Seattle’s new GM Ron Francis has backed Phil Grubauer and Flyers coach Dave Hakstol despite the struggles of both goaltenders. Francis is hoping that the team can find their mojo again when it comes to winning hockey games.
Despite the NHL expansion team’s poor inaugural season, Seattle Kraken general manager Ron Francis continues to support his head coach and his troubled starting goalkeeper.
With a 10-19-4 record (24 points), the Kraken sit in last place in the Pacific Division, 12 points short of a playoff berth. In the Western Conference, their.364 point percentage is the second lowest. While many preseason estimates had Seattle fighting for a playoff spot, the Kraken now have a less than 1% chance of reaching the playoffs owing to favorable expansion draft rules and the projected quality of their goaltender.
On Monday, Francis told ESPN, “I think it’s obviously been more hard than we were expecting for when the season began.” “I expected us to be a competitive squad. You’re constantly hoping things will go your way and that you’ll be able to reach the playoffs. Unfortunately for us, things have turned around.”
With an NHL-worst.874 team save percentage, Francis acknowledged his club’s goaltenders had “struggled” this season. Philipp Grubauer, a former Colorado Avalanche goaltender who signed a six-year free-agent deal with the Kraken, has a record of 7-13-4 with an.882 save percentage.
Francis stated he is unconcerned that Grubauer may not be the Kraken’s franchise goaltender.
“Looking back on his career, I believe he suffered a little bit transitioning from Washington to Colorado,” he remarked. “Look, this is a man who was a Vezina [Trophy] finalist last year. I’m not going to give him a free pass. If you spoke to him, I believe he’d admit there are certain areas he has to improve on and some saves he needs to make. But, as we develop around him and expand our roster, I still believe he’s a goalkeeper who can help us in the future.”
Since the beginning of the season, the Kraken have performed better in front of their goaltenders, which Francis attributes to his head coach, Dave Hakstol.
“He’s done a terrific job, in my opinion. You know, with COVID and playing five road games in eight days on the road, you’re going to be challenged right away. You’re attempting to establish a system and learning about other teams. At the start of the season, there’s a lot going on “Francis stated his opinion. “But I believe we’ve improved significantly since the beginning of the year. I’m satisfied with Dave’s performance so far, and I’m certain that he’ll continue to improve as time goes on.”
After the Vegas Golden Knights reached the 2018 Stanley Cup Final in their debut season, the bar was set high for the Kraken. Despite having the identical expansion draft rules as Vegas, Francis claims he was unable to leverage clubs for players and selections the way the Golden Knights were able to.
“We’re not like Vegas at all. It has become abundantly evident. It was the first time those GMs had gone through the regulations in detail. Teams were given a little more than a year to prepare. They had four years before they arrived at our location this time “The Golden Knights also changed the landscape by not having to participate in the expansion draft, he said.
“No one from the outside was able to influence the outcome of the draft in Vegas. We had Vegas on the periphery, able to influence our draft, which they did by making a few deals with other clubs “Francis said.
The general manager of the Kraken said that his long-term plans for the squad are unaffected by their lack of success this season.
“The worst thing we could have done would have been to panic and shift direction, handing up assets for components that could or might not turn things around this year,” Francis added. “Biting the bullet, adhering to the plan, drafting and developing properly, and striving to enhance your team in whatever way you can are the difficult parts.”
He’s also worried about the Kraken’s potential to create a fan base in a congested Seattle sports market if they have a losing first season.
“You’re concerned about it whenever you’re having a bad year. Our supporters, on the other hand, have been incredible in their support. They recognize that we’re a new squad, and that it takes time to create it properly “he said