Now that the Tampa Bay Lightning have beat the Montreal Canadiens to win their second straight Stanley Cup, all eyes are focused on the NHL's impending free-agency period.

But this year there is a huge plot twist: the Seattle Kraken expansion draft.

Just like the Vegas Golden Knights did back in 2017, the Kraken can cherry-pick players from every team in the league except Vegas.

The expansion draft will take place in Seattle on Wednesday, but before that, the Kraken will have exclusive negotiating rights for pending unrestricted free agents from Sunday until Tuesday.

UFAs didn't exactly line up to sign on the dotted line with Vegas, but Seattle may have better luck considering that the league has a flat cap this offseason and Kraken general manager Ron Francis has the green light to spend, as he told Tracey Myers of

"We have $81.5 million of cap space to play with, so that's certainly something we want to make sure we try to take advantage of moving forward. I think we're fortunate that ownership has given us a green light to spend toward the cap, if we so see fit.

"We'll look at the team that we're able to draft, based on who's available, then we'll look at the needs that we think the team has, and we'll certainly try to venture out on the 28th when free agency hits and see if there are individuals there that maybe we can sign to fill some of those needs that we have."

Once the Kraken are finished with their shopping spree, the league-wide free-agency period will begin July 28.

Here's a quick look at a few of the premier free agents set to be on the market.


Alex Ovechkin, LW

The timing for Alex Ovechkin couldn't be more perfect.

His 13-year, $124 million deal officially ends July 28.

But the Washington Capitals captain more than likely won't hit the open market.

The Russian has already let it be known that he wants to stay in nation's capital, so it's up to general manager Brian MacLellan to come up with a contract extension that makes No. 8 happy.

"Obviously, I want to finish my career here," Ovechkin told reporters in May. "I'm pretty sure we will do something soon."

Ovi won't say it, but it's likely that he and the Capitals have a gentlemen's agreement on a deal that will become official after the expansion draft.

"I can't find anyone in the NHL who thinks Alexander Ovechkin's extension isn't already 'in the drawer,'" Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman wrote at the end of June.