Vegas Golden Knights Set Sight on Future In Expansion Draft

Brayden McNabb. Photography by Tyler Bischoff

Nearly one year after the NHL awarded Las Vegas an NHL franchise, the Golden Knights finally got a chance to complete their roster. But general manager George McPhee had his eye set on the future and stockpiled draft picks during the expansion draft.

With every NHL team allowed to protect as many as 11 players in the expansion draft, Las Vegas had its choice of solid players from each team. But the fear of losing a key player led a few teams to hand Vegas future assets – the most important part of the Golden Knights’ expansion draft. And that wasn’t lost on McPhee’s rival general managers.

“They’re way past getting off the ground. I think this is by far the best expansion team ever,” said David Poile, Nashville general manager.

Overall the Golden Knights came away with eight more draft picks than they started with, including two more first round picks in 2017. The Golden Knights hold three of the top 15 draft picks in Friday’s entry draft. One of the largest hauls came from the New York Islanders. The Golden Knights came away with three players and two draft picks.

Las Vegas selected the Islanders’ third goalie Jean-Francois Berube and were traded Mikhail Grabovski and his $5 million cap hit. In return, the Islanders sent the Golden Knights a massive prize in their 2017 first round pick (#15 overall), 2019 second round pick and 22-year-old defenseman Jake Bischoff.

Beyond draft picks, Las Vegas walked away with a few promising young players as well. The top prospect that the Golden Knights received came from Anaheim, California in Shea Theodore. The Ducks had one of the most appetizing lists of exposed players in Sami Vatanen and Josh Mason, but instead of selecting one of those two, McPhee took 32-year-old Clayton Stoner and was rewarded with Theodore as a prize.

Most of the players selected today won’t be a part of the franchise in a few years, but the draft picks and prospects will. The Golden Knights aren’t likely to push for a playoff spot in year one, but all of the future assets will set Las Vegas up for a bright future.

Face Of The Franchise

There is a new state flower in the state of Nevada: Marc-Andre Fleury. Las Vegas selected Fleury from Pittsburgh in the expansion draft, and while Fleury will downplay the idea of being the face of the franchise, he was the star of the expansion draft.

“I’m not going to be the face of much. I just want to come and play hockey,” Fleury said. “Obviously we have great fans already, having sold out the season tickets and the reception I got tonight. I’ll give everything I got to win some games here.”

The 13-year veteran has been a part of three Stanley Cup winning teams in Pittsburgh. He posted at least 30 wins in seven of the last nine seasons.

With Fleury in net, Las Vegas will have a chance to win regardless of how much talent is in front of him. And the players selected with Fleury know the star power they will have in the crease.

“I think we’re going to be competitive,” said Brayden McNabb, Las Vegas’ selection from the Los Angeles Kings. “We’ve got great goaltending, so it starts there.”

Along with Fleury and McNabb,

Deryk Engelland (from Calgary) and Jason Garrison (from Tampa Bay) were introduced on stage wearing a Golden Knights jersey.

There will likely be a tremendous amount of trades in the next 48 hours, as the Golden Knights have 15 defensemen. NHL teams usually use six or seven defensemen in a game.

While it is no guarantee which players will avoid McPhee’s trades, Fleury, McNabb, Engelland and Garrison are among the safest bets to take the ice in game one in a Golden Knights jersey.

Deryk Engelland

First Three Games Announced

The full NHL schedule will be announced tomorrow at noon. But we know the first three Golden Knights’ games.

Las Vegas will open its first season on the road with back to games in Dallas on October 6th and Arizona on October 7th. The first home game in T-Mobile Arena will be on October 10th against the Arizona Coyotes.

