In a way, the Seattle Kraken is like Batman. The rest of the NHL is similar to Bane. A regular-season schedule has been anything but normal for the teams participating in the NHL between 2019-2021. Upon the entry of the Kraken to the NHL, Gary Bettman and Bill Daly are discussing a return to a normal schedule.
“You think darkness is your ally. But, you merely adopted the dark. I was born in it. Formed by it…” – Bane (The Dark Knight Rises; 2012)
Any and all teams Seattle play, especially within their own division, have been “born” into the unexpected. As an expansion team, the Kraken will be merely “adopted” into the current state of hockey. The NHL will continue to monitor how the pandemic affects hockey, as Bettman expresses his confidence Seattle will be a regular fixture in 2021-2022.
Currently, the 56 game format for 2020-2021 is designed to get the NHL back on time for 2021-2022. This means the outlook for 2021-2022 would feature an October start. The 2020-2021 regular-season shows the emphasis the NHL places on the introduction to the Kraken later this year.
Regular contact has been maintained between Ron Francis and the NHL executives. Seattle is to begin its player selection process on July 21st, 2021.
Concerning the travel between teams during 2020-2021, it could partially be credited to protecting players before the NHL Expansion Draft. Reducing the travel between markets is an attempt to reduce the risk of spreading or obtaining the virus. It hasn’t been as effective as bubble hockey during the 2020 postseason, but the players, according to Bettman, would rather have the opportunity to return home.
In the case of a questionable contact during the pandemic, every NHL team has a “taxi squad” this season. Those players on the “taxi squad” travel with the team in an effort to replace teammates who become “unfit to play.” It’s another wrinkle that the Kraken could take full advantage of. Inevitably, teams will employ the players on their “taxi squad” for valuable minutes. Francis could notably make a deep dive into roster pools with Jason Botterill and Norm Maciver.
The NHL is everchanging during these uncertain times. This summer, the hockey structure in Seattle begins to fit together. Players will receive their new sweaters after the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, and hopefully, there will be an 82-game-season upcoming. Bettman and Daly are keeping the expansion of the league in mind, especially after a fiscally taxing season. The Kraken, on day one, will be a league priority.