The Seattle Kraken Have An Expansion Blueprint. Can They Follow Vegas And Build A Winner?

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FiveThirtyEight 14 July, 2021 - 12:33pm 13 views

When is the NHL Draft 2021?

The 2021 NHL Draft is coming up quick, with Round 1 airing on Friday, July 23. Each year, the SB Nation NHL team sites get together and project the first round of the draft, trying to get into the minds of the front office. Fear the FinSB Nation NHL Mock Draft 2021: Picks 1-6

Who will Bruins protect in expansion draft?

For this draft, the Bruins are likely to use the 7-3-1 protection scheme, mainly because they have three defensemen who are must-keeps: Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Matt Grzelcyk. The Boston GlobeWho will the Bruins protect from the expansion draft? Their list is due on Saturday

While the hirings on the management and coaching side continue -- and construction on Climate Pledge Arena continues, with a mid-October opening date still the goal -- the roster of players remains to be determined as well. The next step in that process is the expansion draft.

If you aren't entirely caught up, we've got you covered, with intel on how the franchise came to be, broadcast details on the expansion draft itself, rules and restrictions for the Kraken and the other NHL teams, and insights into what kind of players could land with Seattle for its inaugural season.

Wyshynski: After over two decades of failed attempts to bring an NHL team to Seattle, momentum started to pick up around 2012, with construction of a new arena being the key component.

In summer 2013, the Phoenix Coyotes nearly relocated to Seattle before the Glendale City Council in Arizona approved a new arena lease. In 2015, three ownership groups discussed submitting bids for an NHL expansion team but none did, as Las Vegas was the lone expansion franchise approved by the league.

Then, in 2017, the NHL announced it was considering a bid from Seattle with a $650 million expansion fee -- $150 million more than Vegas paid. Rather than build a new arena -- something that torpedoed other bids -- an ownership group led by majority owner David Bonderman and minority owners Jerry Bruckheimer and David Wright worked with Oak View Group on a proposal for a privately financed renovation of Key Arena, the former home of the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics, to house an NHL team.

Seattle was unanimously approved by the NHL's Board of Governors as the league's 32nd franchise in Dec. 2018, which placed them in the Pacific Division beginning in the 2021-22 season. Former Carolina Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis was hired in 2019 to lead the hockey operations department, which quickly gained recognition for the diversity of its hiring practices and focus on analytics.

In summer 2020, the team revealed its nickname, the Kraken, chosen from a pool that included Steelheads, Sockeyes and Metropolitans. In June 2021, the Kraken announced former Philadelphia Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol as their first head coach.

Kaplan: The expansion draft will be held on July 21, 5 p.m. PDT/8 p.m. EDT in Seattle, and broadcast on ESPN2. Teams' protected lists are due on Saturday, and those lists will be announced on Sunday.

Wyshynski: The Kraken are drafting under the same rules that the Vegas Golden Knights benefitted from in 2017. They have the same positional and salary cap roster requirements; the other 30 teams in the expansion draft have the same protection limitations that could hand over the eighth-best forward, fourth-best defenseman or second-best goalie to the Kraken.

That includes a provision that could help the Kraken in landing a significant player seeking a max contract. For the Vegas draft, the NHLPA negotiated a "no loss of status or rights" provision in which players who are claimed in the expansion draft or acquired in a trade prior to the conclusion of the expansion draft would be eligible to sign an eight-year max contract with the Golden Knights prior to free agency. The same provision, with slightly altered dates due to the late end of the 2021 season, is in place for the Kraken in this expansion draft.

Kaplan: The Golden Knights do not have to give up a player in the expansion draft, a deal owner Bill Foley struck with the NHL in their original franchise agreement in 2016. The only downside for Vegas? Foley doesn't get a cut of Seattle's $650 million expansion fee, which equates to a $21.67 million check for the other 30 teams.

This was a typical practice for the NHL in the frenzied 1990s, when the league added nine teams over course of the decade. For example, when the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets held a joint expansion draft in 2000, they didn't select players from the Atlanta Thrashers (who joined in 1999) or Nashville Predators (1998), as they were the two new kids on the block still finding their way.

