucks press box since October 1st, 2022. Read all about the madness that has devastated the Canadian half of my business. Nothing in 30 years of covering the NHL has come remotely close to being this bizarre, and sad, and despicable.
((The Trivia Answer: The six NHL teams the Kraken have defeated at least five times: The Nashville Predators, Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres, Los Angeles Kings, and San Jose Sharks))

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.