The Seattle Kraken have signed their first player.
Luke Henman, a 21-year-old center, inked a three-year, entry-level contract with the NHL’s 32nd franchise on Wednesday.
Henman, the team captain and leading scorer for Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL), was a fourth-round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2018. He went unsigned by the Hurricanes in the offseason, making him a free agent.
“Our scouts have been watching players all year,” general manager Ron Francis told the team’s website. “In this case, [scout] Mike Dawson has been a strong supporter for Luke. Robert Kron [director of amateur scouting] and Tony McDonald [scouting adviser] like him too. Luke has put up the numbers in the Q, and he is team captain. He has solid character. We do think he needs to get stronger. We are excited to sign him as our first player.”
The Kraken made the final payment of their $650 million expansion fee to the NHL on April 30. That made Seattle eligible to sign players, make trades, attend meetings and vote on any league business.
Seattle is set to enter the NHL for the 2021-22 season and will hold an expansion draft on July 21, featuring the same rules that applied for the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017. The Kraken will select one player from every team except for the Golden Knights, although Vegas doesn’t get a cut of Seattle’s expansion fee.
Next up for the Kraken: The team is in the process of identifying and hiring its first coach.