The Sharks will have a new divisional opponent before long, and they'll learn the name of that eventual rival much sooner than that.
The Seattle expansion franchise is set to join the NHL as the league's 32nd franchise for the 2021-22 season. A video posted to the organization's Twitter account Wednesday teased a major announcement for the following morning, with the expectation that it will reveal the team's name.
07.23.2020 - 9:00am PT— Seattle Kraken (@NHLSeattle_) July 23, 2020
The 32nd franchise comes to life. pic.twitter.com/4J8k0UTEn3
Back in 2018, Seattle's ownership group registered 13 potential names for the team, including: Kraken, Totems, Emeralds, Rainiers, Sockeyes, Renegades, Sea Lions, Seals, Evergreens, Whales, Cougars, Eagles and Firebirds. However, it's not guaranteed to be one of those possibilities.
Of the previously registered names, Kraken and Sockeyes would seem to be the most likely based on the video. Other alternatives appear to have plenty of popular support and could certainly fit into the theme of the tease as well.
Seattle will join the Pacific Division upon entering the league -- with the Arizona Coyotes shifting to the Central Division -- so Sharks fans will see plenty of the expansion franchise for many years to come. If a rivalry similar to the one San Jose and the Vegas Golden Knights quickly established develops, Sharks fans likely won't care for Seattle's name, regardless of what it is.
Still, some names will make antagonism easier than others. With that, here are the likely names for Seattle, ranked from best to worst from a San Jose perspective.
Replace one letter, and it's an easy, but repeatable jab. Given that expansion teams typically don't enjoy immediate success, it wouldn't be surprising if the Sockeyes sucked for the first couple of seasons.
We get it. Fish is a big deal in Seattle. You're limited on options when trying to make fish sound tough -- sorry, Barracuda's already taken -- and despite this effort, it's not achieved. Also, do you really want to go with a fish name when the Sharks are in your division? Play-by-play commentators would love it. Not sure who else.
Maybe Seattle will surprise with a cool name that hasn't been popularly suggested. I wouldn't bet on it though.
All right. That's pretty good. "Release the Kraken!" You can hear it now. That would be a pretty cool way to announce your entrance into the league. It accomplishes almost everything you look for in a team name, and the jumbotron operator wouldn't have any shortage of movie clips to choose from. 8.5/10.
This is the best one, though. It's both hockey and maritime-specific. Plus, who doesn't love an alliteration? In the video, a red goal light -- which typically is accompanied by some sort of ... siren -- is pulled out of the netting of the boat's catch. That seems like a pretty good hint to me.
It's a great name, and the team could get very creative with logos. And you know that merchandise is going to be flying off the shelves. From a Sharks perspective, I suppose you hope the name backfires in a reference to how frequently Seattle is scored upon. But other than that, you gotta tap your stick.
And, it's a hell of a lot better than Golden Knights. But then again, basically everything is.