Joonas Donskoi moved in front of the puck as it skirted toward the blue line. He kicked it to his stick and fired a quick shot to beat Chris Driedger for his second goal Saturday.

It was one of the headiest plays of the day in the Kraken’s first scrimmage, one where Donskoi’s White team defeated the Blue team 5-1. While results didn’t matter much, it was a first chance for coaches to see players in a game situation.

Donskoi was a standout on the scoresheet and also his game awareness, and he has a blossoming chemistry with Morgan Geekie and Ryan Donato.

“It was a lot of fun,” Donskoi said. “We’ve been working hard here for like a week or so, a couple of skates and practices; today we got to do some fun things. … We’re moving fast and have games coming up, there’s a lot of meetings trying to get to know the guys, a lot of stuff. But today was a lot of fun.”


No one is going to make the team or lose a spot in one scrimmage, but some players certainly looked ahead of others after two days of training camp.


Donskoi was one of those players; another was his linemate, Geekie.

“Geekie and his linemates, they’ve had a couple of good practices together and things went well for him today in the scrimmage,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said.

Donskoi scored two of the goals for the White team, the others coming from Cale Fleury, Kole Lind and an empty-netter from Jaden Schwartz.

Jared McCann, Schwartz’s center throughout camp, made the pass to find him, a solid sign as their chemistry develops.

Lind found himself all alone in front of Blue team goalie Driedger off a turnover from defenseman Dennis Cholowski right to his stick.

Marcus Johansson had the lone tally for the Blue squad, deflecting a puck past Joey Daccord. Philipp Grubauer played the first half of the scrimmage and held the Blue team scoreless. Driedger allowed some rebounds, including the one leading to Fleury’s tally.


In a shootout between frames, Donato earned the highlight of the day with a few dekes to beat Driedger in tight. The two lingered at center ice after the scrimmage came to a close; no doubt, Donato’s slick moves the topic of conversation. Donskoi also scored in his attempt. Grubauer held all of his opponents scoreless in the shootout, as he did in his half of work.

Ryker Evans, the Kraken’s second-round pick in the entry draft, helped set up Fleury’s goal, and almost beat Driedger on a wraparound attempt earlier. He was one of the pleasant surprises of the morning.

“I thought he showed great poise and good vision with the puck,” Hakstol said. “He really looked like he belonged; there were a lot of little things like that.”

Brandon Tanev, skating with Riley Sheahan and Nathan Bastian, had one of the more intense sessions. He lined up a sizeable hit early in the scrimmage, which set some of the tone.

That intensity is good for players looking to crack the roster or earn an elevated role. For those in more established roles as well, it expedites the time needed to develop chemistry quickly.

Vince Dunn and Adam Larsson have consistently been paired together, as have Mark Giordano and Jamie Oleksiak. Giordano had some hustle plays from end-to-end, and Oleksiak moved the puck well in all three zones.


A lot has been made about the sheer amount of defensemen on the Kraken roster, and they have a few bottom pairing choices to make, but the sooner the top four get acclimated, the rest of the roster should follow.

It’s the offensive lines still getting into game shape and with some chemistry that will be the story for the rest of camp.

Saturday, though, was a good start.

“We look at leadership through practices and execution through practices, we tweak the groups,” Hakstol said. “I think about one or two players yesterday (were tweaked), didn’t want to make too many changes going into the scrimmage. We have good veterans on each group, we seemed to have good chemistry coming together through the first two practices.”

Everything has been done with a purpose; the shootout on Saturday, while great entertainment for the near-full building at Northgate, was the first time the Kraken had worked on that element.

That’s what a first year NHL-team, short camp is going to look like, and what Hakstol has stressed since the start of it: having a direction, and keep progressing toward the season in a calculated manner.