Say hello to the Seattle Kraken. The new expansion franchise and 32nd NHL team has officially announced its name after months of anticipation. The team will go with a blue and teal color scheme as they prepare to join the league for the 2021-22 season. They will play at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, where a full reconstruction of the old KeyArena is taking place.
After the success of the Vegas Golden Knights, it quickly became apparent that the league would be looking for another strong ownership group to bring the 32nd franchise into play. When high-profile financial backers like David Bonderman and Jerry Bruckheimer partnered with sports executive Tod Leiweke, that group was an obvious choice. Seattle as a market had been explored in the past and when the arena work was started it was obvious that an NHL team would follow.
The Kraken are expected to join the Pacific Division for the 2021-22 season, with the Arizona Coyotes switching to the Central at that time. There is an obvious geographical rivalry with the Vancouver Canucks that will likely be pushed by the league, but it’s hard to know just how well Seattle will navigate the expansion process.
The Golden Knights were one of the greatest expansion stories in sports history, making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals in their inaugural season. That’s thanks to the exceptional roster they built through savvy expansion draft maneuvers, something that may not be quite as easy for Seattle to accomplish.
Teams will have plenty of time to prepare their rosters for the draft—which will have the same rules, although Vegas will not take part—in order to not hand over the same kind of leverage to the Kraken. That said, with the flat salary cap there may be even more cash-strapped teams looking for help, something that Seattle GM Ron Francis could take advantage of.
According to Leiweke in today’s press conference, Seattle has already received over 10,000 season-ticket deposits and has more than 40,000 people on the waiting list.