Friday November 27th, 2020 8:52AM

Seattle moves into next phase after NHL expansion approval

By The Associated Press

SEA ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — Seattle's NHL expansion team has its roots in Dave Tippett's computer.

That's where the longtime coach-turned-senior adviser keeps a running list of players around the league who might be available in an expansion draft that is still 2½ years off. It is just an exercise for now but will become a key building block when Seattle picks its first players in June 2021.

"Every year it'll change a little bit," Tippett said. "By the time it gets here, you'll have a pretty good idea of where you think teams are going to fall."

Long months are ahead before the as-yet-unnamed team plays its first game, but work is already underway and the effort can begin in earnest now that the NHL Board of Governors has officially awarded Seattle a franchise. Groundbreaking on a total overhaul of KeyArena is Wednesday, and Seattle's front office will spend the rest of this season plotting the course for an organization that has a tough act to follow after the Vegas Golden Knights reached the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season.

"Part of the DNA of this ownership group is we're extremely competitive," said Tod Leiweke, a minority partner, president and CEO of Seattle Hockey Partners. "We're here to win. And we want to win. So we're going to look at these timelines and how it can be put to our advantage."

That means Tippett will watch the rest of this season with an eye on the new team's future and he will sketch out the beginnings of a hockey operations department. He will likely be senior vice president of hockey operations and have a big say in choosing the first general manager of the league's 32nd team.

Tippett will likely hire some scouts this summer and move forward on the GM search.

"When you're a year or two out, everything continues to evolve," Tippett said. "You continue to monitor things. It's an ever-changing world out there right now in the hockey world between coaches and GMs."

Veteran Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland is considered a potential candidate, and Vegas assistant Kelly McCrimmon would know the recipe for a successful expansion draft after helping George McPhee put the Golden Knights together. The same rules will be in place that allow teams to protect only seven forwards, three defensemen and a goaltender, or eight skaters at any position and a goaltender.

That means that for $850 million, Seattle will have an opportunity to win right away.

"It gives you an excitement that you can have a team that's not your expansion teams of the past with the NHL rules," Tippett said. "You can have a competitive team like Vegas. Nobody expected that from them. But it's not as if you're in a five-year rebuild or five-year starting point. You actually can get some good players because of the rules."

Leiweke is friends with McPhee and Golden Knights president Kerry Bubolz and said his new team will build "brick by brick" like Vegas did.

First, there are real bricks. Majority owner David Bonderman said the immediate focus is on getting arena renovations and three-rink practice facility construction completed. Leiweke expects the 17,000-seat downtown arena to open in March or April 2021 and host the expansion draft.

Tippett has a hand in all those projects and is also working to settle Seattle's American Hockey League affiliate.

And he and the ownership group will, at some point, go on a hiring spree to try to replicate Vegas' success.

"We have momentum, and this is a business of recruitment," Leiweke said. "We now really feel confident that we'll be able to recruit a top-flight staff. And we need to, because this is the most competitive league in the world, and parity is the trademark of the National Hockey League today. So we're going to have to be really, really good at recruiting, but our owners are going to give us everything we need."


Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at


More AP NHL: and

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Hockey, AP Business, AP Online - Georgia News
© Copyright 2020
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Seattle moves into next phase after NHL expansion approval
Seattle hockey plan can get rolling with expansion franchise set for 2021
10:22AM ( 12 minutes ago )
UK Parliament, PM May's govt face off in Brexit showdown
Britain's Brexit debate has become a bruising battle between lawmakers and Prime Minister Theresa May's government
10:10AM ( 24 minutes ago )
2019 Pirelli calendar puts lens on women's ambition
Photographer James Watson is keeping the Pirelli calendar on its arc away from its origins as a pinup calendar, featuring portrayals of four women trying to find their purpose
10:06AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Copa Libertadores final: A sign of Argentina's decadence
Argentina's proud soccer tradition has been sullied by its fervent, fanatical fans
8:24AM ( 2 hours ago )
Bach and IOC: No Olympic city ever as ready as Tokyo
IOC President Thomas Bach and other International Olympic Committee members are calling Tokyo the best prepared host city in recent memory
7:13AM ( 3 hours ago )
Seattle moves into next phase after expansion approval
Seattle hockey plan can get rolling with expansion franchise set for 2021
2:18AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Sports
Fans abuzz after NHL awards its 32nd franchise to Seattle
Fans at a downtown Seattle bar erupted with cheers following the announcement that the city was being awarded the 32nd NHL franchise
3:59PM ( 18 hours ago )
The Latest: NHL approves Seattle expansion for '21-22 season
Latest on Seattle bid to add NHL franchise
12:24PM ( 22 hours ago )
Wade crashes into a fan -- Panthers star Aleksander Barkov
No foul, no penalty: Dwyane Wade crashes into crowd at Heat game, hits Panthers star Aleksander Barkov
12:19PM ( 22 hours ago )
AP Online Hockey
The Latest: Activists: Why are coal, oil firms at UN talks?
Environmental activists are questioning the presence of coal, oil and gasoline companies at this year's U.N. climate talks in Poland
9:56AM ( 40 minutes ago )
China strengthens foothold in EU with Portugal agreements
Portugal is embracing China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative, which offers loans for the building of large-scale infrastructure projects
9:29AM ( 1 hour ago )
Brown-Forman posts higher earnings in fiscal 2nd quarter
Brown-Forman posts higher earnings in fiscal 2nd quarter, maintains full-year guidance
9:27AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Report details new allegations of Moonves' sexual misconduct
Report says a probe by CBS lawyers outlines more allegations of sexual misconduct by longtime chief Les Moonves
10:14AM ( 21 minutes ago )
UK Parliament, PM May's govt face off in Brexit showdown
Britain's Brexit debate has become a bruising battle between lawmakers and Prime Minister Theresa May's government
10:10AM ( 26 minutes ago )
The Latest: Wisconsin Legislature OKs weakening governor, AG
The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature has approved a sweeping package of bills weakening the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general
10:06AM ( 30 minutes ago )
The Latest: Friends, kin unite at cathedral for Bush funeral
Friends and family are gathering at Washington National Cathedral under tight security for a funeral service honoring late former President George H.W. Bush
10:05AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Mexico's new president sees 3-year hiatus on oil auctions
Mexico's new president says he will take a three-year break from awarding new oil exploration contracts in order to judge the results of contracts already awarded
9:58AM ( 37 minutes ago )