Mark your calendars! The Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft will take place on July 21st, 2021. Yesterday, the NHL announced a number of key dates for the coming 2020-21 NHL season and offseason. The announcement provided an updated timeline for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft process.
We now know a lot more about when and how the Kraken’s roster will start to take shape. Here’s a list of dates to keep in mind:
July 17th – Protected Lists Submitted and Published
On July 17th, the 30 participating teams will submit their protected player lists to the NHL. The lists should be published sometime the same day. Once the lists are published, we will know which players have been left exposed- and are therefore eligible to be selected by the Kraken.
July 18th – Seattle UFA Period Begins
From July 18th-20th, the Kraken will have an exclusive negotiating window with pending unrestricted free agents. In this time, the Kraken can contact exposed players whose contracts are set to expire ten days later on July 28th. This negotiating window addresses the uncertainty problem of selecting pending free agents. After all, it wouldn’t make much sense for the Kraken to select a player in the expansion draft who could then leave 10 days later via free agency. The negotiating window allows the Kraken to gauge a player’s interest in signing a new contract with Seattle should the Kraken select him in the expansion draft. If the team and player are able to reach an agreement, Seattle can select the player knowing that he will sign with them for the upcoming season.
July 21st – Expansion Draft Selection and Announcement
The Kraken are required to submit their expansion selections to the NHL for review by 10AM PT on July 21st. While league insiders will know the selections right away, the general public may have to wait a few hours to find out. If the plan is the same as it was for the Vegas Golden Knights, the selected players will be revealed in a televised event that evening.Embed from Getty Images
July 23rd – NHL Entry Draft
Two days after the Kraken fill out their roster in the expansion draft, they will start adding to their prospect pool. The NHL Entry Draft, which will be held on July 23rd and 24th, sees each team select amateur players who will be the future of the organization. The Kraken will have the third best odds of winning the draft lottery (Date TBA) and can select no lower than 6th. The Golden Knights made a whopping 12 draft picks in their first Entry Draft. Expect the Kraken to load up on young talent.
July 28th – NHL Free Agency Begins
On July 28th, the Kraken and the other 31 NHL teams will have the opportunity to bid on free agents who will be free to sign with any team. While I wouldn’t expect Kraken GM Ron Francis to be very active in free agency, there should be some big names available (Taylor Hall) that may convince Francis to make a splash with his surplus cap space.
Start The Countdown
Now that the dates have been set, we can eagerly count down the seven months to finally having a full Kraken roster. While you’re waiting, consider the Kraken’s senior hockey analyst Namita Nandakumar’s message to other teams:
“I know what will make you saddest, and that’s exactly what we’re gonna do.”
7/21/21. Get excited.