Expansion Kraken announces partnership with Charlotte Checkers

The newest NHL franchise will supply 8-12 players to the Checkers while the Florida Panthers will continue to stock the rest of the roster of the American Hockey League team

The NHL's 32nd team will begin play during the 2021-22 season

SEATTLE — The Seattle Kraken will use the Charlotte Checkers as their American Hockey League affiliate for the first season of the newest NHL franchise.

The Kraken reached an agreement with the Florida Panthers to share Charlotte as their affiliate for the 2021-22 season. Seattle has been awarded an AHL franchise in Palm Springs, California, but delays in arena construction have pushed the debut of that team until the fall of 2022.

“The AHL plays such a key role in the development of NHL players,” Kraken general manager Ron Francis said. “This is a very important decision for the long-term success of our organization.”

Seattle is expected to supply the Checkers with eight to 12 players, some likely coming from the pool of 30 players the Kraken will select during the expansion draft in July. Others are likely to be free agent signings made by Seattle that are signed to either AHL deals or two-way deals.

At this time, the sharing agreement is expected to just be for one season with construction underway on the arena for Seattle’s AHL affiliate in the Coachella Valley.

“This agreement helps ensure we can loan all of our prospects to one place rather than multiple locations,” Francis, the former Carolina Hurricanes star and general manager, said. “We would like to thank both Charlotte and the Florida Panthers for their cooperation to make this happen.”

The Checkers were the AHL affiliate of the Hurricanes prior to last season.