I mean, right now, every team in the league is better than the winless Vancouver Canucks.
Painfully sad humour aside, it’s worth asking prior to the matchup between the Canucks and Kraken on Thursday night...is Seattle already better than Vancouver?
VANCOUVER CANUCKS (0-5-2) vs SEATTLE KRAKEN (3-3-2)
CLIMATE PLEDGE ARENA, SEATTLE, WA. 7:00 PM PST
TV: SN PACIFIC. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650
OPPOSING BLOG: DAVY JONES LOCKER ROOM
I think the answer is...probably not.
It’s certainly closer than we’d like to admit though.
Let’s go back to the beginning of last season to see how the Kraken and Canucks compare in a few key areas.
At even-strength, the Kraken and Canucks are neck and neck in terms of expected goals-for %. Seattle ranks 18th at 49.2%, and the Canucks are 19th at 48.6%.
Of course, the Canucks scored more goals than the Kraken last season because they have more efficient shooters on offence.
They also allowed fewer goals than the Kraken because, well, Demko is borderline elite while Seattle has the second-worst even-strength save percentage since the beginning of last season.
Based on this, it might be fair to say that while Seattle is less talented than the Canucks, they may work harder and play with better structure.
In terms of the future, the Kraken and Canucks were once again neck and neck during The Athletic’s “Pipeline Rankings” of players 23 and under.
Seattle, on the other hand, has potentially drafted their number one and two centres of the future in Matty Beniers and Shane Wright.
Beniers already looks like a star. He was flying around the ice in both preseason games against the Canucks, and he’s carried over that success to the regular season with three goals and six points in eight games. He now has 15 points in 18 career games.
It’s been a different story for the 18-year-old Wright, who probably isn’t ready for the NHL. He’s been healthy scratched three times, and has one assist in five games while averaging 6:51 per game.
But, in terms of who’s in a better spot heading into the future, I’m probably taking the Canucks because of Pettersson, Hughes and Demko.
But, the gap is certainly way closer than it should be considering Seattle’s botched expansion draft and the fact that they’re only 90 NHL games into their franchise’s history.
Which franchise would you rather have?
This poll is closed
(based on Wednesday’s practice)
JT Miller — Bo Horvat — Conor Garland
Ilya Mikheyev — Elias Pettersson — Andrei Kuzmenko
Tanner Pearson — Sheldon Dries — Nils Hoglander
Dakota Joshua — Nils Aman — Vasily Podkolzin
Oliver Ekman-Larsson — Tyler Myres
Jack Rathbone — Kyle Burroughs
Guillaume Brisebois — Luke Schenn
Starting Goalie: Thatcher Demko (expected)
Backup: Spencer Martin
Scratched: Will Lockwood, Noah Juulsen
Injured: Quinn Hughes (lower body), Tucker Poolman (undisclosed), Travis Dermott (concussion), Riley Stillman (undisclosed), Brock Boeser (undisclosed), Curtis Lazar (undisclosed)
Sheldon Dries and Will Lockwood have been recalled after it was announced that both Boeser (day-to-day) and Lazar (3-4 weeks) will spend time on injured reserve.
(based on lines from their last game)
Jaden Schwartz — Matty Beniers — Jordan Eberle
Andre Burakovsky — Alex Wennberg — Oliver Bjorkstrand
Jared McCann — Yanni Gourde — Karson Kuhlman
Brandon Tanev — Morgan Geekie — Daniel Sprong
Vince Dunn — Adam Larsson
Jamie Oleksiak — Justin Schultz
Carson Soucy — Will Borgen
Starting Goalie: Martin Jones (expected)
Backup: Joey Daccord
Scratches: Ryan Donato, Shane Wright, Cale Fleury
Injured: Phillip Grubauer (lower-body), Chris Driediger (ACL), Joonas Donskoi (upper body)
Seattle's fourth-line was the difference during their last game — a 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Daniel Sprong led the way with three points (1 goal, two assists), and the line combined for six points on the night.
HOW THEY STACK UP
- Seattle: 3.25 (16th)
- Vancouver: 2.57 (27th)
- Seattle: 3.5 (26th)
- Vancouver: 4.29 (29th)
- Seattle: 29% (7th)
- Vancouver: 16% (22nd)
- Seattle: 69% (nice, 29th)
- Vancouver: 57.1 (not nice, 32nd)
If there’s one silver lining in this game, it’s that Martin Jones is one of the only starting goaltenders to have a worse save percentage (.870) than Thatcher Demko (.872).
Or Spencer Martin for that matter (.879) in case he gets the start tonight on the first of back to backs.
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
As the Canucks search for the first win of the season (and Bruce Boudreau’s 600th win), I’ll be jamming to this gem from Vancouver band We Hunt Buffalo.