McCann after Sunday loss: "this is a tryout for next year."

Seattle Kraken v Philadelphia Flyers

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - FEBRUARY 10: Jared McCann #19 of the Seattle Kraken controls the puck against the Philadelphia Flyers in the third period at the Wells Fargo Center on February 10, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Kraken 3-2. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)Photo: Mitchell Leff / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

The Seattle Kraken will miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

Still, there’s no time to mail it in. At least that’s how it appears for Jared McCann, frustrated, after he scored his 29th goal of the season as the lone standout marker in a 4-1 loss for the Seattle Kraken to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday. 

“It's hard to find motivation, but we've got to play for each other in here,” said McCann. “We can't shy away from battles or anything like that. If anything, this is a tryout for next year.”

McCann is all but iron-clad assured longevity in a Kraken sweater, on the second year of his five-year, $25-million extension. Though he’s endured a recent drought which coordinated with a move to center, he’s producing. 

He scored off the rush in the first period with 5:36 left, reaching within a goal of hitting 30 or more in back-to-back seasons for the first time in his career. 

Still, the accolade to him is small potatoes. 

“Doesn't mean anything,” said McCann. “It's obviously great scoring goals, but I want to be in the playoffs. I want to play for a Stanley Cup.” 

That candidness is a vocal exertion of a wearisome season that regressed from a playoff berth one year ago of historic proportions, to getting mathematically eliminated with a 4-8-2 stint in March, their second worst monthly output of the season which was only lagged by a 3-5-2 record in October. 

Starting out strong and a run during the stretch drive were two self-inflicted obstacles too great to overcome, symbolized in the final 41 minutes where the Blues on Sunday scored four unanswered goals, including Jordan Kyrou’s eventual game winner just 59 seconds into the third period, when he was unmarked between the circles. 

St. Louis outshot the Kraken, 22-12 in the final two periods. 

“The last three, four shifts in the second period, the momentum turned, and then they got the early one in the third,” said Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol. 

The Kraken were left with a one-goal output for the third straight game, short circuiting on the second game of back to-back games but also with a continuously shuffled lineup, which installed McCann back to the left wing, but again forced the Kraken to blend cohesively with new centers. 

At least the Kraken have McCann on the board, previously going through a 16-game stretch where he scored just one goal. His duties at center called for a wider swath of 200-foot coverage, which took away his emphasis to be relied on his line as the finisher. 

Hakstol agreed after the game with reporters that shifting responsibilities with McCann were related to his scoring drought. 

“At this time of year, you have some set pairs and some set lines that have chemistry,” said Hakstol. “We’ve added the challenge for Jared of being in and out of the middle. Obviously, he went to the wing (Sunday), and you saw his speed on the goal that he did create and generate. So that's a part of it. But we're asking, yeah, I'm going to play in the middle tonight.” 

“And, you know, that's part of what guys have to do at this time of year for us.” 

The Kraken have two games left, for one lasting impression on this year’s roster. They will visit the Winnipeg Jets, Tuesday at 5pm PT (93.3 KJR/ Kraken Audio Network).  

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content