The Seattle Kraken have solidified yet another important organizational piece ahead of their rapidly approaching debut season.
The NHL’s newest team kept on making headlines on Monday afternoon, announcing a partnership with the Florida Panthers that will see the two franchises share the Panthers’ AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, for the 2021-22 season.
Once the 2021-22 season is complete, the Kraken will then shift their AHL operations to Palm Springs, where their affiliate will embark upon its debut season in 2022-23.
As per the terms of the agreement, the Kraken will supply the Checkers with 8-12 players, including one goaltender, while Seattle scouts and management will be permitted to observe all of the team’s games to monitor their prospects’ development.
While unconventional, there’s a distinct reason for why this partnership exists. Namely, the Kraken are mandated to select at least one player from each NHL team during this summer’s expansion draft, handing them 30 players to find spots for before even venturing into the realm of free-agent signings. With too many players to fit on a 23-man roster and yet not enough to stock a full AHL lineup, this partnership acts as a bridge solution of sorts, providing the Kraken a place to stash their prospects and excess players before they can fully begin stocking their organizational shelves in years two and three.
For the Checkers, meanwhile, this marks yet another change of pace in a 10-month period that saw their long-standing affiliation with the Carolina Hurricanes end after 10 seasons, and, now, has them set to host players from two NHL franchises at once.