Hockey fans are in for a treat in the coming week, as the NHL will finally hold an expansion draft for the Seattle Kraken, the league’s 32nd team.
The Kraken will begin play in the 2021-22 season, and this week they will be permitted to select one player from 30 different NHL teams, with the exception of the Vegas Golden Knights, and they will be the only team permitted to make trades or signings through the middle of the coming week.
Here are the key dates for fans to keep in mind in the days ahead.
Saturday 1 p.m.: NHL Expansion Draft Roster Freeze
Saturday was the first big day for NHL teams, as they were permitted to make moves until 1 p.m. Central time.
After that deadline, teams will only be allowed to work out trades with the Kraken, and the freeze will not be lifted until after the expansion draft next week.
Saturday 4 p.m.: Teams Must Submit Protection Lists to NHL, NHLPA
Each team will be permitted to protect a select number of players in the expansion draft process. Teams can either protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender, or eight skaters and one goaltender.
Players who have two or fewer years of NHL experience, and unsigned draft picks, will not need to be protected.
Each team must expose at least one defensemen and two forwards who are under contract for the 2021-22 season, and who played in 27 or more games in the previous year. Teams can also expose players who have appeared in at least 54 games in the past two seasons combined.
Each team must also expose one goaltender who is under contract for next season, or who is a restricted free agent.
Beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday, the Kraken will be allowed to interview unrestricted and restricted free agents ahead of the expansion draft. Teams are expected to publicize their protection lists on Sunday as well.
Wednesday: NHL Expansion Draft
The expansion draft will take place on Wednesday. The Kraken will submit their list of chosen players to the league and NHLPA in the morning, and the picks will be publicized beginning at 7 p.m. Coverage of the draft will air on ESPN 2 in the United States.
The Kraken will select one player from 30 different NHL teams. The Golden Knights were exempt from the expansion draft thanks to a reported agreement between ownership and the league, struck when the Knights came into the NHL prior to the 2017-18 season.
Friday: NHL Draft Round 1
The NHL Draft will start on Friday night with the first round, and the next six rounds will take place on Saturday.
The Blackhawks currently own the 12th pick, but will take the 11th player selected on Friday, as the Arizona Coyotes forfeited their pick due to violations of NHL prospect scouting rules.
Draft coverage will get underway at 7 p.m. Friday on ESPN 2, with the second-through-seventh rounds taking place beginning at 10 a.m. on NHL Network on Saturday.