- The expansion Seattle Kraken will begin play with the 2021-2022 season.
- They’ll play the NHL’s previous most recent expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights, in their opening game.
- Westgate Las Vegas sportsbook has already posted odds on the Kraken’s debut matchup.
The Seattle Kraken have completed their expansion draft and are set to join the NHL as the league’s 32nd team. They’ll begin play with the 2021-2022 season and have been placed in the Pacific Division along with Calgary, Vegas, Anaheim, Vancouver, San Jose and Los Angeles. Seattle generally received high marks for their expansion draft choices as they bypassed many of the superstar names available (albeit at a high price) to select younger players with a focus on chemistry and commitment. This is likely why they’ve seen their Stanley Cup futures odds improve dramatically since the draft going from +10000 in early July to +2500 now. Or it could just be a defensive move by bookmakers so they won’t be exposed to the improbable like they were during the Vegas Golden Knights’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals in their debut season.
Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol explained the mindset that the team was looking for as they drafted:
“The message is this: Let’s come together, let’s play hard for one another and let’s play hard for the city of Seattle. We want to have a group of guys that know what it is to be a great teammate, know what it is to be a competitive teammate and push one another to be at their very best. We want to have a bunch of selfless guys in our locker room that know how to go out and play hard together, and win together.”
You’ll see comparisons between the Kraken and Golden Knights often during the 2021-2022 season. As the two most recent teams to join the NHL these are inevitable. The fact that they’ll play in the same division makes this even more of a reality. Not that the NHL is doing anything to discourage comparisons–in fact, it anything they’re trying to facilitate them. That could be why they’ve scheduled the Kraken to play their first ever regular season game at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena against the Golden Knights in a nationally televised ESPN broadcast on October 12. It’ll be the late game in a Tuesday night doubleheader that begins with the Pittsburgh Penguins visiting the Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
Seattle and Vegas will play four times during the 2021-2022 regular season. Following the Kraken’s debut game in Las Vegas on October 12, they’ll return to ‘Sin City’ for a game on November 9. The Golden Knights won’t visit the Jet City’s new Climate Pledge Arena until Wednesday, March 30 and Friday, April 1 when they’ll play back to back games against the Krakena as part of a Pacific Northwest road swing that will take them to Vancouver on Sunday, April 3. Seattle’s first ever home game will take place on October 23 against a team that is expected to become a heated rival, the Vancouver Canucks. Seattle and Vancouver are separated by just 142.6 miles and approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes so at the very least it’ll make for quick road trips.
Given the city of Las Vegas’ long relationship with sports betting and the enthusiasm of the Golden Knights fanbase it isn’t a huge surprise that the season opener is already on the board at at least one Nevada casino. The Westgate Las Vegas has posted odds for the season opener for the Knights and the debut game for the Kraken. Since the Golden Knights have become one of the top teams in the league since their debut in 2017, the linesmakers expect the Kraken to begin their NHL run with a loss:
SEATTLE KRAKEN AT VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS SEASON OPENER (OCTOBER 12, 2021)
Seattle Kraken +245 Vegas Golden Knights -280
OVER 5.5 +110 UNDER 5.5 -130
Seattle Kraken +1.5 -110 Vegas Golden Knights -1.5 -110
Odds from Westgate Las Vegas