The Seattle Kraken returned to the ice at the Kraken Community Iceplex today for the second day of the team’s inaugural training camp. As was the case yesterday, the team was split into two groups, white and blue, who each split their practice time between Rink 1 and Rink 2. However, the groups went in the opposite order as yesterday, with the blue group first and the white group second. Here are the rosters for each group:
Below are some of my observations from covering both groups’ practices:
Ramping Up The Intensity
The second day of the Kraken’s training camp had a more lively, competitive, and up-tempo feel than the first. The energy was apparent early on, as the team went straight from warmup into a competitive 2-on-2 drill with the puck. The players watching the drill waiting for their turn were noticeably louder than yesterday, reacting to a bar-down goal from Carsen Twarynski and a would-be tripping call as Haydn Fleury took down Adam Larsson. The energy remained through both practices, as today’s drills involved a lot of puck battles, 1-on-1 competition, and contact. After practice, coach Hakstol talked about wanting to put players in “real competitive settings.”
Gourde Looks Impressive, Exits Early
As the whole team ramped up their activity today, so did Yanni Gourde. Still wearing a red no-contact sweater, Gourde participated in the early 2-on-2 and 5-on-5 drills before heading off of Rink 1 early to work with coaches by himself on Rink 2. Gourde appeared to be at full speed today, looking like the Kraken’s best player in his limited time on the ice. He appeared to be testing out his recovering shoulder too, launching a pair of hard slapshots from the blueline, flashing a smile after each one. That’s a very good sign. Here he is taking a wrist shot and collecting rebounds in front of the net:
Geekie Using His Shot
One player who stood out to me today was Morgan Geekie. The 2-on-2 and 5-on-5 drills suited him well, as he was consistently able to put himself in position to receive passes in front of the net. Once he had the puck on his stick, his sneaky good shot often found its way past the goalie. Geekie seems to have an ability to find the soft areas of ice in front of the net and make his way to dangerous spots undetected, which is especially impressive given his 6’3 stature. In this video, Geekie finds some open room in the slot and sends a laser to the back of the net:
Oleksiak a Force on the Blueline
I debated whether or not to add this point because we already know what a strong presence Jamie Oleksiak is on the blueline. But watching him in person really gives you an appreciation for just how difficult he can make life for opposing forwards. Watch this clip of a 1-on-1 drill that puts the 6’7 Oleksiak against the 6’0 Ryan Donato. Oleksiak’s masterful use of his size and reach means Donato doesn’t stand a chance here.
Swedish House Mafia
The all-Swedish forward line of Calle Jarnkrok, Alex Wennberg, and Marcus Johansson stayed together today and showed arguably the most chemistry of any of the forward lines. Their passing, vision, and speed made it look like they had played together before. Dubbed the “Swedish House Mafia” line by The Athletic’s Ryan Clark (coach Hakstol got a chuckle out of the name in the post-practice media availability), the Jarnkrok-Wennberg-Johansson line is showing positive signs early. When asked why he put the trio together, Hakstol said, “The pieces fit in terms of the skill packages. They spend a lot of time together. Part of it is chemistry off the ice, chemistry that carries on the ice.” If they keep playing like this, the Kraken may have their very first great line name.
Keeping It Light
After an important and serious first day of training camp yesterday, the players had the opportunity to loosen up a bit today and they took full advantage. There were a ton of smiles on display today as the players really seemed to be having fun on the ice. My favorite “lighter side” story from today came near the end of the second practice when Jeremy Lauzon’s stick snapped in half after a shot. Jared McCann skated over, picked up the lower half of the stick and tapped it on the ice asking for someone to give him a pass. Hunched over, he took a one-time shot with the broken half of the stick before giving it back to Lauzon. Thankfully, I was quick enough with my camera to get it on video:
- Connor Carrick continued his strong showing at training camp today. He may have put in the best effort of anyone in camp through the first two days.
- Ryker Evans has looked the best of this year’s draft picks. He had an impressive showing in a 1-on-1 rush body position drill. He’s not the biggest defender but he uses his quick skating to get to the right spots and break up the play.
- Kole Lind was back on the ice after missing yesterday’s practice. Colin Blackwell is still day-to-day with a lower-body injury.