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The Seattle Kraken are off to the races in the NHL following the expansion draft on Wednesday night.
Headlining the selections from Wednesday’s expansion draft are two-time Stanley Cup-champion and former Lightning winger Yanni Gourde, former Penguins’ winger Brandon Tanev and former Calgary Flames’ longtime Captain Mark Giordano.
Chris Driedger will be the starting goaltender while the rest of the roster consists of veteran wingers and defensemen. Other selections include former Islanders’ winger Jordan Eberle, former Penguins’ winger Brandon Tanev, former Dallas Stars’ defenseman Jamie Oleksiak and former Edmonton Oiler defenseman Adam Larsson.
The Kraken went heavy on the defensive/physicality mold rather than selecting a lot of star players.
During the expansion draft broadcast, Head Coach Dave Hakstol spoke about the selections: “The message is this: Let’s come together, let’s play hard for one another and let’s play hard for the city of Seattle.”
“We want to have a group of guys that know what it is to be a great teammate, know what it is to be a competitive teammate and push one another to be at their very best. We want to have a bunch of selfless guys in our locker room that know how to go out and play hard together, and win together.”
Unlike the Vegas Golden Knights who were the last expansion team, Seattle tried to keep everything from leaking out. Although a couple hours before Wednesday’s draft, leaks were made via Twitter on players who were selected.
General Manager of the Seattle Kraken Ron Francis said: “There hadn’t been an expansion draft in 17 years. Vegas did a good job taking advantage of the rules and everyone’s lack of experience in that environment. But the minute that one was done, they knew we were coming in.”
The Seattle Kraken have a stout blue line and primarily will focus on shutting down their opponents. The Kraken are set to play their inaugural home game on October 23rd versus the Vancouver Canucks. In that game they will be wearing their home deep sea blue and red threading jerseys.
Next on the bucket list for the Kraken will be managing their cap space, which is approximately around $30 million. The free agency period starts on July 28th.
Owners David Bonderman, Jerry Bruckheimer and Tod Leiweke should be impressed with the work thus far and look to build a great 32nd organization that will will thrive in the NHL for the upper west coast.