The Seattle Kraken may only be in their second year of existence, but don’t tell them that! All they did in the first round was beat the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Colorado Avalanche, in 7 games. The Kraken became the first expansion team in history to defeat the reigning Stanley Cup Champions in their first playoff series. They came into their second round series against the Dallas Stars as significant underdogs but that hasn’t deterred them. They scored 6 goals last night, eventually forcing Dallas to pull their goalie, Jake Oettinger from the game. It’s the second time in the series that Oettinger was pulled early from the game. These guys are playing with confidence that you don’t typically see from a brand new team.
They also have more history to make. In the NHL, the fastest expansion team to ever win the Stanley Cup was when the Philadelphia Flyers won the Cup during the 1973-74 season. They came into existence in 1967. The Arizona Diamondbacks came into existence in 1998 and managed to win the World Series in 2001. The New York Mets came into existence in 1962 and won the World Series in 1969. Lastly, the Milwaukee Bucks entered the NBA for the 1968-69 season, and they won the NBA Championship in the 1970-71 season. So while there is some precedent for expansion teams winning quickly, the Kraken have an opportunity to make history by winning so quickly.
The NHL has to be pleasantly surprised by the success of the Kraken and their other recent expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights. These teams are showing that it’s possible for new teams to come into the league and have success. Their fanbases are excited to see playoff games so quickly. New teams showing that they can beat heavyweights in the league creates additional parity that every league wants.