Seattle Kraken are the NHL’s newest expansion team and will begin life in the Pacific Division in the Western Conference, playing their home games at Climate Pledge Arena (a brand-new arena at Seattle Center).
The NHL approved a proposal by Seattle Hockey Partners to grant an expansion franchise to the city of Seattle back in December 2018, with the name and branding for Seattle Kraken being revealed in July 2020.
The Kraken are currently scheduled to play their first game on October 12, 2021, against the Vegas Golden Knights, with their first home game being on October 23, 2021, against the Vancouver Canucks.
They will be the first team to play professional hockey in Seattle since the Seattle Totems of the Western Hockey League played their last game in 1975 and the first to compete for the Stanley Cup since the Seattle Metropolitans folded in 1924.
Stanley Cup Betting Odds
Seattle Kraken can be backed at odds of +3500 with offshore sportsbook Bovada to win the Stanley Cup in their first season. That might seem a tall order for a new franchise, but they need look no further than their first opponents for inspiration.
Seattle Kraken @ Vegas Golden Knights
The Kraken’s inaugural game against the Vegas Golden Knights will see them facing the NHL’s last expansion team and their opponents have certainly set a benchmark that Seattle will want to emulate.
Team bonding was key for the Golden Knights and, against all expectations, it helped them progress all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals where they lost 4-1 to the Washington Capitals in their inaugural season of 2017-18.
Since that spectacular start to life for the new franchise, Vegas have continued to show that they are a force to be reckoned with in the NHL, having qualified for the postseason playoffs in all three seasons since their debut campaign.
NHL Expansion Draft
In the NHL Expansion Draft on Wednesday, July 21, the Kraken had to select at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies. Twenty of the 30 players selected had to have contracts for 2021-22 and all contracts had to be cap-compliant (the cap ceiling for 2021-22 is $81.5 million).
The one franchise that was exempt from losing a player in the Expansion Draft was the Golden Knights.
The Kraken made some good initial signings for their roster with the following acquisitions:
- Mark Giordano
- Adam Larsson
- Vince Dunn
- Jamie Oleksiak
- Brandon Tanev
- Jordan Eberle
They then made some excellent signings in free agency trades, including goalie Philipp Grubauer (a Vezina Trophy finalist last season) from Colorado Avalanche to a six-year deal worth $5.9 million annually.
Last season was the best of Grubauer’s nine-year career, with him leading the league with seven shutouts. He was also second in wins (30) and goals-against average (1.95) and eighth in save percentage (.923).
However, the contract fell foul of the NHL, whose central registry rejected it because it violated the league’s requirements for a front-loaded contract. The reason for the rejection was that the $1.5 million variance in salary from 2022-23 ($6 million) to 2023-24 ($7.5 million) exceeds 25% of the first-year salary on the contract ($5 million).
The contract had to be restructured and resubmitted to the NHL for approval, with reports in the Seattle Times claiming that the Kraken had already done so, taking $250,000 from the third year and adding it to the second year, pending the league’s review.
Other Kraken Signings
They also added former St. Louis Blues forward Jaden Schwartz on a five-year, $27.5 million deal. The 29-year-old left winger who scored 154 goals and added 231 assists in 560 games with the Blues.
The Kraken also have a three-year deal with former Florida Panthers forward Alex Wennberg, with an annual average value of $4.5 million. The 26-year-old Wennberg had a career-high 17 goals last season, plus 12 assists. His best season came in 2016-17, when he had 59 points for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Seattle Kraken Odds
Seattle will not expect to repeat the success that the Golden Knights had in their inaugural season, but they should have enough quality on their roster to ensure that they are able to compete on level terms with their rivals.
A place in the postseason playoffs is certainly a target that they will feel that they can achieve. Betting odds reaching the playoffs, point totals and other markets should become available with the online sportsbooks as the new NHL season draws closer.
Total Points Betting Line Set at 87.5
Following an unimpressive expansion draft, Seattle are likely struggle to surpass the early total points betting line of 87.5 set by DraftKings in their first season. The Kraken have a few excellent core players, notably Mark Giordano, but they lack exceptional quality on their squad.
* NHL odds correct at the time of writing. All betting odds subject to changes.