SEATTLE — When the calendar flips to this time of year, there is normally a mix and anger and resentment for sports fans in this corner of the country.
Not this year. Not with one of the biggest moments yet in the creation of the newest NHL franchise about to take place today with the Seattle Kraken expansion draft, during which the team will set the foundation for its first roster.
“I get emotional about this, but it was three-and-a-half years ago that the fans took this huge leap of faith,” Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke said. “And now it’s payback time.”
In an odd synergy of the calendar, the pandemic-related changes to the NHL season landed the expansion draft at a time that brings back painful memories for sports fans in Seattle.
It was 15 years ago this week — July 18, 2006, to be exact — that the NBA’s SuperSonics were sold to owners from outside the region. A two-year fight followed that eventually led to the relocation of Seattle’s first pro sports team to Oklahoma City.
Seattle finally will get a winter pro sports replacement with the debut of the Kraken in October. Short of being awarded the franchise in December 2018, and the completion of its home arena, the expansion draft is the biggest step for Seattle and filling the void of what was lost more than a decade ago.
“It’s really about the players and the fans and tomorrow is the coming together of those two things,” Leiweke said. “It’s just powerful. Some fans feel it’s a long time coming. For me, it’s been three-and-a-half years coming, got some gray hairs as a result of it. But I think the fans are going to really like what they see.”
The unveiling of the Kraken selections will be a quintessential Seattle event. It’s being broadcast from Gas Works Park on the north shore of Lake Union with picturesque shots of the skyline in the background. Fans will be in the park, but the team has asked for a flotilla of fans to assemble on boats, paddleboards and kayaks on the water.
The NHL has recruited local sports celebrities to help announce the selections, including a nod to the SuperSonics with the inclusion of Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp and Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens.
Marshawn Lynch and Sue Bird are taking part as well. The Kraken jersey will be unveiled for the first time.
And yes, there will be a fish getting tossed at Pike Place Market as a way to reveal one of the selections.
“The goal here is to show off Seattle and show off the team to not only the hockey fans of the world, but the sports fans,” said Steve Mayer, the NHL’s chief content officer. “This is a cool moment.”
While the night will include plenty of pomp and circumstance, the team’s future ultimately rests with the decisions made by general manager Ron Francis and the rest of the Kraken front office. The 669 players left unprotected for the expansion draft created numerous avenues for Seattle, from trying to match the success of Vegas from its inaugural season to going younger and cheaper and looking to develop long-term.
Seattle must take at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies, and spend at least $48 million of its $81.5 million in salary cap space.
The biggest decision could come at goalie. Montreal’s Carey Price, fresh off a sterling playoff run, is available but at a cost of $10.5 million per year for five more seasons and questions about his health. Price would be an instant face of the franchise with significant connections to the Pacific Northwest, but his salary hit could limit Seattle’s maneuverability.
There are also big names like Vladimir Tarasenko, Gabriel Landeskog, Mark Giordano, Ryan Johansen, Max Domi, Tyler Johnson and P.K. Subban all floating out there as potential selections if Seattle wants established veterans anchoring its roster.
“I certainly think there’s going to be some good players available,” Francis said. “Hopefully when they get selected here we can get them into town, and walk out on stage and they can become sort of the early faces of our Seattle Kraken lineup and the fans will relate to them as well.”
NHL Expansion Draft
Available Players List
Expansion Draft today
ANAHEIM — Forwards: Andrew Agozzino, David Backes, Sam Carrick, Chase De Leo, Ryan Getzlaf, Derek Grant, Danton Heinen, Adam Henrique, Vinni Lettieri, Sonny Milano, Andrew Poturalski, Carter Rowney, Nick Sorensen, Alexander Volkov. Defensemen: Trevor Carrick, Haydn Fleury, Brendan Guhle, Jacob Larsson, Josh Mahura, Kevin Shattenkirk, Andy Welinski. Goalies: Ryan Miller, Anthony Stolarz.