There are minimum requirements for players exposed in the expansion draft. There must be at least two forwards and one defenseman exposed who are under contract for the 2021-22 season who played at least 40 games last season or 70 games over the last two seasons; and one goalie exposed who is under contract for the 2021-22 season or will be a restricted free agent this offseason -- as long as that pending RFA goalie has received his qualifying offer this summer.

One important thing to remember for these requirements: Players who have "potential career-ending injuries" that have missed more than 60 straight games -- or have a confirmed career-threatening injury -- can't be used to satisfy a team's player exposure requirement unless the NHL signs off on it.

Kaplan: If a player has a no-trade clause, he can be exposed. If a player has a no-movement clause, he must be protected -- unless he agrees to waive it for the purpose of being exposed. There's already an example of at least one player doing this: Calgary Flames veteran forward Milan Lucic.

The 32-year-old, who has two years remaining on his seven-year contract, said he loves it in Calgary and wants to stay with the Flames, but agreed to waive his no-movement clause so that the team can prioritize protecting other players.

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Tuesday was the deadline for teams to ask players to waive their no-movement clauses, for the sole purpose of being exposed in the expansion draft (like Lucic). Players have until July 16 to make that decision.

Some teams were put in a tough situation by having too many no-movement clauses during the Golden Knights expansion draft. A great example was the Blue Jackets, who were forced to protect Sergei Bobrovsky, Brandon Dubinsky, Nick Foligno and Scott Hartnell because of their NMCs. That meant Columbus had to expose players like Josh Anderson, Ryan Murray and Joonas Korpisalo, and GM Jarmo Kekalainen didn't want to lose any of them.

So, Kekalainen made a side deal with Vegas GM George McPhee. The Golden Knights agreed to pick William Karlsson in exchange for a first-round pick, a second-round pick and taking on the expensive contract of David Clarkson. Karlsson glowed up in Vegas, transforming from a six- to 43-goal scorer, thanks in part to a more featured role. The Blue Jackets have not handed out any no-movement clauses since.

Wyshynski: Seattle will select one player from each team -- besides Vegas -- with the requirements being that they must take at least 14 forwards, nine defenseman and three goalies. It must choose a minimum of 20 players under contract for the 2021-22 regular season, ones who have "an aggregate expansion draft value that is between 60%-100%" of the $81.5 million salary cap ceiling.

The Kraken are restricted from buying out players selected in the expansion draft until summer 2022.

Kaplan: From Sunday to July 21, the Kraken have an exclusive negotiating window with any pending free agents not protected by the other 30 teams. If Seattle signs one of these players, it counts as their selection from that club. And if Seattle signs that player to a deal before free agency begins on July 28, then the Kraken can offer an eight-year max extension. After that, Seattle can only give out seven-year deals this summer.

Wyshynski: Under the same draft rules, the Golden Knights selected seven centers, six left wings, two right wings, 13 defensemen and three goalies. The imbalance shouldn't be a surprise, considering that every team was theoretically giving up their No. 4 defenseman. In fact, all six defenseman on their opening night roster in 2017-18 were selected in the expansion draft, as was their starting goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury. It would be a surprise if the Kraken didn't draft a veteran netminder, considering how many intriguing options will be available.

The kinds of players the Kraken select will be guided by three things: Who is available in the player pool; the mandatory requirements for their roster; and the philosophy of the front office. Seattle has been emphatic in its dedication to data analysis, so expect several "analytics darlings" to join the team via the draft.

However, head coach Hakstol told ESPN to also expect the Kraken to draft players that are in the image of the way GM Ron Francis competed as a player. "He places a ton of value on players that can think the game. Intelligent players. The pace of the game is a really big aspect. But most importantly, the competitiveness," said Hakstol.

Oshie has long been speculated to be the Kraken's face of the franchise in Year 1, but the 34-year-old wants to stay in D.C.

"I signed an eight-year deal here because this is where I wanted to spend the rest of my career and retire here," Oshie said during his end-of-season media availability. The winger is under contract with Washington through 2024-25. Capitals GM Brian MacLellan may have put some of the speculation to bed in May, calling Oshie "a big part of our organization."

