The Seattle Kraken join an interesting mix of teams in the Pacific Division. There is a lot of speculation about which teams can compete for the playoffs, so it’s important to know your enemy.
As the opening day of Seattle Kraken’s inaugural season approaches, many new Pacific Northwest hockey fans are scrambling for valuable information they need to support the area’s newest franchise. The first step to that process, which most fans have completed, is learning about the players who will be taking the ice for the Kraken in the coming season.
After that, it’s important to know your divisional rivals as they are the ones the Kraken will most directly compete with, both on and off the ice. Here’s some important information you need to know about Seattle’s biggest opponents this coming season.
The Anaheim Ducks are one of many teams in the Pacific Division undergoing renovations. However, they are getting close to the end and should be fairly competitive in a few years.
Pass the torch
Many of their key players are either at a point where they have either passed their best or cannot afford to spend much more of their best on a team with little chance of competing. Players like Adam Henrique and Jakob Silfverberg have been essential parts of the team at this point for many years.
Unfortunately, they have dropped out quite a bit since their thirties. If the Ducks try to get out of a rebuild this season, they’ll need those two to get back to their previous level of play. It is possible but unlikely. The biggest name in Anaheim is undoubtedly Ryan Getzlaf. He has been the captain of Ducks for over ten years now, and despite being closer to his forties than thirties, he has been a top performer for them in recent years.
Anaheim’s strongest position in years, at least on paper, is their defense. Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson have been the foundation of the blue line for half a decade. Despite this, two of the three are unrestricted free players this season, so their time with the Ducks won’t be long. Fowler is incarcerated until 2025–26, while Lindholm and Manson could move as early as the trade deadline to complete rebuilding.
John Gibson has been Anaheim’s number one goalkeeper for years. However, the last two seasons, the 28-year-old has seen a major decline in form. He is arguably the most crucial player for the Ducks to succeed in the near future.
Growing from the inside out
Looking ahead, Anaheim is in a great position. Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale are two of the organization’s top prospects and are almost key members of the roster. Both played more than twenty games with the Ducks; however, they drove quite a bit with the shuttle Anaheim (NHL) – San Diego (AHL) during the 2020-21 season. There’s a good chance one or both will remain in the NHL for the 2021-22 season in a bid to emulate last season’s leading scorer Maxime Comtois.