The Seattle Kraken have officially hired Dave Hakstol as the first head coach in franchise history. The Kraken will begin their first season in the National Hockey League in October of 2021. Hakstol has had previous head coaching experience with the Philadelphia Flyers from the 2015-2016 season to the 2018-2019 season.
Who is Dave Hakstol of the Seattle Kraken?
After this time with the Philadelphia Flyers, Hakstol took an assistant coach job with the Toronto Maple Leafs. So, how did the Kraken land on Hakstol as their choice as to who would be the first coach in franchise history?
General manager of the Seattle Kraken Ron Francis was part of the management of team Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Championships. Hakstol was an assistant on the team at this tournament where team Canada took the silver medal. This team had players such as Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights and Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings that would go on to play in the NHL. This experience as part of a national team is invaluable for a coach like Hakstol who has only had the chance to coach twice in the NHL.
The Seattle Kraken are unlikely to match the success in their inaugural season as the most recent expansion team in the NHL, the Vegas Golden Knights, who would make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals of the 2017-2018 season where they would lose to the Washington Capitals. The Golden Knights did this by taking players from the other teams in the league in an expansion draft. These players came together to prove to their old teams that they still had the ability to perform at the NHL level.
It was thought that the general managers of the other 31 teams would change the rules for Seattle’s upcoming expansion draft. This is because they may feel threatened that an expansion team making the Stanley Cup finals in their first season. This is not going to be the case.
The rules for the Seattle Kraken’s expansion draft will follow the same rules as those of the Vegas Golden Knights. This means that the Kraken must take one player from each team except the Golden Knights totaling 14 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goaltenders. Each team can protect players on their roster in either two different ways. They can protect seven defensemen, three forwards and a goaltender or a combination of eight skaters and a goaltender.
It has been said that goaltender is the most important position in team sports. A goaltender playing well at the right time can lead his team to have success that was not thought to be the case before the team came together. An example of this is that goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury got off to a hot start in the 2020-2021 NHL season. The Seattle Kraken will need to take a veteran goaltender in the expansion draft because any goaltender that they draft in the NHL draft will most likely not be ready to play at the professional level right away.
Dave Hakstol will have his work cut out for him in his first season as head coach of the Seattle Kraken. He needs to create a culture on the team that fosters winning. He has proven that he has been able to do this with the Philadelphia Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs. General Manager Ron Francis will be charged with drafting players that can play together and try to match what the Golden Knights did in the 2017-2018 season.
We will see what players the other 31 teams in the NHL protect and what type of team Ron Francis will build coming up in order to put Dave Hakstol in the best position to have success.
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