Kraken CEO: Francis has authority to spend to cap in Year 1

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Seattle Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke says general manager Ron Francis has the green light to spend in the organization's inaugural season.

"Our GM has lots of options," Leiweke told The Athletic's Ryan Clark. "What owners want is for our GM to build a long-term winner. He’s gotta figure out how to do that. If that strategy involves us going to cap in Year 1, he has the authority to do it.

"I think that is one of the reasons we are all optimistic. We have this fan base. We have this arena. We have the Kraken Community Iceplex and owners willing to give Ron resources. Our hope that is we are going to reward these fans, who have been incredible, with a competitive team for years to come."

Seattle's expansion draft is scheduled for July 21 and follows the same rules the Vegas Golden Knights adhered to in 2017. It will be difficult to spend anywhere near the NHL's $81.5 million limit while simply taking exposed players, but the club could take advantage of teams facing salary cap issues by manufacturing side trades for stronger assets like Vegas did.

The Kraken have signed just one player, minor-leaguer Luke Henman, since officially becoming the league's 32nd franchise. The franchise recently hired Dave Hakstol as its first head coach.

Kraken CEO: Francis has authority to spend to cap in Year 1
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