ARIZONA — Forwards: Derick Brassard, Michael Bunting, Brayden Burke, Michael Chaput, Hudson Fasching, Christian Fischer, Frederik Gauthier, John Hayden, Dryden Hunt, Andrew Ladd, Lane Pederson, Tyler Pitlick, Blake Speers, Tyler Steenbergen. Defensemen: Jason Demers, Cam Dineen, Alex Goligoski, Jordan Gross, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Ilya Lyubushkin, Dysin Mayo, Aaron Ness, Jordan Oesterle, Vili Saarijarvi. Goalies: Josef Korenar, Marek Langhamer, Antti Raanta.
BOSTON — Forwards: Anton Blidh, Paul Carey, Peter Cehlarik, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Taylor Hall, Cameron Hughes, Ondrej Kase, Alex Khokhlachev, Joona Koppanen, David Krejci, Karson Kuhlman, Sean Kuraly, Curtis Lazar, Greg McKegg, Nick Ritchie, Zach Senyshyn, Chris Wagner. Defensemen: Linus Arnesson Connor Clifton, Steven Kampfer, Jeremy Lauzon, Kevan Miller, John Moore, Mike Reilly, Jarred Tinordi, Jakub Zboril. Goalies: Callum Booth, Jaroslav Halak, Tuukka Rask.
BUFFALO — Forwards: Drake Caggiula, Jean-Sebastien Dea, Cody Eakin, Steven Fogarty, Zemgus Girgensons, Andrew Oglevie, Kyle Okposo, Tobias Rieder, Riley Sheahan, Jeff Skinner, C.J. Smith, Defensemen: Will Borgen. Brandon Davidson, Matt Irwin, Jake McCabe, Colin Miller, Casey Nelson. Goalies: Michael Houser, Carter Hutton, Dustin Tokarski.
CALGARY — Forwards: Byron Froese, Glenn Gawdin, Justin Kirkland, Josh Leivo, Milan Lucic, Joakim Nordstrom, Matthew Phillips, Zac Rinaldo, Brett Ritchie, Buddy Robinson, Derek Ryan, Dominik Simon, Defensemen: Mark Giordano, Oliver Kylington, Nikita Nesterov, Alexander Petrovic, Michael Stone, Goalies: Louis Domingue, Tyler Parsons.
CAROLINA — Forwards: Morgan Geekie, Steven Lorentz, Jordan Martinook, Max McCormick, Brock McGinn, Nino Niederreiter, Cedric Paquette, Sheldon Rempal, Drew Shore, Spencer Smallman. Defensemen: Jake Bean, Jake Gardiner, Eric Gelinas, Jani Hakanpaa, Dougie Hamilton, Maxime Lajoie, Roland McKeown, Joakim Ryan, David Warsofsky. Goalies: Antoine Bibeau, Jeremy Helvig, Petr Mrazek, James Reimer, Dylan Wells.
CHICAGO — Forwards: Ryan Carpenter, Brett Connolly, Josh Dickinson, Adam Gaudette, Vinnie Hinostroza, Brandon Pirri, John Quenneville, Zack Smith. Defensemen: Calvin de Haan, Anton Lindholm, Nikita Zadorov. Goalies: Collin Delia, Malcolm Subban.
COLORADO — Forwards: Travis Barron, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Matt Calvert, J.T. Compher, Joonas Donskoi, Sheldon Dries, Vladislav Kamenev, Gabriel Landeskog, Ty Lewis, Jayson Megna, Liam O’Brien, Brandon Saad, Miikka Salomaki, Kiefer Sherwood, Carl Soderberg, T.J. Tynan, Mike Vecchione. Defensemen: Kyle Burroughs, Dennis Gilbert, Erik Johnson, Jacob MacDonald, Patrik Nemeth, Dan Renouf. Goalies: Devan Dubnyk, Jonas Johansson, Hunter Miska.
COLUMBUS — Forwards: Zac Dalpe, Max Domi, Nathan Gerbe, Mikhail Grigorenko, Ryan MacInnis, Stefan Matteau, Cliff Pu, Kole Sherwood, Kevin Stenlund, Calvin Thurkauf, Daniel Zaar. Defensemen: Gavin Bayreuther, Gabriel Carlsson, Adam Clendening, Michael Del Zotto, Scott Harrington, Dean Kukan. Goalies: Cameron Johnson.
