The Seattle Kraken have lost their starting goaltender, as Philipp Grubauer was placed on injured reserve today. Grubauer was injured in last Friday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche, leaving Martin Jones to start (and lose) on Sunday.
Grubauer, 30, was arguably the worst goaltender in the league last season, posting a .889 save percentage in 55 appearances. That was a stark difference from his career totals, which to that point had him sitting near the best save percentages of all-time with a .920 and a Vezina Trophy finalist the year prior.
Unfortunately, it didn’t seem like an aberration when this season began. Grubauer was shelled for five goals on 27 shots in his first game, and another five on 34 shots in his second start. Even the two goals on 19 shots before leaving the Colorado game had him as a sub .900 netminder, something the team certainly wasn’t expecting when they signed him to a six-year, $35.4M contract in the summer of 2021.
Even worse, he still may have been their best option. Jones, 33, hasn’t posted a save percentage over .900 since 2017-18 and is now sitting at .860 for this season. There’s no way that the Kraken can stay competitive with that kind of goaltending, meaning either Daccord is going to need to take over, Grubauer is going to need to get healthy and back to form, or the team is going to have to make a change.
Chris Driedger, the team’s other goaltender who was meant to form an impressive tandem with Grubauer, tore his ACL while playing at the World Championship earlier this year. He is expected to be out through January at least, with the recovery period likely being even longer than that. After spending even more money in the offseason, with veteran additions like Oliver Bjorkstrand and Andre Burakovsky, the Kraken are clearly trying to contend in the Pacific Division.
At this point, it’s hard to imagine that given the goaltending they have received so far – especially now that Grubauer is on the shelf.