Seattle Kraken officially join NHL after final expansion payment

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The check has been cashed and the Seattle Kraken is officially the NHL’s 32nd franchise.

On Friday, the Kraken paid the final installment of their $650 million franchise fee to the NHL and now have full standing. They are eligible to sign players, make trades, attend meetings, and vote on any league business.

“On behalf of the Board of Governors, I am delighted to officially welcome the Seattle Kraken to the NHL as our 32nd Member Club,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. in a statement “Congratulations to David Bonderman, the Bonderman Family, their partners, the entire Seattle Kraken organization, the city of Seattle and Kraken fans as the Club continues on its exciting journey towards puck drop in October.”

“For all of us, it is a prideful day to complete the multi-year process to become an official member of the NHL and the 32nd franchise,” wrote Kraken majority owner David Bonderman in a statement. “It is the ultimate testament to our fans for their amazing support and belief and today their dream of Seattle and the NHL comes true.”

The Kraken begins play with the 2021-22 NHL season and are continuing to prepare for the July 21 expansion draft.

Seattle will take part in the expansion draft with the same rules that applied for the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017. NHL teams will be able to protect either seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or eight skaters and one goaltender. The Kraken will choose one player from each team.

Coaching the Kraken

Also on general manager Ron Francis’ to-do list is hiring a head coach. There are a number of names out on the market currently, but the franchise doesn’t intend to bring someone on board until “the end of the second quarter of this year” or the end of June. By then, more coaches could be available depending on how the remainder of the 2020-21 season goes.

Francis said earlier this month that he prefers candidates who have coached in the NHL before. That would help give the Seattle Kraken a better chance at a more successful start come next season.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.