DALLAS — Forwards: Nick Caamano, Andrew Cogliano, Blake Comeau, Justin Dowling, Tanner Kero, Joel L’Esperance, Adam Mascherin, Matej Stransky. Defensemen: Taylor Fedun, Ben Gleason, Joel Hanley, Niklas Hansson, Julius Honka, Jamie Oleksiak, Mark Pysyk, Andrej Sekera, Sami Vatanen. Goalies: Ben Bishop, Landon Bow, Colton Point.
DETROIT — Forwards: Riley Barber, Kyle Criscuolo, Turner Elson, Valtteri Filppula, Sam Gagner, Luke Glendening, Darren Helm, Taro Hirose, Vladislav Namestnikov, Frans Nielsen, Bobby Ryan, Evgeny Svechnikov, Dominic Turgeon, Hayden Verbeek. Defensemen: Alex Biega, Dennis Cholowski, Danny DeKeyser, Christian Djoos, Joe Hicketts, Dylan McIlrath, Marc Staal, Troy Stecher. Goalies: Jonathan Bernier, Kevin Boyle, Kaden Fulcher, Calvin Pickard.
EDMONTON — Forwards: Tyler Benson, Alex Chiasson, Adam Cracknell, Tyler Ennis, Joseph Gambardella, Seth Griffith, Dominik Kahun, Jujhar Khaira, Cooper Marody, James Neal, Alan Quine, Patrick Russell, Devin Shore, Anton Slepyshev, Kyle Turris, Bogdan Yakimov. Defensemen: Tyson Barrie, Oscar Klefbom, Slater Koekkoek, Dmitry Kulikov, William Lagesson, Adam Larsson, Kris Russell. Goalies: Mikko Koskinen, Mike Smith, Alex Stalock.
FLORIDA — Forwards: Noel Acciari, Patrick Bajkov, Juho Lammikko, Ryan Lomberg, Brad Morrison, Aleksi Saarela, Frank Vatrano, Lucas Wallmark, Alex Wennberg, Scott Wilson. Defensemen: Lucas Carlsson, Kevin Connauton, Tommy Cross, Radko Gudas, Noah Juulsen, Brady Keeper, Brandon Montour, Markus Nutivaara, Ethan Prow, Anton Stralman. Goalies: Philippe Desrosiers, Chris Driedger, Sam Montembeault.
LOS ANGELES — Forwards: Andreas Athanasiou, Michael Eyssimont, Martin Frk, Carl Grundstrom, Bokondji Imama, Brendan Lemieux, Blake Lizotte, Matt Luff, Drake Rymsha, Austin Wagner. Defensemen: Mark Alt, Daniel Brickley, Kale Clague, Olli Maatta, Kurtis MacDermid, Jacob Moverare, Austin Strand, Christian Wolanin. Goalies: Troy Grosenick, Jonathan Quick.
MINNESOTA — Forwards: William Bitten, Nick Bjugstad, Nick Bonino, Joseph Cramarossa, Gabriel Dumont, Marcus Johansson, Luke Johnson, Victor Rask, Kyle Rau, Mason Shaw, Dmitry Sokolov. Defensemen: Matt Bartkowski, Louie Belpedio, Ian Cole, Brad Hunt, Ian McCoshen, Brennan Menell, Dakota Mermis, Carson Soucy. Goalies: Andrew Hammond, Kaapo Kahkonen.
MONTREAL — Forwards: Brandon Baddock, Joseph Blandisi, Paul Byron, Phillip Danault, Laurent Dauphin, Jonathan Drouin, Michael Frolik, Charles Hudon, Corey Perry, Michael Pezzetta, Eric Staal, Tomas Tatar, Lukas Vejdemo, Jordan Weal. Defensemen: Cale Fleury, Erik Gustafsson, Brett Kulak, Jon Merrill, Gustav Olofsson, Xavier Ouellet, Shea Weber. Goalies: Charlie Lindgren, Michael McNiven, Carey Price.
