Despite a 3-7-1 start to the season, there isn’t a lot of panic with the Kraken. There isn’t a lot of urgency, either.

The Kraken have said time and time again that they believe the goals will come, and coach Dave Hakstol said after the loss in Edmonton that they must keep creating chances. He echoed a similar mindset Thursday morning ahead of their home game against the Buffalo Sabres.

“We don’t really want to change our game,” he said. “So we just brushed up on a couple of details in the system. There has been good work, we had a good pace (at practice Wednesday), and we’re just looking for execution.”

Execution has been arguably the biggest issue for the Kraken. Despite continuing to do the right things and get into scoring areas — the Kraken’s 51.69 expected goals for percentage ranks 13th in the NHL and ninth with a 53.25 scoring chance percentage while playing five-on-five — the goals haven’t come.

That doesn’t seem to be a concern in the locker room, though. Hakstol has continued to harp on not changing their game, even when the results haven’t gone their way.

It’s true that a couple of bounces one way or another could give the Kraken a stronger record; they’ve hit six posts this season, and their shooting percentage is still 10th five-on-five at 8.41, despite having missed the fifth-most shots in the league.


The quantity is there. How quality the shots are, if they’re not going in, doesn’t matter a whole lot. That’s the next domino that needs to fall, and the Kraken get that opportunity on Thursday night against a Sabres team that just traded their former captain after about a year of drama.

“Their ability level is outstanding,” Hakstol said. “They generate an awful lot from the back end, and they’re very confident in making plays up ice. Their transition offense, they create a lot off of that, it’s been a real strong point for them.”

The Sabres were one of the NHL’s worst teams last season and got off to an uncharacteristically fast start, but they are coming off a loss at San Jose on Tuesday. It’s potentially an opportunity for the Kraken to jump, and eventually, that urgency is going to have to come around.

Projected Kraken lines

Based on Wednesday’s practice:


Jaden Schwartz-Alexander Wennberg-Joonas Donskoi
Brandon Tanev-Yanni Gourde-Calle Jarnkrok
Ryan Donato-Morgan Geekie-Jordan Eberle
Max McCormick-Riley Sheahan-Nathan Bastian


Jamie Oleksiak-Mark Giordano
Haydn Fleury-Vince Dunn
Adam Larsson-Jeremy Lauzon


  • Fleury re-enters the lineup after Carson Soucy played in Edmonton. Hakstol cited Fleury and Dunn as a pairing that has worked well before.
  • The forward group stays the same as it did in Edmonton and against the Rangers on Sunday.
  • Philipp Grubauer will start in net.

Broadcast Info

Time/place: 7 p.m. PT, Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle
TV: ROOT Sports
Radio: KJR-AM (950)

About the Sabres

This season: 5-3-1 (last game: 5-3 loss to San Jose)

Player to watch: Jeff Skinner

Notes: The Sabres’ 32 goals are 11th in the NHL. … With 81 high-danger chances five on five, the Sabres rank ninth in the league. … Their 6.73 shooting percentage ranks 11th in the NHL. … The Sabres traded former captain Jack Eichel to the Golden Knights Thursday, ending a long saga.

Projected lines