The Seattle Kraken expansion draft didn’t exactly go off without a hitch. All of the team’s picks were leaked ahead of the official announcement, there were some audio issues, as well as some pronunciation issues of the more unusual name from their celebrity guests.
One of the more hilarious moments was when the ESPN broadcast kicked things off by listing some of the big names who were left unprotected — names like Gabriel Landeskog, Carey Price, and P.K. Subban — knowing full well that the Kraken had picked none of them.
Still, it was a successful event for the Kraken, who attracted a large outdoor crowd to the expansion draft. The crowd proved themselves as true hockey fans when they lustily booed NHL commissioner Gary Bettman as he stepped to the microphone.
There was also another key announcement during the event, as they announced the date and opponent for their home opener.
On October 23rd, the Kraken will host the Vancouver Canucks.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Canucks will be the first team to visit Seattle. As soon as it was announced that Seattle would be joining the NHL, the potential for a geographical rivalry between the two teams was immediately hyped up.
The Canucks will also welcome the Kraken to the NHL with their first preseason game on September 26 in Spokane, WA and they’ll also end the preseason with a game at Rogers Arena on October 5. There’s a clear opportunity to develop a rivalry right off the bat.
The Kraken will be opening the season on the road, partly because Climate Pledge Arena — accidentally announced as Climate Change Arena by Gary Bettman — isn’t expected to be ready until mid-October. They’ll open their season in Las Vegas against the Golden Knights on October 12.
It’s unclear yet just how good the Kraken will be. They avoided most of the big names available to them — likely because they also came with big contracts — but still look to have a solid defence corps and good goaltending.
They also have all sorts of cap space available heading into free agency and any trades that the Kraken might have made to acquire players, picks, or prospects as side deals for the expansion draft have yet to be announced.
The addition of Jared McCann to the Kraken roster has the potential to create some sparks. McCann will have a big opportunity with the Kraken and will likely be looking to put up some points against the Canucks, who traded him away in 2016. Perhaps he'll even play on a line with Kole Lind, the Kraken's selection from the Canucks.
At the very least, the Kraken’s social media team is doing their best to create a rivalry with Vancouver.
With the two teams so close together, there's obviously the opportunity to travel to Seattle to take in a game between the Kraken and the Canucks. So, how about it Canucks fans? Will you be driving down I-5 next season to watch a Canucks game in Seattle?