The news is out: the NHL is coming to Seattle. The NHL’s Board of Governors unanimously approved the Emerald City as the future home of the league’s 32nd team.
While Seattle’s newest team won’t take the ice until the 2021-22 season, there’s a lot of excitement around the league's latest expansion team.
NBC Sports studio analyst and former Boston Bruins player, Mike Milbury, says Seattle hockey and the NHL were destined to happen.
“It seems like Seattle has been in the mix here for quite a long time…they’ve been pushing for it,” Milbury said. “The fact that they were able to attract so many season ticket holders to put a deposit, I think 32,000 in a single day, according to their reports, bodes well for the future of Seattle.”
Seattle will partake in an expansion draft with similar rules to Las Vegas. They must select one player from each franchise except Vegas, their final roster must include 14 forwards, nine defenseman, and three goaltenders, and at least 20 of the 30 players selected have to be contracted for the 2021-22 season.
Keith Jones, NBC Sports studio analyst and former Canadian hockey player, said the 2021-22 draft could have less favorable options for Seattle, as NHL teams will have time to lock down their rosters.
“It does give every NHL team in existence right now the opportunity to get their stuff together to make sure they’re protecting the right players,” Jones said. “I think it’s a little more difficult for the guys in Seattle, whoever is running that team, to kind of steal away the kind of players that Vegas was able to get.“
Seattle’s NHL team will look to follow the success of the Vegas Golden Knights, who advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals in their inaugural season.