Release the Kraken!
There’s no disputing that new beginnings are always thrilling, and that’s what makes tomorrow’s NHL Expansion Draft for the Seattle Kraken so exciting. Basically, the expansion draft is as close as fantasy sports will come to real life, and the event will immediately provide an insight into the ambitions and strategies of the team management, led by Hall of Famer Ron Francis.
It goes without saying that the expansion franchise is going to the most deserving city, Seattle. While the city has a football and baseball team, Seattle is the biggest North American city without a major hockey or basketball franchise (still working on getting basketball back to the Emerald City). With that in mind, it’s good to see a major fanbase getting a team it so richly deserves. Also, the name inspires fear and pride, since there’s a local legend that the fabled kraken resides in the city’s Puget Sound.
In terms of hockey, the rules of the expansion draft dictate that the Kraken will pick one player from each of the other NHL franchises (except the Vegas Golden Knights, who joined the league just four years ago). It’s subject to the protection rules, which dictates that each team can protect seven forwards, four defensemen and a goalie. Also, first- and second-year professionals are exempt.
Keep in mind that when the expansion draft happened four years ago for the Vegas Golden Knights, the team made the Stanley Cup Finals in their first season. That means that there should be an expectation that the Kraken will be able to put together a quality team that will put them in a position to immediately contend.
That said, there’s more than enough room for the Kraken to grab difference makers, like St. Louis’ star forward Vladimir Tarasenko, Montreal’s future Hall of Fame goalie Carey Price, Calgary’s crunching defenseman Mark Giordano and either Josh Bailey or Jordan Eberle, both impact forwards from the New York Islanders. Also, they have the #2 pick in Friday’s NHL Draft, so they’ll also be able to grab an impact rookie, who might be the highly-anticipated defenseman Owen Power.