"It would hurt our team and our organization if we lost him in the expansion draft," MacLellan said. "I don't know if we've made any decisions fully on that but ideally, we'd like to keep him around."

It's likely the Lightning will expose Johnson, whom they twice put on waivers last season. But no other team had interest in helping Tampa Bay shed Johnson's $5 million salary, and it's unclear if the Kraken will either.

Seattle has two local major junior teams that play in the WHL. The Seattle Thunderbirds have a decent list of alumni that play in the NHL: Mathew Barzal, Ethan Bear, Brenden Dillon, Keegan Kolesar, Shea Theodore, Patrick Marleau and Nate Thompson. The Everett Silvertips are the former team of Radko Gudas, Carter Hart, Jujhar Khaira and Ryan Murray.

Wyshynski: Yes, they learned that the NHL has stacked the deck against them because an expansion ownership group spent hundreds of millions of dollars to join the league. So they've done their best to get their rosters in order ahead of this draft. They've opened the lines of communication with GM Francis well ahead of the expansion lists being submitted to try to make trades.

As Nashville Predators GM David Poile said recently, "It may not guarantee that we do anything with them, but ... if I could make a deal that I liked with him, I would probably prefer that."

If these teams have learned anything, hopefully it's not to overreact to potential player losses. Among the treasure that Vegas acquired after agreeing not to draft certain unprotected players from teams: Defenseman Shea Theodore, wingers Reilly Smith and Alex Tuch and three first-round picks.

Kaplan: The Golden Knights opened their first season with 500-1 odds to win the Stanley Cup, then made it to the Stanley Cup Final, rewriting expectations for expansion franchises across sports. Before Vegas, of the 64 expansion teams among the four major U.S. sports leagues since 1960, no team posted a winning record in its first season.

Oddsmakers learned their lesson. Seattle opens with 100-1 odds, the same as five other teams and above the Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings.

Kraken management has been careful not to assign a timeline to success. As Francis told me shortly after he was hired two years ago: "I think if you go back and listen to the comments that Vegas had leading up to the expansion draft, their plan was to draft and develop well and be patient in the process. I think George [McPhee] and Kelly [McCrimmon] did a fantastic job. They had an unbelievable first season, and the franchise has been in good position ever since. So hopefully we can draft some good players in the expansion draft, and draft some good players in the amateur draft, and take the time to develop those guys."

Sounds like someone who is trying not to overpromise, only over-deliver.

Read full article at FiveThirtyEight

3 teams primed to make side deals with Kraken

theScore 15 July, 2021 - 12:00am

In 2017, Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee took full advantage of the expansion draft rules, making several side deals that immediately helped establish his team among the NHL's elite.

While most GMs have likely learned that it might be best to let an expansion team take one player instead of giving a new club multiple assets, there's still a handful of franchises for which side deals make sense. And Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis is surely licking his chops at the prospect of fleecing a few teams the way McPhee did.

Below, we examine three clubs that might be eager to work out a handshake agreement with the Kraken ahead of the July 21 expansion draft.

Objective: Get rid of Tyler Johnson

Everyone is aware of the Lightning's cap crunch. It was temporarily alleviated this season with Nikita Kucherov landing on LTIR, but Tampa is in a bind once again. The defending champions will enter the offseason sitting nearly $5 million over the ceiling, according to CapFriendly.

The best way for the Lightning to get under the cap is to get rid of Tyler Johnson's contract, which carries a $5-million AAV through 2024. But that won't be easy after the 30-year-old went unclaimed on waivers before the start of the 2020-21 campaign - his worst NHL season. Plus, Tampa's protection list will leave several other valuable assets exposed.

The Bolts are likely going the 4-4-1 route, protecting the following:

This format would leave Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Yanni Gourde, and Alex Killorn exposed up front - Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow are pending unrestricted free agents - while 2017 first-rounder Cal Foote would be available on defense.

Johnson's contract is the only undesirable one of the bunch, meaning the Kraken will be in the driver's seat for any side deal involving him.

