Tuesday, the Board of Governors approved the NHL’s 32nd team with Seattle entering the league for the 2021-2022 season.

The franchise will have to pay a whopping $650 million expansion fee to join the league, or $150 more than what the Vegas Golden Knights paid.

What does this mean for the Flyers? Let’s break it down:

How will the Flyers be affected?

Expect the expansion draft in June 2021 to play out similarly to the Vegas Expansion Draft in 2017 where each of the 31 teams will lose a player from an unprotected list. The new Seattle team will be under the same guidelines as the Golden Knights, which should make them a competitive team right away. 

Each NHL team will be able to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender, or they could protect eight skaters regardless of position. In 2017, the Flyers elected to go 7-3-1 as Vegas chose Pierre Edouard-Bellemare from the Flyers' list of unprotected players. 

As of today, the Flyers have just five players under contract entering 2021-22: Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek, James van Riemsdyk, Sean Couturier and Shayne Gostisbehere. Giroux would automatically be protected since he has a no-trade clause in his contract.

How many times will the Flyers play Seattle?

Seattle will be in the current Pacific Division with the Arizona Coyotes shifting to the Central Division of the Western Conference, so the Flyers will face the newest expansion team just twice a season — once at home and once on the road.


Despite starting the 2017-18 on the West Coast, the Flyers didn’t face the Golden Knights in their expansion season until February 11 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and again at the Wells Fargo Center on March 12.

Any Flyers/Seattle connections?

Flyers goaltending prospect Carter Hart played for the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League, located 25 miles north of Seattle. 

Flyers defensive prospect and 2018 fifth-round selection Wyatte Wylie was born in Everett and was a teammate of Hart’s for two seasons. 

Former Flyers general manager Russ Farwell (1990-94) is the owner, governor and GM of the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL.

Would Seattle look to Philly for management?

Former Coyotes and Stars head coach Dave Tippett is a senior adviser and he’ll be responsible for assembling a front office staff. Tippett said most of the people he’s looking to talk with are under contract as the new franchise will start to put together management beginning next summer.

You have to wonder if the recent firing of Ron Hextall would land on Tippett’s short list of GM candidates. If Seattle is looking to build from within through a slow and methodical approach of building through the draft, Hextall would certainly deserve consideration.

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