The NHL’s 32nd franchise, the Seattle Kraken kicked off their expansion draft in front of the scenic Lake Union on national television on ESPN2. Fans were treated to an exciting event with local celebrities from sports stars such as Gary Payton, Bobby Wagner and even rapper and songwriter Macklemore. Fans were out in full force both at Gas Works Park and on the water in various types of vessels. The Kraken selected one player from each team with the exception of the Vegas Golden Knights since they were the last expansion team four years ago. Speaking of Vegas, the Kraken will travel to the Sin City to take on the Golden Knights for their first regular season matchup. Seattle’s selections were as follows:
- Jeremy Lauzon – D – Boston Bruins
- Will Borgen – D – Buffalo Sabres
- Dennis Cholowski – D – Detroit Red Wings
- Chris Driedger – G – Florida Panthers
- Cale Fleury – D – Montreal Canadiens
- Joey Daccord- G – Ottawa Senators
- Yanni Gourde – F – Tampa Bay Lightning
- Jared McCann – F – Toronto Maple Leafs
- Morgan Geekie – F – Carolina Hurricanes
- Gavin Bayreuther – D – Columbus Blue Jackets
- Nate Bastian – F – New Jersey Devils
- Jordan Eberle – F – New York Islanders
- Colin Blackwell – F – New York Rangers
- Carsen Twarynski – F – Philadelphia Flyers
- Brandon Tanev – F – Pittsburgh Penguins
- Vitek Vanecek – G – Washington Capitals
- Tyler Pitlick – F – Arizona Coyotes
- Traded to Calgary Flames July 22nd for a 2022 4th round pick
- John Quenneville – F – Chicago Blackhawks
- Joonas Donskoi – F – Colorado Avalanche
- Jamie Oleksiak – D – Dallas Stars
- Carson Soucy – D – Minnesota Wild
- Calle Jarnkrok – F – Nashville Predators
- Vince Dunn – D – St. Louis Blues
- Mason Appleton – F – Winnipeg Jets
- Haydn Fluery – D – Anaheim Ducks
- Mark Giordano – D – Calgary Flames
- Adam Larsson – D – Edmonton Oilers
- Kurtis MacDermid – D – Los Angeles Kings
- Alexander True – F – San Jose Sharks
- Kole Lind – F – Vancouver Canucks
Kraken fans will likely be familiar with a handful of these players from their time in the major junior Western Hockey League (WHL). Alexander True is a player that Seattle fans in particular will know more about than others from his time with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds.
Comments from Commissioner Bettman
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was on hand at the event and had high praise for the ownership group and City of Seattle.
“We couldn’t be more excited from a league perspective for this expansion. The reaction and the reception from the community, the fans has been overwhelming,” Bettman said.
Commissioner Bettman also touched on the ownership group and the job they’ve done to get the brand out there in front of the community.
“It starts with the fact that we’ve got a great ownership group lead by David Bonderman, Tod Leiweke has done an incredible job building an organization and making this team a part of the community, even prior to today and having an actual roster of players,” Bettman said.
Players on hand
Six of the new players were also on hand at the expansion draft and expressed their excitement to get going with their new team and city. These six players included Brandon Tanev, Chris Driedger, Haydn Fluery, Mark Giordano, Jamie Oleksiak and Jordan Eberle.
Fans should get excited about Eberle and the offensive presence the longtime veteran will bring. Eberle was drafted 22nd overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2008. He’s collected 241 goals and 310 assists for a total of 551 points throughout his career so far.
“Hopefully the same of what I’ve done my whole career, I’ve been an offensive guy and score goals and put up points, but not only that but I think over the last couple years I’ve kind of transitioned into being good defensively and that just comes with the team that I was with before,” Eberle said.
Goalie Chris Driedger spent time in the region during his time in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans and Calgary Hitmen. Driedger was selected 76th overall in 2012 by the Ottawa Senators. He was then traded to the Florida Panthers in time for the 2019-20 season. Driedger has a .929 save percentage with a 21-9 overall record during his time in the NHL so far. Expect Driedger to be the team’s starting netminder their inaugural season. He spoke on what it means to him to be part of the Kraken in their first year.
“It’s pretty special to be a part of history and be a part of the expansion process, just trying to soak everything in and enjoy it as much as I can,” Driedger said.
Just by looking on social media, it’s clear how excited Driedger is to be part of the Kraken and his new home city.