In exchange for taking Johnson, Seattle could ask for the Lightning's first-round pick in 2022 or a player (likely Foote, Palat, or Killorn) and a 2021 third-round pick. Either deal would seem to benefit both sides, though it's possible the Kraken could demand even more.

Johnson would fit nicely with Seattle. Not only is he a native of Spokane, Washington, but he's also certainly capable of a bounce-back season in a more prominent role. The Kraken need to reach the cap floor and will have difficulty securing quality centers in the expansion draft.

Objective: Protect Ryan Graves

Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic has built such a deep and talented roster that it's almost a foregone conclusion Colorado will lose a valuable piece in expansion. Fortunately, Erik Johnson is widely expected to waive his no-movement clause. The veteran defender has two years left on his deal at $6 million per season and missed all but four games in 2020-21 due to a concussion.

Here's how the Avalanche's projected protection list shakes out:

This scheme would leave Joonas Donskoi, J.T. Compher, and Ryan Graves as the most valuable assets available to the Kraken. Colorado surely doesn't want to lose Graves - young, affordable, 6-foot-5 defensemen don't grow on trees. But going 4-4-1 and exposing a valuable forward to protect the 26-year-old seems out of the question.

The Avalanche could offer Donskoi, Compher, and one of their many prospects (perhaps someone like Sampo Ranta) to keep the Kraken from choosing Graves. Seattle would get two proven NHL forwards and a prospect, while Colorado would clear cap space and keep a valuable defenseman. It could be a win-win.

Objective: Get rid of Ryan Johansen or Matt Duchene

The Predators appear to be entering a transition period after shipping Viktor Arvidsson to the Los Angeles Kings for a pair of draft picks. GM David Poile was poised to be a deadline seller this past season before changing course amid his team's red-hot second half.

Nashville's two underachieving, high-priced centers have played big roles in the team's inability to get over the hump over the last two seasons. Ryan Johansen, 28, is signed for four more years with an $8-million annual cap hit and has 58 points in his last 116 games. Matt Duchene, 30, is signed for five more years at $8 million per season and has 55 points in 100 games since joining the Predators.

Poile would surely love to get one of those big contracts off his books, but it won't be easy. Nashville's protection list projects as follows:

This setup leaves forward Calle Jarnkrok, who has one year left on his deal, as the most desirable exposed asset.

Nashville could perhaps offer Seattle a package of Fabbro, Jarnkrok, and one of its two 2021 second-round picks to take Duchene or Johansen. Fabbro, a 2016 first-round selection, seemingly fell out of favor with the Predators this postseason when they scratched him for the entirety of their first-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes. But the 23-year-old right-handed blue-liner could still become a valuable building block for the Kraken.

Why Capitals benefit from losing a left-side defenseman to Seattle Kraken

Yahoo Sports 15 July, 2021 - 12:00am

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

For every team in the NHL, the upcoming expansion draft has been a looming storm on the horizon no one wants to deal with. 

The new Seattle Kraken could take a player that a team wasn’t expecting to be selected. Or they could take a player that the team simply didn’t have the numbers to protect. Or, they could take a player that the team had on a team-friendly deal. 

All of those fears exist for the Capitals, but there’s also a scenario where they could find themselves in an advantageous situation after the expansion draft. And that involves the Kraken picking one of their left-side defensemen.

Washington, if it protects John Carlson, Dmitry Orlov and Justin Schultz, will have a few interesting options available on defense if that’s the route the Kraken want to build through. In 2017, the expansion Vegas Golden Knights selected 13 defenders, including the Capitals' Nate Schmidt, and met Washington in the Stanley Cup Final just 12 months later.  

But the reasoning for the Caps to hope for the least bad outcome of losing a left-side defenseman is because of the salary cap - not that they want to lose a specific player. 

As it stands now, Washington has $9.491 million in projected salary-cap space, according to the web site CapFriendly. That does not include the eventual Alex Ovechkin contract, nor does it include goaltender Ilya Samsonov’s expected RFA extension nor does it include the removal of defenseman Michal Kempny and his $2.5 million salary from Long-Term Injured Reserve. It also doesn’t include needed roster slots to add depth to the forward and defensive ranks.

