If you thought the pandemic has had a negative effect on the hype surrounding the Seattle Kraken expansion team, you would be wrong. With the Kraken set to officially enter the league late this season followed by formally forming a roster in the 2021 Expansion Draft next summer, the NHL’s newest club is having no trouble drumming excitement amid the COVID chaos. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun relays word from Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke that the team expects to have sold out of their season ticket package offerings by February or earlier. The club was forced to cap season tickets as demand continued to grow, limiting the number to 15,000 of a total 17,000+ available seats. They also expect a waiting list for season tickets before the puck even drops on their inaugural season. There appears to be no shortage of anticipation for Kraken hockey in Seattle.
- While the Kraken won’t be able to ice a team until the 2021-22 season, they will be involved in roster transactions before then. LeBrun notes that the Coronavirus pandemic has not impacted Seattle’s ability to maintain their installment payments to the league on their expansion fee. Assuming that continues, the club will have paid their $650MM entry fee by March. At that point, they will be eligible to join in league functions such as Board of Governors’ and GM’s Meetings and can begin making trades and signing free agents from the junior, collegiate, and European ranks.
- One area that the Kraken will not skimp on is analytics. As Ryan Clark writes for The Athletic, Seattle is already believed to have put together the second-largest analytics staff in the league even though they are still a year away from even playing a game. It’s a diverse group who aren’t all necessarily experienced in the way of hockey analytics, but it is a talented group nonetheless. Statistics will clearly play a major role for the new franchise, who have a number of major decisions to make in the impending Expansion Draft.