2021-22 Seattle Kraken preview: How to bet NHL's newest team, and what to expect in first season on the ice

The Kraken have a top-five goalie and the potential to make the playoffs in their first year, according to Jeff Hochman.
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Seattle Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol went 134-101-42 in four season as the Flyers' main man. He was fired from head coaching duties after going 12-15-4 to start the 2018 campaign. It's always fascinating to see if 30 players from different teams can win games with very little time.

With that said, I really like this team's roster right now. It starts with their defense, which has size, skill, and speed. The Kraken have a top-five goalie in Philip Grubauer, who was a Vezina Trophy finalist last year with Colorado. Grubauer was 30-9-1 with a 1.95 GAA and .922 save percentage. He notched a league-high (tied with Semyon Varlamov) seven shutouts.

Jordan Eberle was a solid get in the expansion draft. He amassed 33 points in 55 games and should provide veteran leadership in the locker room. Alex Wennberg notched 29 points in 56 games for the Panthers last season.

Jaden Schwartz (21 points in 40 games) rounds out the first line. Schwartz has scored 20-plus goals four times in nine full seasons. He needs to have a big year for a team that lacks scoring punch.

Jared McCann can take another step forward after scoring 14 goals and dishing out 18 helpers in 43 games. He's from a well-coached Penguins team who knows how to score goals. I wish Yanni Gourde was healthy to start the season. He scored 17 goals with 19 assists for the Tampa Bay Lightning. His championship pedigree should help, but Gourde will miss the first two months of the season recovering from shoulder surgery.

The Kraken are top-heavy and have very little depth on offense. Seattle should have a top-10 defense if it can stay relatively healthy.

I want to root for this team, but I'm not sure where all the goals will come from over an 82-game season. The Pacific Division is not the toughest, so that should help. Seattle home games should have plenty of fan support.

My projection has Seattle ending with 95 points and a trip to the postseason. We'll need the Kraken to win a lot of low-scoring games. Very doable!      

Seattle Kraken Prediction: (43-30-9, No. 8 seed in West, 95 points)

Western Conference Season Point Total best bet: Seattle Kraken Over 91.5 (-125)

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Jeff HochmanWest Coast Wiseguy