In short, the Capitals have to clear salary at some point this offseason. The easiest and most efficient way to do so is for the Kraken to take a player that lessens the blow. And of the options on the left side, Brenden Dillon is the clear choice. 

A key acquisition from the San Jose Sharks at the trade deadline in 2020, Dillon makes $3.9 million against the cap for the next three seasons. He is the fourth-most expensive defender on a Capitals team that has expressed desire to get younger anyways. Dillon, who turns 31 on Nov. 13, fits the role of a dependable, veteran player Seattle can rely upon on the blueline. 

The Kraken could also roll the dice and pick Kempny, who is coming off an Achilles injury that followed the torn hamstring injury he sustained late in the 2018-2019 season. He’ll make $2.5 million for just one more season making it a short-term gamble, but he played critical minutes during Washington's 2018 Stanley Cup run on the top pair with John Carlson. 

Whether it's losing Dillon or Kempny, that money coming off the books would help Washington immensely as it tries to balance its roster.  

Were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on the league’s finances, the Capitals would likely be in a different scenario during the expansion draft. The cap almost certainly would be a few million dollars higher and there would be breathing room even with Ovechkin's expected extension.

But they do need to cut salary under a flat cap. And the expansion draft is the best way to start that process. A trade is also likely still necessary to create room for cheaper depth players at forward and on the blueline.  

It helps that the Caps have young, cheap, young defensemen coming up the minor-league ranks. General manager Brian MacLellan mentioned Martin Fehervary, 21, by name as someone who he thinks is ready to make the leap to the NHL.

Alexander Alexeyev, also 21, isn’t far behind him. Both defenders are left-handed shots and can fill in for the NHL club in the 2021-22 season. Alexeyev was the organization's first-round pick in 2018 and Fehervary went in the second round at No. 46. 

So while it seems like the expansion draft is a scary endeavor for the Capitals, there’s a chance the Kraken actually ends up helping make their offseason easier to navigate.

All the concrete has been poured and on the floor of Climate Pledge Arena, the outline of the rink is waiting to be covered in ice. Builders say the home for the newest NHL franchise, the Seattle Kraken, remains on schedule to be ready by the middle of October, when the NHL season is expected to begin. “It’s just making certain that everything’s done quality, top quality, because really, we’re into the finish work now,” Ken Johnsen, construction executive with Oak View Group, said Monday.

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The Hockey Writers 15 July, 2021 - 12:00am

Forslund on Seattle Kraken expansion draft: Get a goalie, long-term plan

710 ESPN Seattle 14 July, 2021 - 01:32pm

We’re now a week away from seeing what the first-ever Seattle Kraken roster will look like as the July 21 expansion draft is right around the corner.

Someone who will be on top of all the Kraken news going forward is veteran announcer John Forslund, who will call play-by-play for Seattle on ROOT Sports starting this fall.

Forslund joined Paul Gallant and Michael Bumpus on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant on Wednesday to share his thoughts on how the Kraken should approach the draft.

We don’t yet know which players on opposing NHL rosters will be protected and made available in the expansion draft, but Forslund compared Saturday’s deadline for teams to reveal their protected lists and the draft itself to Christmas morning.

“I know as a young kid I didn’t really care what was under the tree until Christmas arrived, and I wasn’t trying to figure it out,” he said. “A week from today we’ll get to that point and it will be a great day for the Kraken, a great day for the Kraken nation and the area and we’ll see what the first roster looks like. And then we can start to look at things and see where players fit and what kind of team this is going to be.”

Gallant said he looks forward to the Kraken adding a player from the Tampa Bay Lightning, who just won their second straight Stanley Cup. Forslund noted that the Kraken will be adding a player from every NHL roster except the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

“That will happen and that could be a variety of different names, a variety of different ways (Seattle Kraken general manager) Ron Francis can go about putting his first roster in place,” Forslund said. “A lot of these situations are connected to each other. So as he goes down the list and he drafts his allotment of forwards, defensemen and the goalies, each box is checked along the way and he might have to shift philosophies.”

