The 2022-23 season is less than two months away, and the Seattle Kraken looks poised to right the ship after a rough inaugural season. After an offseason that included some big acquisitions through trades, the draft and free agency, the NHL’s 32nd-ranked franchise is slowly building one of the strongest cores in the Pacific Division. While every game this season will be mandatory, here are five games fans should have marked on their calendars.
Oct. 15, 2022 vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Not only is this the Kraken’s first home game, but it’s also against a division rival that Seattle went 0-4 against last season. Despite losing key pieces like Robin Lehner, who is out for a year due to injury, and Max Pacioretty, who is now a member of the Carolina Hurricanes, the Vegas Golden Knights still have a strong team that will look to make the playoffs after to get lost last season. This will also be the first opportunity for Kraken fans to see fourth overall pick Shane Wright if he walks out of the team’s training camp. Seattle lost its home opener last year, so winning that opener at Climate Pledge Arena would be an ideal start for the team.
Looking ahead to the playoffs, the Kraken needs to find a way to beat their divisional opponents. Last year, Seattle went 6-20 against its division last season. If they want to have a chance of making the playoffs, beating Las Vegas early in the season is a must.
Oct. 27, 2022 vs. Vancouver Canucks
The Kraken and Vancouver Canucks present the potential to become the next great NHL rivalry. They already have a strong rivalry in Major League Soccer (MLS), along with one in the Western Hockey League (WHL). The only thing missing for this rivalry to start taking shape is for Seattle to beat Vancouver in a regular season game.
Related: Kraken Season 2022-23 To-Do List: Beating the Canucks
Last season, the Canucks swept the Kraken, including beating Seattle in the franchise’s home opener. Seattle fans are a passionate, competitive bunch who have grown accustomed to their teams beating close rivals throughout their sporting history. The Kraken need to find a way to beat the Canucks at least once this season, so why not at home during their first game against each other?
December 6, 2022 vs Montreal Canadiens
While the Montreal Canadiens always draw a crowd, this year will be different as we’ll call it the Wright revenge game. Despite being the number one ranked prospect all year, the Canadians moved on to the young center to take on Juraj Slafkovský. If they’re both in the lineup, this could be a high-stakes game where both prospects look to outdo the other to prove who’s truly better.
From the Kraken side, it’s hard to argue against the fact that Wright wasn’t happy that Montreal passed him over. Few, if any, prospects look up at a team’s table as they pass by, which should indicate he’s ready to prove them wrong. He still needs to make the team, but if he does, this could turn out to be his best game of the season.
January 21, 2023 vs. Colorado Avalanche
There’s always some extra excitement in the air when the reigning Stanley Cup champions come to town, and next season will be no different. The Colorado Avalanche, led by Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon, will visit Seattle once next season, with the contest taking place in mid-January. This will be the second matchup between these two teams as they will meet in Colorado on October 21, 2022.
Related: Meet the new Kraken: Winger André Burakovsky
This game has a special meaning as several players on Kraken have played for Avalanche over the years. André Burakovsky, who won a cup with Colorado last season, signed with Seattle last offseason, joining both Philipp Grubauer and Joonas Donskoi. Grubauer and Donskoi also spent time with the organization before heading to the Kraken. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best, which Kraken was able to do once in three matches last season.
February 26, 2023 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
During the inaugural season of the Kraken, Mark Giordano was named the first captain in franchise history. He would spend less than one season in Seattle before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for additional draft picks. Just under 11 months later, he will make his triumphant return to the Climate Pledge Arena with the Maple Leafs.
During Giordano’s time in Seattle, he was a leader on the ice. He had 23 points in 55 games and was one of the best, if not the best, player on the ice night after night. Kraken fans will be able to honor their first captain and give her a proper send-off at the end of February.
Kraken on pace for an exciting year
Even if the Kraken don’t make the playoffs, they’ve put together a fun team that will be a must-watch all season long. They have some highly rated players like Burakovsky, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Jared McCann, Matty Beniers, Wright and Jordan Eberle, while possessing a potentially strong defensive and goalkeeping group. The season kicks off on October 12, 2022 against the Anaheim Ducks, and fans should be excited for what Seattle has in store for Year Two.
Adam is excited to join The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at area51sportsnet.com, where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.