The NHL awarded Seattle with a franchise on Tuesday and while the team isn’t going to begin play until the 2021-22 season, management is already confident it can ice a competitive team from the start.
“You have to balance where you’re at but as an organization, because of the rules, we know that we think can be competitive out of the gate,” Dave Tippett, an advisor to the new Seattle team, said in an interview on Sportsnet 650. “You just balance where you’re at and you have to make sure you have an eye on the future.”
The new Seattle team, which still doesn’t have a name, will have big shoes to fill after the instant success of the Vegas Golden Knights last season. Seattle will have the same expansion draft rules as the Golden Knights, and one extra year to scout and prepare for that draft, which Tippett says they plan to take full advantage of.
“It will be a little bit different for us because we have the extra year now to go through it. But I did a pretty close study on (Vegas) and they did a heck of a job, you’ve got to give them credit and there’s certainly things we can learn from that,” he said. “The scouting part of it, that’s a huge element, both on the pro and amateur side. That’s the key to getting your team up and running and keep sustaining your team, you’ve got to have good scouts to help you out.”
Tippett joined Seattle as an advisor after 14 seasons as an NHL head coach with the Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes. In his current role, he’s been helping the team with hockey decisions like dressing room design and the construction of a new practice facility.
Still, with his coaching resume, some people have wonder if Tippett would step behind the bench in Seattle too. But he says that’s not a role he’s thought much about yet.
“That’s not the reason I came here. The coaching here is a long way off … so it’s not something I’ve really thought about,” Tippett said. “The other parts of the hockey world, when you’ve been a player or a coach for a long time, the other parts of the world are sometimes interesting to get involved with.”
Whatever role Tippett takes, the Seattle team has a long way to go before taking the ice in 2021. But the process can officially start now after Tuesday’s announcement and Tippett is excited to get the ball rolling.
“It’s a great day for the city of Seattle,” Tippett said. “Now the real work starts.”