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2021 NHL Expansion Draft rules as Seattle Kraken fill out roster

The Seattle Kraken will fill out most of their roster on Wednesday, July 21. We break down the rules for the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft

How will the Seattle Kraken perform in their inaugural season?

The Seattle Kraken will begin play this fall in the 2021-22 NHL season, but first they must build out their roster. The 2021 NHL Expansion Draft is scheduled for Wednesday, July 21 starting at 8 p.m. ET. By the time the event ends, the Kraken will have 30 players on their roster.

There is an extensive process for sorting through how the Kraken will build out their roster. They will select one player from each roster except for the Vegas Golden Knights. There are then rules for who they can and cannot select, along with rules for who each of the 30 teams can protect and who they do not need to protect. We’ll try and explain the full list of rules below.

How many players will the Kraken select?

30. They have to select a minimum of 14 forwards, 9 defensemen and 3 goalies. After that, they can select anybody available.

Are there any minimums for contracts they have to take on?

Seattle must choose a minimum of 20 players under contract for the 2021-22 regular season. Those contracts must have an aggregate Expansion Draft value that is between 60-100 percent of the prior season’s upper limit for the salary cap. That limit was $81.5 million.

If the Kraken are to buy out players chosen on Wednesday, the earliest they can do that is summer 2022 after their first season.

Will they select all 30 players on Wednesday?

No. NHL free agency does not start until July 28, but from the 18th to the 21st, the Kraken will be granted an exclusive window to meet with and sign pending free agents who are unprotected by their current team heading into the expansion draft. If the Kraken sign a player in that exclusive window, it counts as their pick from that players’ former team.

Additionally, if Seattle signs a player to a deal before NHL free agency begins on July 28, the team can offer an eight-year max extension. After free agency opens, Seattle can only give out seven-year deals this offseason.

Can they trade for players?

The Kraken can agree to trades with other teams to select specific players from said team. For example, in 2017, the Golden Knights agreed to a trade with the Florida Panthers to select F Jonathan Marchessault in the expansion draft. In exchange, Vegas received F Reilly Smith in the deal. This was agreed to so that the Golden Knights wouldn’t select another player from the Panthers during the expansion draft.

When will we know who is and is not protected by the other 30 teams?

Teams have until Saturday, July 17 to submit their protected lists. The protected lists will be announced the next day, Sunday the 18th.

30 teams? Why not 31 teams if that’s how many teams are in the league?

The Golden Knights struck a deal when they joined the league that they would not have to give up a player in this first expansion draft since they joined. In return, their owner does not get a cut of Seattle’s $650 million expansion fee. The remaining 30 teams will each get paid $21.67 million.

How many players can each team protect?

The 30 teams can each protect 7 forwards, 3 defensemen and 1 goalie, or 8 skaters (forwards/defensemen) and 1 goalie.

Who must a team protect?

Each team has to protect all players with no movement clauses at the time of the draft if they decline to waive those clauses.

Is there anybody a team does not have to protect and will not lose?

All first- and second-year players and all unsigned draft choices are exempt from selection and do not need to be part of the protection limit.

Who is a team required to leave exposed?

Among the players each team exposes in the expansion draft, each team must expose the following minimums:

  • 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.

What about players with career-ending injuries?

A team may not satisfy exposure requirements unless they receive NHL approval for 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.

When is the expansion draft?

Date: Wednesday, July 21
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Channel: ESPN2