SEATTLE – On July 21, a little after 5 p.m., the Seattle Kraken will have their first player.
The roster will, after years of waiting, finally start to fill out. July 21 is the date scheduled for the NHL Expansion Draft. The Kraken will get the opportunity to select one player from every team, with the exception of Las Vegas – the league’s other fledgling franchise. As a recent expansion team themselves, the Golden Knights are exempt from the draft.
Seattle will have 30 players on its roster when the expansion draft concludes -14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders.
Now, that doesn’t make it a free-for-all for the Kraken. The 30 teams outside of Las Vegas will be able to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goalie. For more information the specifics, NHL.com has details here.
The Kraken get the same opportunity the Golden Knights had in assembling their inaugural roster. That Vegas group that advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals in their first season. And, knowing the expectations Seattle holds for its sports teams, the goal will be for a similar start for the Kraken. After all, the Sounders have set a pretty high bar for what it looks like to grow an expansion team into one of the elite franchises in the MLS, winning a pair of MLS Cup titles, while advancing to the championship game in four of the past five seasons.
So, once the Kraken have their first 30 players, the league will then hold the first round of the NHL Draft on July 23 before the start of free agency.
Just like that, the franchise will have its foundation for both present and future. This is going to be an exciting summer for local hockey fans.
With only a few months to wait before Seattle has its first player, the speculation on who those players could be is already happening.
When Sonics fans think about the return of the city’s NBA franchise, there has always been the hope it would feature some of the area’s local products who have gone on to find success in the league. While Washington doesn’t produce as much hockey talent, there are still a few local standouts who would make for nice additions to the Kraken’s roster.
The first is T.J. Oshie, currently a right winger for the Washington Capitals. Oshie hails from Everett and helped the Caps win a Stanley Cup championship in 2018. Another Evergreen State product is Tyler Johnson, a 30-year-old from Spokane. Johnson has scored more than 150 goals in his NHL career with the Tampa Bay Lightning and, like Oshie, has won a Stanley Cup.
For a more complete list of potential players who could end up on the Kraken’s, take a little at this mock draft assembled by Sports Illustrated.
As far as we’re concerned, July 21 can’t come soon enough. From an unnamed expansion franchise to the Kraken, a lot has happened since Seattle was awarded an NHL franchise. Now it’s time to add some players.
Finally, we’ll have some personalities to be introduced to and a season to prepare for.