Those philosophies, Forslund said, aren’t just in how players perform on the ice. He noted that the Kraken could target a bigger name at a position and then go with younger guys at that spot with the other picks. He also said that the team could approach the draft in different ways in terms of salary and length of player contracts.

“Ron’s looked at this for a long time and he’ll be very secretive and I know him very well and that’s how he does business, and that’s good,” said Forslund, who spent time with Francis when both were with the Carolina Hurricanes organization.

Bumpus wanted Forslund’s opinion on what the most important position in hockey is, noting that guard play is key in the NBA and that quarterbacks are king in the NFL. So what do the Kraken need to make sure they solidify next week?

“The most essential position in hockey is pretty obvious – it’s the goalie, right?” Forslund said.

The Kraken will have the same expansion draft format as the Golden Knights, who in four seasons have made two Western Conference Finals and appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals in their first season. Forslund said that Vegas “set the bar really high” for the Kraken as a result, and a large part of that team’s success is because of the goalie.

“They did it by drafting Marc-André Fleury, their (star) goaltender as the first pick,” Forslund said of the Golden Knights. “I’m not sure (Francis is) going to go with the first player picked (being) a goalie – there’s no way of knowing that. But he’s going to make sure he’s going to build from that position out, I would assume … and then he’s going to build (with) players that will fit a short-term plan and a long-term plan.”

Having both clear plans for the short- and long-term is key for this expansion franchise, Forslund said.

“Yes, it would be great to jump in there and compete – and I think they will. How much they compete and whether or not they make the playoffs in Year 1 remains to be seen,” he said. “But there’s also a bigger goal in mind: to get to three, four or five years into this franchise’s existence and be really relevant by then and have a team that’s really knocking on the door and in the playoffs on an annual basis and with a real chance to win a Stanley Cup … Anyone can get in (to the playoffs) and have a great run, but it’s your viability as a franchise year to year, that’s what you want to solidify, and I think that’s going to be one of (Francis’) prime targets.”

Listen to the interview in the first hour of Wednesday’s Danny and Gallant at this link or in the player below.

7 Days Away: To Move or Not to Move

BlueJackets.com 14 July, 2021 - 10:10am

When the Tampa Bay Lightning hoisted the Stanley Cup last Wednesday, there were 52 NHL players with no-movement clauses in their contracts, in turn requiring a spot on their teams' protected lists for next Wednesday's NHL Expansion Draft™.

Stop and savor that timeframe: We are seven days away from the Kraken taking a giant step toward building its roster on opening night and beyond, selecting 30 players July 21 and likely announcing trades for other players and draft choices.

The no-move clauses across the NHL are now officially down to 48 as of the end of Tuesday's business day. The reduction can be explained by the three ways a player's no-movement clause can be removed:

Tuesday marked the deadline for teams to ask players to waive their no-movement clauses (NMC) and Friday is the final day that players can waive their NMCs if so, ahem, moved. Fans can keep one on any others beside Keith and Johnson to indicate they are willing to be traded and/or left unprotected for the Expansion Draft.

For Keith, who led Chicago in ice time during all 16 seasons with the club, letting go of his NMC was motivated by a desire to play closer to his British Columbia home, especially to spend more time with his son during the season with a much shorter travel distance for possible off-day trips.

The trade allows Chicago to save $5.5 million in salary cap space as Keith's whole 2021-22 salary will be covered by Edmonton. Jones is a young defenseman you figure Chicago wants to protect, potentially leaving promising young defenseman Riley Stillman available to the Kraken as a possible selection. If the Blackhawks decided to protect Stillman, then Jones would likely be unprotected.

The Johnson decision effectively saves Colorado from exposing both defensemen Devon Toews (from whom the Avalanche traded for last offseason) and Ryan Graves. Most media members think Toews will now be protected. Johnson, 33, with two years remaining on a contract that will pay him $6 millon annually, will be on the draft-eligible list.

