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Five Expansion Draft Takeaways

With 30 picks now complete, examining the themes, lessons and impact of Wednesday's choices -- and how they might guide what's on the horizon for the Kraken

by Alison Lukan / @AlisonL / nhl.com/kraken

And now there's a team. Ten hours after Kraken leadership settled on their choices of which players to select in the Expansion Draft, those 30 picks were made public to the world in a 90-minute event that showcased the uniqueness of Seattle -- and a few players too! - as the roster came into shape.

What should we take away from the initial selection process? Let's dig in:

1. Defense! Defense!

There is a saying in sports: defense wins championships. Seattle loaded up taking 12 blueliners for their initial roster of players. There are some significant pieces there, too.

From veteran leader Mark Giordano to 22-year-old Vince Dunn, the Kraken have rounded out their defensive skill set to include players who can both help keep the puck out of the net, but contribute to getting the team's offense going, as well.

It's also fair to say defense extends all the way to the net, and the signing of Chris Driedger reinforces that ability for Seattle. The 27-year-old, fresh from an impressive campaign in Florida last season, is now looking to prove he's worthy of a starter's workload.

With the additions of Vitek Vanecek and Joey Daccord, the Kraken has solid options for their opening night tandem.

 

2. Flexibility

The Expansion Draft is complete, but that doesn't mean the Kraken are done building. The NHL Entry Draft is Friday and Saturday with a No. 2 overall pick for Seattle.

Teams, including the Kraken, can execute trades as soon as the roster freeze lifts Thursday. Another wrinkle: According to CapFriendly, Seattle still has $29M available in cap space.

That means that as fun as Wednesday was, the fun may not be over yet. Just like every other NHL team, Seattle can also sign free agents should they so choose.

The front office built a roster, but they also maintained flexibility for additional decisions. It's possible (emphasis on possible) the look of this team continues to evolve and grow between now and the start of the season.

Tweet from @SeattleKraken: The stage is set. Your city. Your team.Seattle, it's time. pic.twitter.com/3VAGUuRXBf

3. Brand New, but with Experience

The Kraken are building a brand-new identity all their own, but they are honoring tradition too. The selection of Mark Giordano from Calgary brings in a player who served as an assistant captain in the NHL for two years before wearing his team's "C" for the next nine campaigns.

A voice of experience and leadership should be invaluable as a group of coaches and young players come together to form their own culture and community. At Wednesday's live event, Giordano joked about being the team's oldest player but, on a serious note, his 15 seasons of NHL know-how (plus one year in the KHL for good measure) will come in handy this inaugural season.

 

4. Youth Movement

Speaking of young players, the current roster has just two players over the age of 30 and 16 who are 25 years old or younger. It's too early to say which players do and do not make the opening night roster, but with a group that trends a bit younger, it allows for this team to build together over time and foster sustained success.

 

5. BONUS Thought: The Emerald City Shines

For people not from Seattle, they may think it's all rainy days and cups of coffee. But there couldn't have been a more perfect day for the Expansion Draft to show off what Seattle is all about.

Before Wednesday, people may not have known about Gas Works Park, or how the city looks when the sun shines down on Lake Union; or how we come out to support not just our sports teams, but also one another.

People may not have known how good the Kraken jerseys would look in their debut, or which players would be wearing them, but now they know. Well done, Seattle!

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