NASHVILLE — Forwards: Michael Carcone, Nick Cousins, Matt Duchene, Mikael Granlund, Rocco Grimaldi, Erik Haula, Calle Jarnkrok, Ryan Johansen, Sean Malone, Michael McCarron, Rem Pitlick, Anthony Richard, Brad Richardson, Colton Sissons, Yakov Trenin. Defensemen: Frederic Allard, Matt Benning, Mark Borowiecki, Erik Gudbranson, Ben Harpur, Josh Healey, Tyler Lewington. Goalies: Connor Ingram, Kasimir Kaskisuo, Pekka Rinne.
NEW JERSEY — Forwards: Nathan Bastian, Christoph Bertschy, Brandon Gignac, A.J. Greer, Andreas Johnsson, Ivan Khomutov, Nicholas Merkley, Brett Seney, Ben Street, Marian Studenic. Defensemen: Will Butcher, Connor Carrick, Josh Jacobs, Ryan Murray, David Quenneville, Colby Sissons, P.K. Subban, Matt Tennyson, Colton White. Goalies: Evan Cormier, Aaron Dell, Scott Wedgewood.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS — Forwards: Josh Bailey, Cole Bardreau, Kieffer Bellows, Casey Cizikas, Austin Czarnik, Michael Dal Colle, Jordan Eberle, Tanner Fritz, Joshua Ho-Sang, Ross Johnston, Otto Koivula, Leo Komarov, Kyle Palmieri, Richard Panik, Dmytro Timashov, Travis Zajac. Defensemen: Sebastian Aho, Braydon Coburn, Andy Greene, Thomas Hickey, Mitchell Vande Sompel, Parker Wotherspoon. Goalies: Ken Appleby, Cory Schneider.
NEW YORK RANGERS — Forwards: Colin Blackwell, Jonny Brodzinski, Phillip Di Giuseppe, Gabriel Fontaine, Julien Gauthier, Tim Gettinger, Barclay Goodrow, Anthony Greco, Ty Ronning. Defensemen: Anthony Bitetto, Brandon Crawley, Tony DeAngelo, Nick DeSimone, Mason Geertsen, Jack Johnson, Darren Raddysh, Brendan Smith. Goalies: Keith Kinkaid.
OTTAWA — Forwards: Vitaly Abramov, Michael Amadio, Artem Anisimov, J.C. Beaudin, Clark Bishop, Evgenii Dadonov, Jonathan Davidsson, Ryan Dzingel, Micheal Haley, Jack Kopacka, Zachary Magwood, Matthew Peca, Logan Shaw, Derek Stepan, Chris Tierney. Defensemen: Josh Brown, Cody Goloubef, Mikael Wikstrand. Goalies: Joey Daccord, Anton Forsberg, Marcus Hogberg, Matt Murray.
PHILADELPHIA — Forwards: Andy Andreoff, Connor Bunnaman, David Kase, Pascal Laberge, Samuel Morin, German Rubtsov, Carsen Twarynski, James van Riemsdyk, Jakub Voracek, Mikhail Vorobyev. Defensemen: Chris Bigras, Justin Braun, Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Derrick Pouliot, Nate Prosser, Tyler Wotherspoon. Goalies: Brian Elliott, Alex Lyon, Felix Sandstrom.
PITTSBURGH — Forwards: Pontus Aberg, Anthony Angello, Zach Aston-Reese, Josh Currie, Frederick Gaudreau, Mark Jankowski, Sam Lafferty, Sam Miletic, Evan Rodrigues, Colton Sceviour, Brandon Tanev, Jason Zucker. Defensemen: Cody Ceci, Kevin Czuczman, Mark Friedman, Jesper Lindgren, Andrey Pedan, Marcus Pettersson, Juuso Riikola, Chad Ruhwedel, Yannick Weber. Goalies: Casey DeSmith, Maxime Lagace.
