Game 31: Flyers @ Kraken: Tough Blows
It's been a couple days of bad news for the Kraken, both for their NHL players as well as their prospects. Let's first talk about Brandon Tanev, who it was announced would miss the remainder of the season with an ACL injury that was sustained playing against the Edmonton Oilers on December 18th. Tanev was off to a great start of his season; the best in his career thus far and seemed likely that he would surpass both his previous totals in goals and total points. In 30 games this season with the Kraken, Tanev posted 9-6-15. His previous best came in 18/19 with the Jets where in 80 games he posted 14-15-29. Tanev quickly became a fan favorite being one of the most sold jerseys early on. This is a really unfortunate situation for a player who was clearly having fun in Seattle.
The next bit of bad news comes for top prospect Matt Beniers as the World Juniors tournament has been postponed indefinitely. I actually had the privilege of flying down to Edmonton and was able to watch Beniers play in the game against Finland and was quite impressed with what I saw. Beniers is a force at both ends of the ice and the Finns struggled to force him off the puck whenever he had it. He was also a great asset on the top unit PP for the Americans where he registered one assist in the lone game USA played against Slovakia.
This was the first opportunity for many Seattle fans to get a good look at the player and it's a massive shame that they only got a small glimpse at the player. Beniers will return to Michigan where he will continue his strong pace (20GP 11-11-22).
In the meantime, Seattle will need to focus on NHL hockey once again as they host the Flyers tonight. Like most teams, COVID has hit the Kraken with Larsson, Dunn, Appleton, and Donato all out in protocols. Here are the current lineups for Seattle:
The Flyers will be without Couturier, Brassard, Laughton, and most importantly netminder Carter Hart due to COVID. All teams are dealing with COVID in some way but in this game I would give Seattle the edge in terms of less crucial players missing time. In net the Flyers will surely be starting Martin Jones who has a 0.907SV% and 3.33 GAA.
Neither team has played in several days so expect some rough hockey to start the game. If Seattle can shake off the rust earlier and challenge a netminder who hasn't been great that could be the deciding factor. The issue here is the exact same thing could be said about the Kraken.
While the Gourde line is technically the second line, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Wennberg line end up with more time at 5 on 5, particularly if Hakstol is looking for a goal. If the Kraken do find themselves with a comfortable lead I could see Gourde and his linemates getting more shifts.
Either way I am very happy to be back and discussing hockey once more. I hope everyone had a great holiday and is able to relax and enjoy some hockey tonight.
Thanks for reading