NHL Seattle franchise taking methodical approach to building

Ground breaking ceremony for Seattle's NHL team (Photo by Christopher Mast/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Ground breaking ceremony for Seattle's NHL team (Photo by Christopher Mast/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

NHL Seattle general manager Ron Francis and the rest of the organization are taking their time, when it comes to making important decisions for the franchise.

When it was announced that the NHL Seattle franchise would start playing in the 2021-22 campaign, there was some disappointment from those connected to the expansion team. After all, they had hoped to hit the ice the season before.

However, the delay may well have proved to be a blessing in disguise. For a start, consider the renovations to KeyArena.

As per Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times, NHL Seattle president and CEO Tod Leiweke admitted earlier this year that the targeted reopening had been delayed by several months. As of right now, the anticipated completion date has been put back to June 2021.

More from Puck Prose

This has led to rising costs for the renovations, albeit all privately funded. When the NHL officially approved Seattle’s expansion franchise, the cost was $700 million; this has now increased to more than $900 million.

Another reason starting play in 2021-22 is actually a positive, is that it gives the NHL Seattle franchise more time to prepare and make smart decisions. Consider that Ron Francis was only hired as general manager last month.

By extension, as reported by Sports Illustrated‘s Alex Prewitt, Francis will not be rushed into deciding who to pick as the franchise’s first head coach. The hire will come sometime between January and June next year, unless the right candidate is available sooner.

However, the reality is the franchise will likely announce their team name first, even though, as with the arena renovations, this has also been delayed. Originally set to be revealed before the end of this year, the team name is now be announced sometime in early 2020.

Just don’t expect Francis to be involved in the process. As per Prewitt, he said:

"“Tod (Leiweke) keeps trying to drag me into that one, but I’m trying to stay out of it. They have a firm that’s working on that.”"

This alone, should give NHL Seattle hockey fans faith in the priorities of their GM. Even though there is a lot of excitement about the potential name and colors, getting the right man to coach the team is more important.

Further, even though a lot of people may feel there is too long to wait until the Seattle team hits the ice, Francis arguably thinks the exact opposite. He still has a lot of work to do.

The 1981 fourth overall draft pick has Alexandra Mandrycky as his director of hockey administration. (Mandrycky was actually brought in before Francis.) However, there are a multitude of hires still to be made, including picking the best possible assistant GMs and scouts.

In addition, there is the NHL expansion draft and NHL draft in June 2021 to consider. (The NHL would like Seattle to host the events, but this will be determined by when the arena renovations are completed.)

Next. Ranking The General Managers. dark

Overall, the one-year delay for beginning play is both a positive and a necessity. NHL Seattle hockey fans can only hope this puts the team in a stronger position to compete when they finally hit the ice.

Any preferences for NHL Seattle’s team name? What about who the franchise should hire as their first head coach? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.