Examining the Seattle Kraken’s inaugural roster, plus why the title path for the Suns will only get tougher

Written by on September 5, 2021

Happy Thursday newsletter readers. Shanna McCarriston back to give you all the sports news of the day. It’s starting to sink in that the NHL and NBA seasons are both over (so sad). However, we have the Olympics coming up in under 24 hours, so things won’t be quiet for that long.

And speaking of the NHL, just because we are not in season doesn’t mean we don’t have important hockey events. Last night the NHL Expansion Draft, in which the Seattle Kraken stole players from teams around the league, took place. Fun! … unless your favorite player from your favorite team was taken.

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We will get you updated on that, discuss whether the Suns have missed their window for winning and much more.

Let’s get started.

? What you need to know

1. How the Seattle Kraken built their roster ?

What’s Kraken guys?! It’s about to be a long season of Seattle Kraken puns, so I apologize in advance. Last night the 32nd NHL team had their expansion draft. Every other team in the league, with the exception of the Vegas Golden Knights, made players available for Seattle.

The team’s most notable addition was former All-Star, Norris award winner and Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano. Here’s a look at some noteworthy guys Seattle picked up, along with the team they scooped the player from:

Overall, Seattle selected:

  • Fifteen forwards
  • Twelve defensemen
  • Three goaltenders

They were required to select at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders. For a look at the complete Kraken roster, check this out.

2. Have the Suns missed their window to win? ?

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Making the NBA Finals isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world and once teams get the opportunity to win one, it doesn’t always come along again for a while. This was shaping up to be the Phoenix Sun’s year and yet, even after taking a 2-0 lead in the Finals, the Milwaukee Bucks were the ones holding up the Larry O’Brien trophy in the end. 

This is the fourth time a Chris Paul team lost a best-of-seven series after going up 2-0. Even with stars like CP3 playing well, the Suns couldn’t get it done.

Let’s take a look how their journey to the Finals went, and why this was a golden opportunity for the Suns.

  • Finished with the second best record in the NBA
  • Lakers star Anthony Davis got hurt against the Suns in the playoffs, making their path easier
  • Jamal Murray and Kawhi Leonard were out when the Clippers faced Phoenix 
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo hyperextended his knee early in the Finals
  • Suns go up 2-0 in the series
  • Suns lose to the Bucks in six games

What a roller coaster. Things don’t always line up like this for teams — especially in the playoffs — and next year there will be a lot of serious contenders giving the Suns a run for their money.

The Lakers aren’t disappearing and a healthier Davis and LeBron James won’t make beating them any easier. The Clippers and the Nuggets could pose a threat once they get healthy and the Nets still have their stars. Suns players will also get more expensive as they continue to succeed, which will make it difficult to keep the core together.

Even when things go your way in the NBA, the margin of error is thin. Just ask the Suns.

3. Nick Saban is already using new NIL laws to promote his program ?

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There’s a reason why some coaches are great. Alabama’s Nick Saban is one of those coaches who always finds himself above the rest. With college players now able to make money from their name and likeness, Saban saw an opportunity to promote his program. Smart man.

This week, Saban said quarterback Bryce Young has made “almost seven figures” to date in name, image and likeness and, while the comment seems shocking — and maybe not event true? — there’s another layer to why he said it.

With the comment, Saban is telling others that “almost seven figures” is a number that is possible to reach with Alabama. Let’s also keep in mind Young hasn’t started a game yet, meaning the opportunities will only keep flooding in. 

Some are worried about the NIL disparities between players causing an issue in the locker room. Saban had an answer for that too.

  • Saban: “All we’ve done is create an opportunity for our players to work. The only thing is it’s not equal.”

It’ll take until the season begins to really know the numbers players are bringing in, what the average is for the top stars and which schools reign supreme in bringing the most money in. For now it’s clear Alabama will be among the top, if not No. 1.

4. It’s make or break time for the Nationals ⚾

MLB‘s trade deadline is approaching. July 30 is less than 10 days away. As we approach the big day, rumors are swirling and we have a lot to talk about.

The Nationals are a team to watch, as it remains uncertain whether they will make their ace Max Scherzer available. The impeding free agent would be the top starter on the market — if they did make him available to other teams.

Based on comments from Washington’s general manager Mike Rizzo, it’s not clear what they plan to do.

  • Rizzo: “We still have some games to play before we make those kind of decisions, but I think a dual path is probably the most advantageous for us right now.”

The Nats are at 45-50 as of this morning and are headed for a seven-game road trip against the Orioles and Phillies. What occurs in those games and where they end up in the standings will likely have an impact on what they decide to do at the deadline.

? Odds & Ends

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? What to watch tonight

⚾ Rangers vs. Tigers, 1:10 p.m. | DET -130 | TV: MLB.TV

⚾ Braves vs. Phillies, 7:05 p.m. | PHI +125 | TV: MLB.TV

⚾ Yankees vs. Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. | BOS -121 | TV: MLB.TV

? Best thing I saw on the internet

Athletes and coaches celebrate championships in many ways. Giannis Antetokounmpo decided to celebrate in a rather unique way. The NBA Finals MVP was seen on his Instagram live ordering 50, yes 50, chicken nuggets to celebrate Milwaukee’s win.

The number 50 is significant, as it’s the number of points he scored in Game 6 and it’s the number of years between both Bucks’ championship. The Greek Freak made sure to specify that he didn’t want 49 or 51 nuggets, he needed exactly 50.

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