SAN JOSE — Forwards: Ryan Donato, Kurtis Gabriel, Dylan Gambrell, Jayden Halbgewachs, Maxim Letunov, Patrick Marleau, Matt Nieto, Marcus Sorensen, Alexander True. Defensemen: Christian Jaros, Nicolas Meloche, Jacob Middleton, Greg Pateryn, Radim Simek. Goalies: Martin Jones.
ST. LOUIS — Forwards: Sam Anas, Sammy Blais, Tyler Bozak, Kyle Clifford, Jacob de la Rose, Mike Hoffman, Tanner Kaspick, Mackenzie MacEachern, Curtis McKenzie, Austin Poganski, Zach Sanford, Jaden Schwartz, Nolan Stevens, Vladimir Tarasenko, Nathan Walker. Defensemen: Robert Bortuzzo, Vince Dunn, Petteri Lindbohm, Niko Mikkola, Mitch Reinke, Steven Santini, Marco Scandella. Goalies: Jake Walman, Evan Fitzpatrick, Jon Gillies, Ville Husso.
TAMPA BAY — Forwards: Alex Barre-Boulet, Blake Coleman, Ross Colton, Yanni Gourde, Tyler Johnson, Mathieu Joseph, Boris Katchouk, Alex Killorn, Pat Maroon, Boo Nieves, Ondrej Palat, Taylor Raddysh, Gemel Smith, Otto Somppi, Mitchell Stephens, Daniel Walcott, Luke Witkowski. Defensemen: Andreas Borgman, Fredrik Claesson, Sean Day, Cal Foote, Brian Lashoff, Dominik Masin, Jan Rutta, David Savard, Luke Schenn, Ben Thomas. Goalies: Christopher Gibson, Spencer Martin, Curtis McElhinney.
TORONTO — Forwards: Kenny Agostino, Joey Anderson, Adam Brooks, Pierre Engvall, Nick Foligno, Alex Galchenyuk, Zach Hyman, Alexander Kerfoot, Kalle Kossila, Denis Malgin, Jared McCann, Riley Nash, Stefan Noesen, Nic Petan, Scott Sabourin, Wayne Simmonds, Jason Spezza, Antti Suomela, Joe Thornton. Defensemen: Zach Bogosian, Travis Dermott, Ben Hutton, Martin Marincin, Calle Rosen. Goalies: Frederik Andersen, Michael Hutchinson, David Rittich.
VANCOUVER — Forwards: Sven Baertschi, Justin Bailey, Jay Beagle, Travis Boyd, Loui Eriksson, Jonah Gadjovich, Tyler Graovac, Jayce Hawryluk, Matthew Highmore, Lukas Jasek, Kole Lind, Zack MacEwen, Petrus Palmu, Antoine Roussel, Brandon Sutter, Jimmy Vesey, Jake Virtanen. Defensemen: Madison Bowey, Guillaume Brisebois, Jalen Chatfield, Alexander Edler, Travis Hamonic, Brogan Rafferty, Ashton Sautner, Josh Teves. Goalies: Braden Holtby.
WASHINGTON — Forwards: Daniel Carr, Nic Dowd, Shane Gersich, Carl Hagelin, Garnet Hathaway, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, Alex Ovechkin, Garrett Pilon, Brian Pinho, Michael Raffl, Michael Sgarbossa, Conor Sheary. Defensemen: Zdeno Chara, Brenden Dillon, Nick Jensen, Lucas Johansen, Michal Kempny, Paul LaDue, Cameron Schilling, Justin Schultz. Goalies: Craig Anderson, Pheonix Copley, Zach Fucale, Vitek Vanecek.
WINNIPEG — Forwards: Mason Appleton, Marko Dano, Jansen Harkins, Trevor Lewis, Skyler McKenzie, Mathieu Perreault, Paul Stastny, CJ Suess, Nate Thompson, Dominic Toninato. Defensemen: Nathan Beaulieu, Jordie Benn, Dylan DeMelo, Derek Forbort, Luke Green, Sami Niku, Nelson Nogier, Tucker Poolman. Goalies: Mikhail Berdin, Laurent Brossoit, Eric Comrie, Cole Kehler.