The Seattle Kraken officially joined the NHL on April 30 when they made their final expansion payment. The 32nd team in the NHL will begin play in the 2021-22 season.
The 2021 NHL Expansion Draft presented by Upper Deck, which will be held July 21 (8 p.m. ET; ESPN2, SN1, SN NOW), will be under the same rules for the Kraken as the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017. The Kraken will select one player from each team excluding the Golden Knights for a total of 30 (at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies).
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Seattle must choose a minimum of 20 players under contract for the 2021-22 regular season and those with an aggregate Expansion Draft value that is between 60-100 percent of the prior season's upper limit for the salary cap. The Kraken cannot buy out players chosen in the Expansion Draft earlier than the summer following its first season.
Current NHL teams can protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goalie, under the following conditions.
The Kraken also have an exclusive window from July 18-21 to interview and potentially sign pending free agents who were left unprotected in the expansion draft. If they sign a player in that window it counts as their pick from that players' former team.
* All players with no movement clauses at the time of the draft, and who decline to waive those clauses, must be protected and will be counted toward their team's applicable protection limits.
* All first- and second-year professionals, and all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection and will not be counted toward protection limits.
In addition, all NHL teams must meet the following minimum requirements regarding players exposed for selection in the draft:
* One defenseman who is a) under contract in 2021-22 and b) played in at least 40 NHL games the prior season or played in at least 70 NHL games in the prior two seasons.
* Two forwards who are a) under contract in 2021-22 and b) played at least 40 NHL games the prior season or played in at least 70 NHL games in the prior two seasons.
* One goalie who is under contract in 2021-22 or will be a restricted free agent at the end of his current contract immediately prior to 2021-22. If a team elects to make a restricted free agent goalie available to meet this requirement, that goalie must have received his qualifying offer prior to the submission of the team's protected list.
* Players with potential career-ending injuries who have missed more than the previous 60 consecutive games (or who otherwise have been confirmed to have a career-threatening injury) may not be used to satisfy a team's player exposure requirements unless approval is received from the NHL. Such players also may be deemed exempt from selection.