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Tonight was the draft of the expansion, and yes, I know 80% of it has been leaked online. Still. We saw Mt. Rainier, Pike’s Place Market with a fish tossed, the Space Needle, local sporting icons, Macklemore, loads of marine life and everything around it felt incredible and perfect, Seattle.
The Pacific Northwest is a weird corner of our country, but it’s a passionate group. Seattle was furious to lose the Supersonics, who later became the Oklahoma City Thunder. Their former stadium was essentially torn down and rebuilt to be the home of the Kraken. It was only fitting that the two greatest Supersonics in the team’s history, Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton, came out together to announce a pick.
The Kraken did what they had to do – they trotted out Kemp and Payton, brought out Sue Bird, Bobby Wagner, Marshawn Lynch (who looked completely lost in his video spot), and even young Mariners prospect Kyle Lewis. The Seattle fan base got involved, spreading the waterways behind the draft show with boats and kayaks. The jerseys looked good and clean, and our very own Jesse Spector commented on Twitter that he can’t wait for the inevitable light blue alternative sweaters, with which I fully agree.
As far as the actual team is concerned, there is still a lot to see.
If you take out 37-year-old defender Mark Giordano, formerly of the Calgary Flames, the average age of the 30 players the Kraken selected is 25.79 years. That’s… pretty young. When the 2021 season kicked off, the team started with the youngest average age was the New York Rangers at 25.0. The Ottawa senators were the second youngest with 26.0. However, nothing has been formalized about the Kraken’s age yet, as they still need to shorten their roster from 30 to 20 players.
Giordano was in attendance for the party tonight, along with five of the other new members of the Kraken organization. Having spent his entire 15-year career with the Calgary Flames, he now joins a new franchise as the senior statesman and locker room veteran.
“I’m not going to lie, it feels a little different today,” Giordano said. “This is the first time in my career that I’ve ever been called up, so thank you to the Kraken and I’m happy to be here.”
“You feel the buzz. I’m ready to go,” he added.
They also announced at tonight’s festivities that the Kraken will kick off their franchise on October 12 with an opener in Las Vegas, with their home opener on October 23 against the Vancouver Canucks. A new natural geographic rival is born in Vancouver.
The Kraken was young and defensive, taking very little in the way of salary commitments. Rather than opting for some of the more expensive top talent available, such as Montreal netminder Carey Price, they tried to build around young, up-and-coming talent. After the success the Golden Knights had after their expansion four years ago, it’s a completely different approach.
Seattle also holds the #2 overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft next week, adding a new level of excitement to the new franchise. They should have no problem captivating the loyal and passionate sports city that lies in the Emerald City.
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