Seattle Kraken, the National Hockey League’s (NHL) newest franchise, got their preparations
for the 2021-22 season underway as they picked 30 players from rival
teams in the expansion draft on Wednesday.

The Kraken,
who will begin their maiden NHL season from October as the league’s 32nd
club, will shortlist 23 players from the 30 players they drafted from other franchises.
Seattle was required to pick 14 forwards nine defensemen and three goaltenders,
with rival franchises allowed to protect 11 players each.

“We want
players with character who can compete hard, with skating and skills and that’s
the kind of team we’ve built,” Kraken general manager Ron Francis was quoted as
saying by AFP.

Yanni Gourde, a
29-year-old Canadian center, helped the Tampa Bay Lightning win the 2020 and 2021 Stanley
Cups. He averaged 18.5 goals a season over the past four campaigns.

Jordan Eberle, a
31-year-old Canadian who played for Edmonton and the past four seasons for the
New York Islanders, was excited to join the Kraken.

a new challenge,” he said. “You don’t get many opportunities to play
for a new franchise.”

The Kraken
hope to duplicate the success of the Vegas Golden Knights, who did not lose a
player because they only debuted in the 2017-18 campaign, when they reached the
Stanley Cup Final only to fall to Washington.

Kraken’s choices had to fall between 60% and 100% of the NHL salary cap for the
2021-22 campaign, which remains at $81.5 million.

talent on a budget helped push the Kraken to young talent rather than such
high-priced available stars as Washington winger Alex Ovechkin and Montreal
goaltender Carey Price, who backstopped the Canadiens’ run to this month’s Stanley
Cup Final.

Chris Driedger, Ottawa’s Joey Daccord and Washington’s Vitek Vanecek were the
goaltenders chosen by the Kraken.

a life-changing moment for me for sure,” Driedger said. “To be part
of the Kraken is pretty incredible.”

selected a pair of blue-line brothers, adding Anaheim defenseman Haydn Fleury
and Montreal defenseman Cale Fleury, and veteran leadership in 37-year-old
calgary defenseman Mark Giordano.

first NHL home game will be played October 23 against Vancouver. The Kraken
will debut October 12 at Vegas.