New York Islanders Early Seattle Expansion Protection List

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL Board of Governors is meeting to give final approval to Seattle's bid to add the league's 32nd team.

The NHL awarded Seattle with a franchise on Tuesday and while the team isn't going to begin play until the 2021-22 season, management is already confident it can ice a competitive team from the start.

The yet-to-be-named team will play in the Seattle Center Arena, and the ownership company isn't wasting time on a facelift for their home rink-$800 million in renovations, which were pending National Hockey League approval, is set to begin on Wednesday. The Seattle team will play in the Pacific Division, and the Coyotes will move to the Central Division. Player contracts need to be done with an expansion draft in mind, so the iffiness around the Seattle's building readiness in 2020 - including the potential for myriad problems at a site the builder does not own - prompted a pumping of the brakes.

An ownership group that includes film producer Jerry Bruckheimer will pay a $650m (£511m) expansion fee to join the league. Seattle was the first USA city to win the Stanley Cup back in 1917.

Every team MUST expose two forwards who are under contract for the 2021-22 season and played in at least 40 National Hockey League games the prior year or 70 National Hockey League games in the two prior years.

The new Seattle team, which still doesn't have a name, will have big shoes to fill after the instant success of the Vegas Golden Knights last season. Virtually no one will be willing to take on a player like that now knowing that they will need to protect them over other defensemen when the time comes.

KeyArena, which was home to the NBA's SuperSonics before they moved to Oklahoma City in 2008, is primed to undergo a massive $800-million renovation, up from the previously stated $700 million. That's when we all knew that this was the right idea.

"Certainly we're going to be able to lay eyes on players for an additional season", said Leiweke, who's only hockey hire to date is adding former NHL coach Dave Tippett as a senior advisor. The league's most recent addition gives the NHL an even 16 franchises in the Eastern and Western conferences and will provide the Vancouver Canucks a natural geographic rival.

"I love Seattle", said Bonderman, who has deep ties to the city. That desire only grew after the ownership group secured the rights to build a new downtown arena past year and then sold deposits for 32,000 season tickets in a single day last March. "If it was someplace else, I wouldn't have done it". More than 100 years later, they'll have that chance again. "By the time it gets here, you'll have a pretty good idea of where you think teams are going to fall". "Seattle is one of North American's great sports towns, and we're about to become one of its great hockey towns". "That's why today happened".

Seattle also has a junior hockey league, the Thunderbirds.

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