Kraken released: Top takeaways from the expansion draft, and what’s next

    Emily Kaplan is ESPN’s national NHL reporter.

    Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.

The Seattle Kraken selected their first group of players in the expansion draft on Wednesday night. Some arrived in person, the first to wear the newest NHL jerseys. Some had their names announced by flying fish and an octopus in the local aquarium, and some by Seattle SuperSonics legends Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp.

The Kraken selected one player from 30 NHL teams, with the Vegas Golden Knights exempt from the draft. The result was a roster that was young and well under the salary cap; and an approach to the draft that was in stark contrast with the way Vegas handled it in 2017.

Here are 10 takeaways from the Kraken expansion draft:

Vegas set the template … almost

The Golden Knights and Kraken had the same rules for their respective expansion drafts. NHL teams could protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie; or they could protect eight skaters and one goalie, which is what the Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs opted to do this time around.

Same rules, similar results, at least when it came to the positions they drafted. The Golden Knights selected 14 forwards, 13 defensemen and three goaltenders in the 2017 expansion draft. The Kraken selected 15 forwards, 12 defensemen and three goaltenders in their expansion draft.

Both teams selected 20 players that were under contract for the following season, which was the minimum required by the NHL’s draft rules — although the Kraken selected three players that they themselves signed in Adam Larsson, Chris Driedger and Jamie Oleksiak. The Golden Knights selected six restricted free agents, while the Kraken selected seven.

Where the two teams diverge is space under the salary cap. The Golden Knights’ total cap hit from the 20 players they selected was $68.3 million, according to The Kraken’s cap hit for their 20 players under contract was around $54 million.

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