Grubauer “day to day”, Kraken see "good possibility" of recall from AHL

Calgary Flames v Seattle Kraken

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 20: Martin Pospisil #76 of the Calgary Flames scores a goal, which was later disallowed for goaltender interference, against Philipp Grubauer #31 of the Seattle Kraken during the first period at Climate Pledge Arena on November 20, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Philipp Grubauer did not skate with the Seattle Kraken in practice on Tuesday at Kraken Community Iceplex and has been ruled “day-to-day” with an unspecified injury suffered in Monday night’s overtime loss to Calgary.

“We’re just evaluating him, I don’t have a timeline,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. 

When Gruabuer was first banged up is a matter of mystery, though the most visibly concerning play was a collision between him and rugged Calgary forward Martin Pospisil, just 2:02 into the game when Pospisil drove the net and spun Grubuaer awkwardly to the glove side post, while a loose puck trickled into the net for a goal that was negated for goaltender interference. Later in the first period, Grubauer uncharacteristically let an open point shot by Jonathan Huberdeau trickle off his blocker side arm for a power play goal, a 2-1 deficit, and eventually, his exit from the game after 20 minutes. 

The focus now turns to the possibility where Joey Daccord, who took over for the remainder of the game, ascends into the primary starting role, and Hakstol hinted that the Kraken are likely to recall Chris Driedger from AHL Coachella Valley, ahead of Wednesday’s game against the San Jose Sharks at Climate Pledge Arena. 

“Yep, there’s a good possibility of that,” said Hakstol of an impending transaction.  

Daccord came into Monday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Flames by playing relatively well for emergency conditions, starting in the second period and turning in 22 saves. Nothing got past him until Andrew Mangiapane, leveraging inside position, won a loose puck battle with 4:07 left in regulation and pierced Daccord, whose name was being chanted by a sellout crowd of 17,151 at one point, for Calgary’s first goal in over 34 minutes – and the first since Daccord came into the game. 

The Flames, who tied the game on the Mangiapane goal, finished their rally by winning the game in overtime when Rasmus Andersson, walking out to the left circle, caught Daccord scrambling out of position and fired a wrist shot under his blocker. 

Despite the sharp turn that put Daccord in the overtime loss column, Hakstol remained convinced that Daccord is trending in the right direction.

“Joey’s performance yesterday was indicative of his entire season,” said Hakstol. “When you look at this performance over the season, really positive. He’s gained points in five of his seven starts. He’s hovering around that .900 save percentage. He’s stopping most of the pucks he’s supposed to stop.” 

“He’s a young goaltender learning how to close out games. That’s a fair assessment of his game coming in as well.” 

Daccord told reporters he got ready for the relief assignment with a usual routine of stretching in the arena gym during the first intermission and working up a sweat with jump-training exercises in his goaltending equipment. He too remains convinced he is heading in the right direction, despite the frustrations of a third period that turned a win into an overtime loss.

“I still think I played pretty well, but the results were not there,” said Daccord. “I was four minutes away from a really good relief appearance. I just look at the process. I thought my process was good for me personally. I think if I stick to the process, the results will come.”

Driedger, if recalled, will be in line to make his first appearance in net for the Kraken in 18 months, last seen in the inaugural season finale which was a loss at Winnipeg two seasons ago. He suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament at that spring’s World Championships, missed all but 14 games at the AHL level last season, and was beaten out by Daccord in pre-season for the backup job to Grubauer. 

Driedger has furnished solid numbers to begin the AHL season: a .915 save percentage, 2.20 goals against average, one shutout, and a 6-4 record in 10 games this season.

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