Minnesota's news day surprised lots of fans and media observers, plus probably a number of hockey operations executives around the league. It appears Parise and especially Suter were surprised themselves. Instead of needing to protect the two now-former Wild alternate captains (for nine seasons), Tuesday's media speculation is players such as defenseman Matt Dumba and forward Jordan Greenway among others might not be exposed.

Minnesota has two goalies who posted solid seasons in net this past season, veteran Cam Talbot and rookie Kaapo Kahkonen (eligible because he has played three professional seasons in North America, two in the American Hockey League). Unless GM Guerin makes a deal before the July 17 noon trade freeze, the Wild will have to make Talbot or Kahkonen eligible for the Expansion Draft.

The trade freeze prohibits NHL teams from making trades with any team except the Kraken during a period that extends to July 22 at 10 a.m.

The buyouts afford the Wild $10.33 million in salary cap space this summer, which will be highly useful in looking to re-sign scoring stars Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala, plus perhaps being a "buyer" when NHL free agency begins July 28. But the buyouts also will take up more than $6 million in salary cap space for the 2022-23 season and more than $7 million in both the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons.

The remainder of the "work week" through Friday will reveal if any additional no-move clauses have been cleared by trade, voluntary player waives or buyouts. By this Saturday, 30 teams (Vegas is excluded but does stand down on trades) will be required to submit their protected by 2 p.m.

You might argue-let's say successfully-the "real" fun starts Sunday at 7 a.m. when Kraken GM Ron Francis and his staff receive the protected lists. The huge multitude of mock drafts conducted by the Seattle group of executives, scouts and hockey analytics experts will switch from mock to real.

Plus, other NHL teams and fans will be able see and debate those protected lists Sunday too. It's going to make for engaging weekend reading. Check back in this space Sunday for the lists, which players become officially eligible and more. The wait for Kraken fans is on a short clock.

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Edmonton Oilers to welcome Seattle Kraken in preseason matchups

Oil On Whyte 14 July, 2021 - 05:00am

Seattle Kraken (Photo by Jim Bennett/Getty Images)

The NHL season is still months away, but on Twitter, one can not already be excited about the 2021-22 NHL season. The Edmonton Oilers already have a matchup waiting for them during free agency.

The Seattle Kraken‘s first NHL preseason schedule is set, and the Edmonton Oilers are one of the teams they will be facing off against. The Oilers and Kraken will be getting used to each other over the coming seasons, as the two will be in the same division.

Considering both of these teams will be in the Pacific, one would think they will be playing each other often throughout the regular season. Whether or not Seattle is as successful as the previous expansion team is still up for grabs.

It is interesting to think about these two teams playing each other because, well the Kraken do not have any players on their roster yet. The expansion draft will be next week and it will be interesting to see the type of talent they will be able to pull into their organization.

"It will be an honor to play them in hockey communities across the state. I know our players will be excited." #SeaKraken GM @RonFrancis10

The first Kraken preseason schedule is set with our “home” games taking place in arenas across Washington State → https://t.co/DObJuRvNqK pic.twitter.com/CIBpV1MOk3

— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) July 13, 2021

The Oilers’ preseason games will be a good time to feel out the additions they make to their roster this offseason. I am excited to see Duncan Keith play in his first game in an Oilers uniform, and I think the entire group will be hungry for some success following the early exit from the playoffs.

Now when thinking about the regular season it is interesting to note that the Oilers dominated the Vegas Golden Knights, the previous expansion team during their first matchup. Edmonton beat Vegas 8-2 during their first matchup in November of 2017.

The two teams have faced off 11 times throughout their history and Edmonton has a record of 5-5-1 all-time against the Golden Knights. This new expansion team needs to be easy points for the Oilers this coming season.

This is not the time for the Oilers to barely make the playoffs. This team needs to be at the top of the standings, and then they need a good playoff year. Edmonton is always talked about as a team that can play well throughout the regular season, but now they need to prove their value in the postseason as well.

The Kraken and Oilers will faceoff during their first preseason game in Edmonton on September 28th, 2021. The season is fastly approaching, and I cannot wait for it.

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