Kraken to rely on Grubauer, Giordano, Larsson during inaugural NHL season

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After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is examining where each team stands in preparation for the 2021-22 regular season, which starts Oct. 12. Today, the Seattle Kraken:

2020-21 season: did not play; will join NHL as expansion team this season.

Key arrivals

Philipp Grubauer, G: The 29-year-old, who signed a six-year contract July 28, was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy voted as the best goalie in the NHL last season, when he was 30-9-1 with a 1.95 goals-against average, .922 save percentage and seven shutouts in 40 games (39 starts) for the Colorado Avalanche. … Mark Giordano, D: The 37-year-old was selected from the Calgary Flames in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft on July 21 after scoring 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in 56 games last season. He won the Norris Trophy voted as the best defenseman in the NHL in 2018-19, won the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2019-20 and was the Flames captain from 2013-21. … Jaden Schwartz, F: The 29-year-old signed a five-year contract July 28 after scoring 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 40 regular-season games and no points in four Stanley Cup Playoff games for the St. Louis Blues last season. He scored 20 points (12 goals, eight assists) in 26 playoff games when the Blues won the Stanley Cup in 2019. … Jordan Eberle, F: The 31-year-old was selected from the New York Islanders in the expansion draft after scoring 33 points (16 goals, 17 assists) in 55 regular-season games and 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 19 playoff games last season. Eberle has scored 551 points (241 goals, 310 assists) in 779 NHL games. …  Yanni Gourde, F: The 29-year-old was selected from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the expansion draft after helping them win the Stanley Cup the past two seasons. He scored 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) in 56 regular-season games and seven points (six goals, one assist) in 23 playoff games last season and is expected to miss at least the first month of this season recovering from shoulder surgery. … Jamie Oleksiak, D: The 28-year-old was selected from the Dallas Stars in the expansion draft and signed a five-year contract July 24. He scored 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 56 games last season. … Adam Larsson, D: The 28-year-old was selected from the Edmonton Oilers in the expansion draft and signed a four-year contract July 24. Larsson scored 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 56 regular-season games and had two assists in four playoff games last season.

Video: Phillipp Grubauer joins the show

Key departures

Tyler Pitlick, F: He was traded to the Calgary Flames on July 22 for a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft after being selected from the Arizona Coyotes in the expansion draft. … Kurtis MacDermid, D: He was traded to the Avalanche on July 27 for a fourth-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft after being selected from the Los Angeles Kings in the expansion draft. … Vitek Vanecek, G: He was traded to the Washington Capitals on July 28 for a second-round pick in the 2023 draft after being selected from the Capitals in the expansion draft. 

On the cusp

Matty Beniers, F: The 18-year-old was selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft after scoring 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists) in 24 games for the University of Michigan last season. He scored three points (one goal, two assists) in seven games for the United States at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship and two points (one goal, one assist) in six games at the World Championship. … Morgan Geekie, F: The 23-year-old was selected in the expansion draft from the Carolina Hurricanes, who chose him in the third round (No. 67) of the 2017 NHL Draft when Kraken general manager Ron Francis was their GM. He has scored 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 38 NHL games. … Carsen Twarynski, F: The 23-year-old was selected in the expansion draft from the Philadelphia Flyers, who chose him in the third round (No. 82) of the 2016 NHL Draft when Kraken coach Dave Hakstol was their coach. Twarynski has scored one goal in 22 NHL games.

What they still need

More firepower up front, particularly at center. The Kraken look like they’ll be able to keep the puck out of the net with solid defense and goaltending, particularly with a difference-maker like Grubauer. But will they be able to score enough to compete for a playoff spot in their inaugural season? Do they have enough at center, especially with Gourde being out?

They said it

“We’re not in this to ease our way into this. Although we’re a new team, a new organization, we want to win, we want to make the playoffs, we want to win the Stanley Cup, and it starts game one.” — goalie Philipp Grubauer

Fantasy focus

Defenseman Vince Dunn is poised for his biggest fantasy season yet after being selected in the expansion draft and agreeing to a two-year contract with the Kraken on Aug. 6. The 24-year-old, who was limited to 43 games for the Blues last season because of an upper-body injury, averaged an NHL career-high 0.47 points per game in mostly a secondary role. Dunn should see more first power-play usage for Seattle and is a fantasy sleeper candidate who’s ranked among the top 40 defensemen for this season. — Pete Jensen

Projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz — Alex Wennberg — Jordan Eberle

Jared McCannCalle JarnkrokJoonas Donskoi

Brandon Tanev — Morgan Geekie — Mason Appleton

Marcus JohanssonNathan BastianColin Blackwell

Mark Giordano — Adam Larsson

Jamie Oleksiak — Vince Dunn

Carson SoucyHaydn Fleury

Philipp Grubauer

Chris Driedger

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