Seattle will have an NHL team to start the 2021-22 season, giving the league an even number of teams once again at 32.
So how does it all work?
THE EXPANSION DRAFT
Seattle will have their own expansion draft on July 21st, 2021, with selections announced shortly after. They will be selecting one (and only one) player from each of the current 31 NHL teams. The official unveiling will likely be televised.
Seattle won’t be able to just choose superstars as teams are able to protect some of their players. Every NHL team must submit a list of protected players by July 17th, 2021.
Those lists must consist of either:
- 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 1 goalie
- 8 skaters (forward/defenseman) and 1 goalie
All first- and second-year professionals, as well as all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection (and will not be counted toward their club’s applicable protection limits).
- Players with two years of professional experience or less are exempt from the process.
- Players with NMCs must be protected but may be exposed if the player agrees to waive his NMC
- Teams can protect 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 1 goaltender
NHL ENTRY DRAFT
Seattle will also be involved in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
They will have the same odds of winning the lottery as the team that finishes with the third-fewest points in the 2020-21 NHL season. Seattle will pick no lower than sixth overall in the first round and will select third in each subsequent round of this draft.
Seattle will be added to the Pacific Division, and the Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central division.
The Sabres will play Seattle twice every season, once at KeyBank Center and once at Climate Pledge Arena. Keep in mind that the away game will likely be a late start time for fans on the East coast.