When is the NHL Expansion Draft? Date, time, rules & more for Seattle Kraken team selection

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The 2021 NHL offseason is here and it’s already buzzing with activity. But, before the usual events like the draft and free agency commence, the NHL’s newest franchise gets, er, Kraken on building their roster. 

Yep, the Seattle Kraken is officially official and they’re here to steal your favorite team’s player. Just like previous expansion years — most recently the Golden Knights in 2017 — the Kraken will be selecting players from every team but Vegas.

Here’s everything you need to know as the NHL’s 32nd franchise begins to take form.

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When is the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft?

  • Date: Wed., July 21
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET

Two days before the next generation of NHL stars are selected, general manager Ron Francis, head coach Dave Hakstol and staff will select 30 guys to fill their roster. The draft will be held live from Seattle.

DAVE HAKSTOL: Meet the Kraken’s first-ever head coach

What channel is the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft on?

  • TV (U.S.): ESPN2
  • TV (Canada): SN, SN Now, TVA Sports

The draft is scheduled for July 21 beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN will broadcast the event live in the United States, marking the beginning of the network’s new contract with the NHL. Fans in Canada can see who they lose from their teams’ roster on SN1.

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What are the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft rules? 

This year’s expansion draft is following the same rules as the ones the Golden Knights had in 2017.

Here’s the breakdown.

For the 30 NHL teams:

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  • They can protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie OR eight skaters (any combination of forwards and defensemen) and one goalie. 
  • Players that do not need to be protected and cannot be selected: first- and second-year players and unsigned draft picks.
  • Any player that has a no-movement clause must be protected. Players can waive it and will then be left unprotected. As of July 15, the Avalanche’s Erik Johnson, the Flames’ Milan LucicSabres’ Jeff Skinner and the Stars Ben Bishop have reportedly waived theirs. 
  • One of the exposed defensemen and two forwards must not only be under contract in 2021-22 but must have played in 27 or more games in 2021 OR played in 54 or more NHL games between 2019-20.
  • An exposed goaltender must be under contract in 2021-22 or is a pending restricted free agent.
  • Players on long-term injured reserve, and with potential career-ending injuries who have missed more than the previous 41 consecutive games (or who otherwise have been confirmed to have a career-threatening injury) cannot be protected and may also be exempt from being picked.

MORE: Canadiens’ Shea Weber reportedly to be left unprotected in expansion draft, miss 2021-22 season

For the Kraken:

  • They must select 30 players — at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders.
  • At least 20 of those players must be under contract for 2021-22 and have a value between 60 and 100 percent of the upper limit ($81.5 million) of the salary cap.
  • A player selected cannot be bought out until next summer.

Important dates before the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft

Friday: Deadline for players to waive their no-movement clauses.

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Saturday: A freeze on trade, waivers and signings begins at 3 p.m. ET. This runs through Thursday at 1 p.m. ET. Teams are also required to have their protected lists in by 5 p.m. ET to the NHL and NHLPA.

Sunday: Beginning at 10 a.m. ET, the Kraken will have an interview period for pending UFA/RFAs that were left unprotected. The protected lists are also expected to be revealed on Sunday.

Wednesday: The big day! But first, at 10 a.m. ET the Kraken must submit their picks to the NHL and NHLPA.

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Why are the Golden Knights exempt?

Only 30 teams will lose a player because the Golden Knights, the NHL’s now second-youngest team, is exempt from this year’s expansion draft. According to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan, it was a deal Vegas owner Bill Foley made with the NHL back in 2016. The crux, they don’t get a chunk of Seattle’s $650 million expansion fee.

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