Following the Las Vegas Golden Knights’ Stanley Cup Final run in their inaugural season last year, the National Hockey League is ready for its next expansion team.
In 2021, Seattle will enter the league and join the quest for the Stanley Cup. After much deliberation, the NHL decided Seattle would be the best city for a new team.
While fans in Quebec City are not pleased that they were not granted a team, many fans cannot wait to see what Seattle has in store.
In the midst of this excitement, there are many questions circulating the newest team, including what their name will be.
While trying to predict the new team name and logo can be fun, we can expect at least a couple months to pass before we find out these details. However, there have been rumors of names such as the Seattle Kraken, Sockeyes and Firebirds.
Another question surrounding the new team is how their division assignment will affect other teams.
Starting in the 2021-2022 season, Seattle’s team will play in the Western Conference in the Pacific Division, moving the Arizona Coyotes from the Pacific to the Central Division.
The Eastern Conference will remain the same, so each division will now have eight teams.
Seattle’s expansion draft will be similar to the 2017 Golden Knights’ expansion draft. Each team in the NHL will be allowed to protect a certain number of players.
These players will be unable to be drafted by Seattle. All other players will be up for grabs.
Many NHL fans do not like this method simply because it causes teams to give up their fifth or sixth best players, and those players can often make the difference between a bad team and a Stanley Cup-contending team.
Chicago Blackhawks fans experienced this frustration when they lost Marcus Kruger and Trevor van Riemsdyk to Las Vegas in 2017.
While those players might not have been the leadings scorers on the team, their presence was missed. Although this method of drafting players might cause some frustration, it is the best way to give the expansion team a chance for success, which leads to the overall success of the National Hockey League.
The expansion of the NHL is not only good for the league and television ratings, but it is also great for the sport of hockey.
With the growth of the league comes the growth of the sport. Many kids in Seattle and Las Vegas may now grow up wanting to become hockey players after watching their city’s team play.
The fact that hockey was brought to the desert in cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix over the past 20 years helped reach kids in cities that are not historically hockey hot- beds. Players like Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs learned to play hockey in Arizona, developing an interest after watching the local Phoenix Coyotes play.
Hockey fans around the world hope Seattle’s newest team will have the same effect on local children.
Who knows? Maybe the next Auston Matthews will be from Seattle.
Contact Jack Breitowich at firstname.lastname@example.org.