Wright's next step, Grubauer, and Kartye's evolving role in win at Ducks

Seattle Kraken v San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 01: Shane Wright #51 of the Seattle Kraken warms up before their game against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on April 01, 2024 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)Photo: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Shane Wright experienced a breakout game in his young NHL career, with his first ever two-goal game, three points, and Matty Beniers’ 100th career point on Friday when the Seattle Kraken defeated the Anaheim Ducks, 3-1 at Honda Center. 

Looking at this game from face value of the standings, little mattered. But don’t tell that to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, or any like-minded player wearing a Kraken jersey. There was much more to play for, and the Kraken acted accordingly. 

Philipp Grubauer delivered 15 saves for the win. 

“We played with the puck a lot, that’s one reason we didn’t spend a lot of time in the defensive zone,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol.

But what can’t be denied was the impact of Wright, who’s got 4 points in three games since his call-up from AHL Coachella Valley.

“Confident player tonight,” said Hakstol. 

Moments that mattered: 

1.        Shane Wright gets a 3-point night: He nearly had a hat trick. I know, I know, a few of you may be saying “but it was against the Ducks.” They’ve been out of postseason contention realistically for months. But for a 20-year-old easing his way in after nearly a full season in the AHL, any NHL test is a worthy test. Players by nature are faster, quicker, tend to be heavier, and carry a large amount of savvy.

Wright's offense came in a variety pack that’s befitting of his brand: fearlessness. He went to the net and deflected Oliver Bjorkstrand’s left circle shot for a 1-0 lead. He then unloaded a quick-release one-timer past Lukas Dostal for a 2-0 advantage, set up by Jaden Schwartz from behind the net. Wright was about two inches away from a hat trick – swiftly funneling a puck to the net from off the left goal line, that nearly caught a Ducks skate, and instead caromed off Matty Beniers – for a lead that put the game out of reach. Bonus – he didn’t feel above the duty of blocking shots (and got in the way of a William Lagesson blast). 

Wright is winning battles, and he’s recognizing the challenges that come with them. 

“The (defense) here are a lot stronger, more physical and box you out really well,” said Wright. “You’ve got to be loose, spin off of them, and try to get underneath them and body positioning at the net. It’s a constant battle to get that body space at the net.”  

He was not infallible – Ducks forwards won 70 percent of their draws against him, and he pocketed a lesson when Leo Carlsson took him to the inside for the Ducks’ only goal of the night. But Wright’s call-up has performed at satisfactory levels, with four points in his three games since re-appearing in San Jose on Monday. 

2.        Philipp Grubauer’s first period:  The Kraken didn’t really have to defend because they controlled the puck for most of the night. That made Grubauer’s night relatively easy – after the first period. 

In a 20-minute frame with a Kraken patch that Hakstol called “sloppy” with the puck, Grubauer was at his best for the night, turning in 12 saves including a game-breaking stop on Alex Killorn with 9:30 left, then snared a Trevor Zegras one-timer on a Ducks power play late in the frame. 

Grubauer only had to make seven saves for the last 40 minutes, but the first period paved the way for the Kraken, who sped off with two more goals after the initial intermission. 

3.        The Gudas / Tanev / Kartye incident: Laying this out in specific order: in the second period with the Kraken beginning to run away with it, Radko Gudas lined up Brandon Tanev with an old-school hip check, sending the Kraken forward flying, literally, head over heels at center ice. With no time in between, as is customary these days after a big hit, it stirred the proverbial hornet’s nest. Tye Kartye immediately went after Gudas, eliciting a scrum in between the whistles that eventually died down without further episodes.

What’s important to note: the direct and swift manner by Kartye to defend his teammate, clean hit or not. We’re seeing a pattern: he’s had no problems recently with getting under the skin of Connor McDavidJason Robertson, and Kevin Fiala.  

This is a valuable role perhaps being shaped: deterrent, pest, or shift disturber – pick your term. Yet, in the name of “impose your will,” it’s extremely effective. But we’re seeing the evolution of a Kraken rookie begin to find his place.  

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content