Mark your calendars! According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft is officially set for July 21, 2021 — exactly 30 weeks and one day away. Or 211 days. Or 5064 hours. Or 303,840 minutes. Or 18,230,400 seconds…But who’s counting?
Each NHL franchise, minus the Vegas Golden Knights, will have until July 17, 2020, to submit their protection list. Then, the Kraken will have four days to examine them and finalize their selections for the 21st.
As a quick and friendly reminder:
- The protection list can either be 1) seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie or 2) eight total skaters and one goalie.
- Players whose contracts include a no-movement clause must be protected.
- All first and second-year players, as well as all unsigned prospects, are exempt from being drafted by the Kraken.
- All other requirements can be found here.
More Dates to Look Forward to
Two days after the Expansion Draft, on July 23 and 24, the 2021 NHL Entry Draft will take place. There’s been no announcement about the official lottery odds yet, but speculation suggests it won’t be different than when the Golden Knights entered the league. The NHL gave the Golden Knights the third-best odds at the first overall pick, but they fell to sixth overall after the lottery. Hopefully, the Kraken will have better luck.
The Kraken will want to replicate Vegas’s success in nearly every other area, however. Seattle’s general manager Ron Francis needs to study the George McPhee handbook. McPhee effectively exploited the expansion draft and, after some wheeling and dealing, he managed to simultaneously set up his expansion franchise for immediate and long-term success.
You could say that McPhee set the GOLDEN standard…
Terrible jokes aside, the only way Francis could outshine McPhee would be for the Kraken to walk away with the Stanley Cup eleven months later. All Francis has to do is something an NHL team has never done before…Should be easy, right?
Between Now and Then
So, what do the Kraken do in the meantime? They build, and they scout. Seattle has already begun to not only assemble Climate Pledge Arena but a strong team of pro scouts. Director of Pro Scouting, Dave Baseggio, heads up a team that currently sports Lorne Henning, Andrew Allen, William White, Ulf Samuelsson, Cammi Granato, Stu Barnes, Dave Hunter, and John Goodwin. Collectively, they will have to scour the league, studying all 31 teams, in preparation for the expansion.
The NHL playoffs begin on May 11th, less than five months away, and there is still a great deal of work ahead. Seattle still needs to round out its amateur scouting team, their player development team, and then they’ll need to compile the remaining pieces of the front office. The Kraken brought in seven new hires at the end of October and brought on Everett Fitzhugh as the team’s broadcaster, and the first black broadcaster in the NHL, but that’s just the tip of the Kraken iceberg.
The point is this: in order for the Kraken to build a strong team on the ice, Team President and CEO Tod Leiweke will need to spend the next several months building an even stronger team off the ice.
Additional Dates to Mark
Following both the NHL Expansion and Entry Drafts, the free-agent market will open on July 28, and assuming the proposed timeline stays intact, the Kraken’s inaugural season in 2021-22 will begin in the fall of 2022; hopefully, it will be a welcomed return to normalcy.
Before then, the NHL will officially return on Jan. 13, 2020, when we will all be able to sigh a breath of relief. Yes, there are still areas of uncertainty, but thanks to Saint Bob McKenzie, all signs seem to be pointing in the right direction.
Daniel Blanda, a Journalist, Playwright, and Screenwriter based in Boston, MA covers the Seattle Kraken for The Hockey Writers. He has previously contributed work to “Snipetown: The Voice of Hockey” magazine and the “Hockey Addict’s Guide New York City.” He was a youth hockey coach and a professional skate sharpener for Westside Skate & Stick while living in Queens. Daniel also writes for BlueLineStation.com covering the New York Rangers.