Seattle has not even played an NHL game yet but I am already at the point that I do not want to hear the phrase “Get Kraken” again.

With the expansion draft complete, the debate begins about how good Seattle will be in its first season.

The Kraken, in all likelihood, will not be as strong as the Vegas Golden Knights were in their inaugural season in 2017-18 (Vegas made it all the way to the Cup final before losing in five games to the Washington Capitals).

Seattle though should be competitive and could very well challenge for a playoff spot.

I wonder how Canucks fans feel that it did not take long for oddsmakers to believe the Kraken have a better chance of winning the 2022 Stanley Cup than Vancouver?

In fact, Seattle is given a better chance than 12 teams to win Lord Stanley’s Mug.

The others in this order are Nashville, Chicago, San Jose, LA, Anaheim, New Jersey, Columbus, Ottawa, Arizona, Buffalo, and Detroit.

The Kraken also have the same odds as St. Louis, Calgary, and Winnipeg.

Seattle wisely avoided the temptation to select big-name stars like Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens, former Habs defenseman P.K. Subban of the New Jersey Devils, or sniper Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues.

Instead, they opted for a younger and much more budget-friendly roster.

Because of Price’s massive contract and reported injury concerns, the Habs were pretty confident their ace goalie was going to remain in the only city he has played for since coming into the NHL 14 years ago.

“I think anytime you see a name like Carey Price available, you have to consider it,” said Kraken GM Ron Francis. “Certainly, we did that. We had a lot of discussions. At the end of the day, we made the decision that we did and went in a different direction.”

Looking long-term, Seattle made the wise choice to go with Chris Driedger as its starting goalie.

At 27, he is seven years younger than Price and comes at about a third of the cost on an annual basis after he signed a 3-year deal worth $3.5 million per year.

Last season with the Florida Panthers Driedger had a splendid .927 save percentage, which ranked fifth among qualifying goalies, to go along with a stellar 2.07 goals-against-average in 23 games.

Former Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano will anchor the defense. He may be 37, but he just won the Norris Trophy in 2019.

Whether he stays in Seattle beyond a year is the gamble the Kraken are taking as he can become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

Seattle also has other experienced blueliners like Adam Larsson and Jamie Oleksiak.

Will former PG Cougars defenseman Denis Cholowski ever live up to his potential now that he is joining Seattle?

Cholowski was a junior star with the Prince George Cougars, Portland Winterhawks, and before that with the Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL).

However, he has struggled in the Red Wings organization particularly defensively after splitting time with Detroit and its AHL farm the Grand Rapids Griffins over the last three seasons.

Sure, there is not a lot of scoring punch up front although Jordan Eberle (31) has put up 551 points (241 goals) in 779 NHL regular-season games.

On paper, Seattle’s strength is on the back end and they will win need to win those 2-1 games.

But are the Kraken really better than the Thatcher Demko, Quinn Hughes, Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, and the rest of the Canucks?

We will start to find out when Seattle opens its home — the Climate Pledge Arena — on Oct. 23 against Vancouver.


Taking Note:


FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

An Australian equestrian athlete has been provisionally suspended for the Olympics after he tested positive for cocaine. Did officials get suspicious when he was clearing jumps without his horse?

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

Shailene Woodley says that the only reason she and Aaron Rodgers announced their engagement was so that a tabloid wouldn’t beat them to it. Yes, you have to admit that the New York Times does move pretty fast.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

According to a Toronto Globe and Mail report,  if you’re out with the kids and notice everyone’s hair is standing on end, you’re about to be hit by lightning. Or you’re at a Maple Leafs game.

*Western Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He also is the radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars’ home games.
Hartley has been on the Prince George airwaves since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to [email protected]