Get ready to meet the Kraken.
On July 21, the Seattle Kraken will take part in the NHL Expansion Draft, which will allow the club to select one player from 30 of the other 31 teams in the league (one team is exempt).
The draft will shape the Kraken identity for its inaugural season. Seattle must meet certain criteria — it must pick at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders from the list of exposed players submitted by the remainder of the teams. They must pick one player from each team, with the exception of Las Vegas, which is exempt since they entered the league just four years ago — and the combined salary of the players has to be at least 60 percent of the NHL salary cap. A minimum of 20 players under contract for next season must be selected.
As of the Review’s press deadline, the player pool from which Seattle can choose was not yet known. Teams must submit their lists by July 17, and it is slated to be made available to Seattle’s front office staff by the next morning. It is also expected the lists will be revealed publicly as well, which should give fans a better idea of what the team might look like.
The picks will be revealed live on television at 5 p.m. Pacific on ESPN2.
Two days later, Seattle will take part in the regular NHL Entry Draft. The Kraken hold the No. 2 overall pick. Many mock drafts have them selecting Matthew Beniers, an outstanding two-way center from the University of Michigan.
Although Climate Pledge Arena is expected to be ready for the regular season in mid-October, the Kraken will play its preseason games at various rinks around Washington.
The Kraken will face the Vancouver Canucks at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena Sept. 26. On Oct. 1, Seattle will take on the Edmonton Oilers at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett. And Oct. 2, they play against the Calgary Flames at the ShoWare Center in Kent.
Those three arenas are home to the Spokane Chiefs, Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds. All three teams are members of the Western Hockey League, one of three leagues in the Canadian Hockey League, which features some of the best junior players in the world and is a major feeder of talent for the NHL.
“We are so grateful to the men and women who have worked tirelessly to build Climate Pledge Arena in the most extraordinary of circumstances,” said Tod Leiweke, CEO of the Seattle Kraken. He added he’s glad the team can play its preseason games in arenas statewide. “This gives us an opportunity to partner with the WHL teams, celebrate hockey across our region and grow this beautiful game.”