Who Are the Seattle Kraken? What to Know About the NHL's Newest Team

The Seattle Kraken recently became the NHL's newest expansion team and they are scheduled to begin drafting players on Wednesday night.

The NHL first announced Seattle as the city for the league's newest expansion team in 2018 after an approval vote by the league's Board of Governors.

"Expanding to Seattle makes the National Hockey League more balanced, even more whole and even more vibrant," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in 2018. "A team in Seattle evens the number of teams in our two conferences, brings our geographic footprint into greater equilibrium and creates instant new rivalries out west, particularly between Seattle and Vancouver."

In July 2020, the NHL announced the league's Seattle team will be named the Kraken and unveiled their logo featuring a large "S" to show support for their home city.

"The Seattle franchise has worked diligently to pick a team name, colors and logo that honor its deep roots in our game," Bettman said in announcing the team's name. "The jersey design is terrific, and I can't wait to see NHL Players wear the unique and distinctive 'S' on their chests on Opening Night; it will have special meaning for Seattle hockey fans. I'm thrilled to welcome the Seattle Kraken into the National Hockey League."

In July 2019, the team announced they were hiring Ron Francis for the role of general manager.

In a statement, the team's CEO Tod Leiweke said, "After seven months of due diligence, research, conversations, interviews and evaluation, we are thrilled to announce Ron as our GM."

In announcing the team's name, Francis said Seattle is a city with a "a deep maritime history."

"I think this name embodies a connection with the sea and a curiosity of what lies beneath it. It's a natural tie to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest," Francis said.

The Kraken then named Dave Hackstol as their head coach on June 24. Prior to being named the head coach of the league's newest expansion team, Hackstol served as a Toronto Maple Leafs' assistant coach as well as the Philadelphia Flyers' head coach.
In a statement announcing Hackstol as the head coach, Francis said he was looking for a "leader with NHL head coach experience."

On Wednesday, the Kraken are set to begin their expansion draft, following the same rules used by the Las Vegas Golden Knights in 2017.

According to the NHL, the Kraken will select one player from 30 NHL teams, with the exception of the Golden Knights. On Saturday, each of the 30 NHL teams announced a list of protected players that the Kraken are unable to draft.

The NHL allowed teams to protect at least 11 players, including seven forwards, three defenseman and one goaltender. Teams were also allowed to protect just nine players if they wanted to protect more defensemen.

A full list of the teams and the players the Kraken can draft can be found here.

In addition to the available players already on NHL teams, the Kraken will also be allowed to draft players that are considered restricted or unrestricted free agents.
According to USA Today, Francis recently said, "We've got $81.5 million of cap space to play with, so that's certainly something we want to make sure we try to take advantage of moving forward."

While the full list of drafted players will be announced on Wednesday night, the Associated Press reported the team has already said it plans to draft Edmonton Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson and Florida Panthers goalie Chris Driedger.

According to AP, sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said the Kraken signed Larsson to a four-year contract worth $16 million, while Driedger was signed to a $10.5 million, three-year contract.

Seattle Kraken
The Seattle Kraken will conduct their expansion draft on Wednesday. The logo of the NHL's newest expansion team can be seen outside of the team's store on August 21, 2020, in Seattle. Jim Bennett/Getty