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Seattle Kraken complete expansion payments, become 32nd NHL team

April 30 (UPI) -- The Seattle Kraken are allowed to make trades and sign players after the organization made its final expansion payment to the NHL, it was announced.

Kraken owners paid $650 million to officially become the 32nd franchise in the league. Seattle will begin play next season.

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"On behalf of the board of governors, I am delighted to officially welcome the Seattle Kraken to the NHL as our 32nd member club," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement Friday.

"Congratulations to David Bonderman, the Bonderman family, their partners, the entire Seattle Kraken organization, the city of Seattle and Kraken fans as the club continues on its exciting journey towards puck drop in October."

Kraken general manager Ron Francis has been able to speak with other teams around the league, and he and his staff have been scouting and preparing for the expansion draft in late July.

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The Kraken's final payment gives Francis the ability to make official transactions, such as signing college free agents and European players who have aged out of draft eligiblity.

"Today is another momentous day on the journey to puck drop," Kraken majority owner David Bonderman said. "I would like to thank Gary Bettman and the NHL for welcoming us to the league."

The 2021 NHL Expansion Draft is scheduled to take place July 21. Two days later, the Kraken will pick as high as No. 1 and no lower than No. 5 in the first round of the 2021 amateur draft.

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