Everyone remembers the Vegas Golden Knights as an expansion team that flipped the concept of expansion teams on its head.

Going to the Stanley Cup Final in 2018 instantly created pressure for a Seattle Kraken club that didn’t exist yet. Now that they do, comparison is inevitable, but it shouldn’t be for just the Cup run.

Through six games, the Kraken’s 13 goals ranked 25th out of the 32 teams. The offensive finish hasn’t followed even while Seattle has generated chances; that burned them on Saturday night against the Canucks. On Tuesday, the offense came out with more jump and aggression, and overall the Kraken seems to be building on experience from each game.

It’s not dissimilar to the way the Vegas Golden Knights had to evolve in their first season.

The Golden Knights started the season 5-1. Their only loss was a 6-3 defeat to the Red Wings. But it didn’t stay that way; Vegas went on to lose five of its next six games.

Unlike the Kraken, Vegas didn’t have a five-game trip to start the season. The Knights played two on the road before a massive seven-game homestand. In the first six games, Vegas scored 20 goals, and five of them came in one game, a 5-1 win over the Coyotes, who had one of the worst records in the league that season.

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That season, William Karlsson went from a guy who never scored more than nine goals in a season to a 43-goal scorer overnight. Jonathan Marchessault reached a career-high 75 points. David Perron’s 50 assists were never matched before or after in his career. Reilly Smith went from 37 points to consistently 50-plus. Erik Haula’s 27 goals never happened again.

Most predictions leading into that season didn’t project any sort of offense for the Golden Knights, and had them finishing in last or near last in the Pacific. Because of their surprise run, the Kraken has been projected as a playoff team.

The Kraken might not have a Karlsson breakout, or a Marchessault steal or a fluke Perron or Haula type season all combined, but Seattle might get one of those things. Jared McCann has already been trending toward a breakout, Joonas Donskoi has been posturing for a larger role outside Colorado, and Brandon Tanev’s offensive game looks stronger than any point in his career.

“It feels like we’re trying a bunch of new lines,” said Kraken forward Alexander Wennberg. “Just to find that chemistry and obviously, it’s early in the season right now. So we have a little bit of time.”

After six games, James Neal led the Knights with five goals. Marchessault had only scored one; Karlsson didn’t score a single goal until the seventh game, and didn’t get a point until their fifth.

The Golden Knights ended up ranking fourth in the league in goals that season; they were 12th six games in. Nobody projected Karlsson to become a bona fide scorer, their finishing skills were questioned, the flukiness of it all was questioned.

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No one is saying the Kraken will be a top-five scoring team this season, but maybe there’s time for it to figure out finishing touches on offense. After all, Yanni Gourde has played just three games and Calle Jarnkrok two.

For all the comparisons between the Kraken and Golden Knights, one that should stick the most is, we don’t know where this team will be in April or May or June; the Knights sure didn’t, and neither did the players who turned into scorers.

A banner night

The Seattle Metropolitans of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association were the first American hockey team to ever win the Stanley Cup, doing so in 1917 when they defeated the Montreal Canadiens.

On Tuesday night, with the Canadiens in town, the Kraken honored that history.

Before puck drop, the team raised a Stanley Cup banner ahead of its contest with the team it defeated more than 100 years ago to cement Seattle’s place in hockey history.

It’s a different franchise entirely; the Metropolitans folded in 1924. The Kraken is the first team back in Seattle eligible to compete for a Cup.

It’s not like the Kraken is claiming its own Cup victory; the banner is Metropolitans colors. It is cool to see the Kraken embrace hockey history in Seattle, and give fans and a new hockey audience a point of entry to be invested in the history of the sport in the city.

Notes

  • Morgan Geekie played as a winger alongside Riley Sheahan and Ryan Donato on Tuesday. He was originally the odd man out in line rushes at practice on Monday, but he dressed instead of Nathan Bastian, who was scratched for the first time.
  • Carson Soucy was the defender out of the lineup after Haydn Fleury was the scratch on Saturday night. Head coach Dave Hakstol has been working the bottom pairing in a bit of a rotation between Soucy and Fleury. Will Borgen is the only defender who has yet to play a regular-season game.