On October 12, 2021, the NHL will “Release the Kraken”. Seattle hockey fans have waited a long time for this day and Vegas will be a great challenge. As the newest expansion side, many fans have no idea what to expect? We expected little from Vegas but in their first season, they made a cup final. What surprises will GM Ron Francis and Head Coach Dave Hakstol have up their sleeves? Well hockey fans, let’s find out…
Here are some things to expect from our new friends Seattle Kraken!
A Balanced Roster
During the expansion draft, the Kraken resisted the urge to draft the biggest names. Carey Price admitted he thought he was heading to Seattle. However, cap space is essential that first year so Seattle took a cost-effective route. At first glance, their roster doesn’t look special. When you look closer you see there is potential for a solid campaign. Mark Giordano, Yanni Gourde, Jordan Eberle and Vince Dunn were just a few key names acquired in the entry draft.
Seattle is not looking to blow away the competition with names but instead establish consistency. First campaigns can be rough for a new franchise and fans can be lost easily with poor form. Based on their pre-season form (won 4, lost 2) they are ready to battle it out. Free agency was where the Kraken made a good splash. The Avs and Phillip Grubauer were unable to reach terms so the Kraken swooped. Getting a goalie entering his prime gives them a major shot in the arm.
They also added attacking options with Marcus Johansson, Alexander Wennberg and Jaden Schwartz. Adam Larsson arrived on a cap-friendly 4-year deal which bolsters an already decent blue line. Seattle is ready to do battle and they have a roster capable of the fight.
Room for Growth
Seattle doesn’t have the entertainment factor of Vegas. However, they are definitely a big picture team. You get the sense that with a few tweaks in the coming season they could be a contender. Their cap-friendly side gives them a possibility to contend while also keeping in mind any late-season trades. They have a good base from which to develop. Vegas were keen to make a splash in their first season because it was the ultimate spectacle. Seattle is clearly aiming to pick their roster wisely while keeping their eyes open for the future. I feel this is a franchise capable of doing so much in just a few years.
A Passionate Fan Base
Seattle has always been touted as a great hockey city, now they have their franchise. For a city that includes the Seahawks, Mariners and Sounders, Seatown is not short of passion. When the puck drops, Climate Pledge Arena will be rocking. The arrival of this franchise sets up some great Western Conference fan rivalries. Shaq and Penny Oleksiak are just a couple of athletes rocking Kraken threads. Expect Seattle fans to be loud during this first season and for this to continue in years to come!
A New Rivalry in the West
Vancouver fans (such as myself) are salivating over this new match up. The Pacific division now has a now young pretender in the midst. Like all new upstarts, there will be a desire among franchises to show how hard the road ahead will be. During pre-season, the Kraken showed they are no pushover. Vancouver and Seattle are less than 229 KM’s apart, this is a budding rivalry that could see some spicy games ahead. All I can say is… bring it on!
However, each team in the Pacific will be keen to establish dominance early. Expect some great matchups this season and for Seattle to ruffle some feathers!
Here’s to hopefully a successful new season ahead and please for opening night- get Liam Neeson to introduce the team! All together now… “RELEASE THE KRAKEN!”