On Dec. 4, the NHL announced that they will be adding a 32nd team to the league. This Seattle team is being formed just one year after the Las Vegas Golden Knights became the 31st NHL franchise. The team is still yet to be named.
This is not the first time that there has been a hockey team in Seattle, however. The Seattle Metropolitans were the first and only Seattle hockey team that played from 1915-1924. This will become the third current Seattle based sports team when it starts playing at the beginning of the 2020-2021 season.
The Las Vegas Golden Knights, the most recently added team to the NHL, was one of the most successful teams in the league in their inaugural season, making it all the way to the Stanley Cup championship where they faced off against the Washington Capitals. Although the team fell short in the seven game series, they were the first expansion team to ever make the finals in their first season.
This announcement came at little surprise to many hockey fans because since the Golden Knights were the 31st team to be added to the league, it was known that another team was going to be added soon to balance out the logistics of the divisions.
Junior Ben Kelly believes the Seattle team will have a positive impact on the league. “The last expansion team received a great reaction from the NHL,” he said. “It will also change the divisions when Arizona moves to the central division, creating new competition.”
The way an expansion draft works is that the new team will be able to choose players from each current team, while all the current teams can choose to reserve a select amount of players so that the expansion team does not become stacked with talent. The new team is also able to draft players from that year’s draft to form their inaugural team.
It is usually unlikely that an expansion team will be very good in their first season because of everything that goes into it, such as a new stadium, new players who have rarely previously played together, and a new head coach. Sometimes, however, there is a team like the Golden Knights who finished with one of the best records in the league and making it all the way through the playoffs to the Stanley Cup.
Kelly also said, “The Seattle team will take a long time to develop because they won’t receive any star players in the beginning. Instead they will have to trade or get free agents and draft picks. They will probably have a young core team that will take time to make a deep playoff run.”
The final thing the team will have to do is create a team name, color scheme, and logo. The city’s MLB and NFL teams, the Mariners and Seahawks, respectively, both wear uniforms consisting of different shades of blue, green, gray, and black, so it is speculated among fans of the Seattle area that the team will incorporate similar colors, as discussed on the ESPN Seattle AM radio station.
The NHL will soon welcome this new northwestern team from a city that has been hoping for more professional teams for years.