Kraken preparing for pre-season road showdown with Canucks

Carolina Hurricanes v Seattle Kraken

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 17: Shane Wright #51 of the Seattle Kraken in action during the first period against the Carolina Hurricanes at Climate Pledge Arena on October 17, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Steph Chambers / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

For a day that will decide the fate of several players, teetering between the NHL and the American Hockey League, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare kept it loose. 

He was on the ice 20 minutes early before the scheduled start of morning skate, leading up to the 7pm PT puck drop at Abbotsford Centre between the Kraken and Vancouver Canucks (950 AM KJR). He was smiling with Shane Wright, engaging warmth with the 19-year old prospect during an end of practice drill. He nearly sprinted to the podium, full uniform and skates, ready to go. 

Wright knows how important it is to feel relaxed with two pre-season games to go, assessing his progress in training camp and pre-season games. 

“Just feeling more comfortable out there, comfortable holding on the puck a little more, making plays, understanding systems a little better and understand teammates and situations,” said Wright. “I think just with that being my second training camp, just overall, feeling more comfortable with the games and comfortable playing at that speed in that level.”

Wright, who has looked improved in this training camp, will be among the many hopefuls aiming for a roster spot - which arguably are slim for availability – in Wednesday’s contest played at the home of the Canucks AHL farm team.  

It’s the home of 7,000 seats, offering an intimate approach to watch a pair of NHL teams wage battle. 

“Kind of like a junior barn, never played in Abbotsford,” said Wright, who spent his OHL career in home venues seating no more than 6,450 fans. 

“But I think obviously a little different than playing in Climate Pledge (Arena). It’ll be more like a junior atmosphere out there.” 

Wright will get top line centering duties between Eeli Tolvanen and Oliver Bjorkstrand, according to morning skate line rushes. Bellemare, who has been spectacular in the face-off circle, is expected to anchor a line between Brandon Tanev and Kailer Yamamoto. 

Bellemare, who previously skated with the juggernaut Tampa Bay Lightning, acknowledge an ongoing adjustment to a new system, but admires the quick-trigger, option oriented style. 

“The system is not difficult,” said Bellemare. “It demands a lot of skating from the forwards and the ‘D’ and I kind of like that.” 

“It’s just getting that printed into my head so that I don’t have to think about it.” 

Joey Daccord had the starter’s net for morning skate and is expected to start, carrying a letter-perfect game with no goals allowed on 22 shots in two games of action. Chris Driedger is expected to back him up for the game. 

The Kraken defeated the Canucks last Thursday, 3-1 at Climate Pledge Arena behind Tolvanen’s pair of goals.   




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