Two new eras will begin for the NHL on Wednesday night when the results of the expansion draft are revealed.
The Seattle Kraken will unveil the team that will begin play next fall in the Pacific Division as the NHL’s 32nd team.
It will also be the first major event broadcast by the NHL’s new television partners after the league ended its 15-year relationship with NBC Sports.
The Kraken are operating under the same rules that the Golden Knights had in 2017, though general managers will be more leery this time because Vegas reached the Stanley Cup Final in its inaugural season, aided by side deals.
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General manager Ron Francis said his most valuable asset is cap space.
“We’ve got $81.5 million of cap space to play with, so that’s certainly something we want to make sure we try to take advantage of moving forward,” he said.
What to know about the expansion draft:
When is the NHL expansion draft?
The announcement will be at 8 p.m. ET, but the team’s list must be submitted to the league by 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday. The Kraken will also unveil their uniforms and have some of their new players at the sold-out event at Seattle’s Gas Works Park. Sue Bird, Marshawn Lynch, Lenny Wilkens, Jordan Morris, Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Bobby Wagner and Kyle Lewis will help Francis unveil the picks.
How can I watch the NHL expansion draft?
The announcement will be shown on ESPN2, with Chris Fowler, Dominic Moore and Kevin Weekes calling it. ESPN/Disney and Turner Sports landed the league’s broadcast contracts in seven-year deals.
What are the rules for the NHL expansion draft?
The Kraken must select one player from every NHL team, except the exempt Golden Knights. Among the 30 taken, the group must include at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders. At least 20 of the players selected must be under contract for next season. The Kraken had a 72-hour exclusive negotiating period with free agents on the available list and if they sign anyone, that would count as their pick from that team.
How much can the Seattle Kraken spend?
The players’ contracts must total between $48.9 million and $81.5 million, or 60%-100% of the 2020-21 season’s upper limit for the salary cap. The team can’t buy out any player it selects until the summer after its first season. Francis says he has ownership’s permission to spend to the cap if needed.
Were there surprises on the available list?
Plenty. Carey Price, Vladimir Tarasenko, Gabriel Landeskog, Mark Giordano, Max Domi, Nino Niederreiter, Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk and others. But that doesn’t mean Francis will take them. Giordano is a possibility to be the team’s first captain.
Are players with Washington ties available?
The Golden Knights took Las Vegas resident Deryk Engelland with one of their 2017 picks and named the defenseman an alternate captain. Francis has opportunities to do that if he chooses.
Washington native T.J. Oshie was protected by the Washington Capitals, so he’s unavailable. But Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson is from Spokane, where the Kraken play their first exhibition game. Sharks center Dylan Gambrell is from nearby Bonney Lake.
Price, Chris Driedger, Ryan Murray, Brenden Dillon, Eric Comrie, Jujhar Khaira, Morgan Geekie, Dustin Tokarski and Calvin Pickard are among available players who played junior hockey in the state.
What’s next for the Seattle Kraken after Wednesday?
The league’s 2021-22 schedule, and the date of Seattle’s home opener, is scheduled to be released on Thursday. The Kraken will pick second in the entry draft on Friday. Unrestricted free agency starts July 28.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NHL expansion draft 2021: Time, top players, TV as Seattle Kraken forms team