Full List Of The Expansion Draft

Anaheim Ducks – Clayton Stoner

Defensemen | 32 years old | $3.25 million cap hit through 2017-18

Arizona Coyotes – Teemu Pulkkinen

    Left Winger | 25 years old | Restricted Free Agent

Boston Bruins – Colin Miller

Defensemen | 23 years old | $1 million cap hit through 2017-18

Buffalo Sabres – William Carrier

Left Winger | 22 years old | $689,167 cap hit through 2017-18

Calgary Flames – Deryk Engelland 

Defensemen | 35 years old | Unrestricted Free Agent

Carolina Hurricanes – Connor Brickley

Center | 25 years old | Unrestricted Free Agent

Chicago Blackhawks – Trevor van Riemsdyk

Defensemen | 25 years old | $825,000 cap hit through 2017-18

Colorado Avalanche – Calvin Pickard

Goalie | 25 years old | $1 million through 2017-18

Columbus Blue Jackets – William Karlsson

Center | 24 years old | $1 million cap hit through 2017-18

Dallas Stars – Cody Eakin

Center | 26 years old | $3.85 million cap hit through 2019-20

Detroit Red Wings – Tomas Nosek

Left Wing | 24 years old | $612,500 cap hit through 2017-18

Edmonton Oilers – Griffin Reinhart

Defensemen | 23 years old | Restricted Free Agents

Florida Panthers – Jonathan Marchessault

Center | 26 years old | $750,000 cap hit through 2017-8

Los Angeles Kings – Brayden McNabb

Defensemen | 26 years old | $1.7 million through 2017-18

Minnesota Wild – Erik Haula

Left Wing | 26 years old | Restricted Free Agent

Montreal Canadiens – Alexei Emelin

Defensemen | 31 years old | $4.1 million cap hit through 2017-18

Nashville Predators – James Neal

Right Wing | 29 years old | $5 million cap hit through 2017-18

New Jersey Devils – Jon Merrill

Defensemen | 25 years old | $1.14 million cap hit through 2017-18

New York Islanders – Jean-Francois Berube

Goalie | 25 years old | Unrestricted Free Agent

New York Rangers – Oscar Lindberg

Center | 25 years old | Restricted Free Agent

Ottawa Senators – Marc Methot

Defensemen | 32 years old | $4.9 million cap hit through 2018-19

Philadelphia Flyers – Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare

Left Wing | 32 years old | $1.45 million cap hit through 2018-19

Pittsburgh Penguins – Marc-Andre Fleury

Goalie | 32 years old | $5.75 million cap hit through 2018-19

San Jose Sharks – David Schlemko

Defensemen | 30 years old | $2.1 million cap hit through 2019-20

St Louis Blues – David Perron

Winger | 29 years old | $3.75 million cap hit through 2017-18

Tampa Bay Lightning – Jason Garrison

Defense | 32 years old | $4.6 million cap hit through 2017-18

Toronto Maple Leafs – Brendan Leipsic

Left Wing | 23 years old | Restricted Free Agent

Vancouver Canucks – Luca Sbisa

Defensemen | 27 years old | $3.6 million cap hit through 2017-18

Washington Capitals – Nate Schmidt

Defensemen | 25 years old | Restricted Free Agent

Winnipeg Jets – Chris Thorburn

Winger | 34 years old | Unrestricted Free Agent

All Salary Cap Information courtesy of Cap Friendly

Side Deals

Anaheim Ducks – Vegas Golden Knights acquire defenseman Shea Theodore.

Buffalo Sabres – Vegas Golden Knights acquire Buffalo’s 2017 sixth round draft pick.

Carolina Hurricanes – Vegas Golden Knights acquire Boston’s 2017 fifth round draft pick (previously acquired by Carolina).

Columbus Blue Jackets – Vegas Golden Knights acquire Columbus’ 2017 first round draft pick, Columbus’ 2019 second round draft pick and forward David Clarkson.

Florida Panthers – Vegas Golden Knights acquire forward Reilly Smith in exchange for Las Vegas’ 2018 fourth round draft pick.

Minnesota Wild – Vegas Golden Knights acquire forward Alex Tuch in exchange for a conditional third round draft pick in either the 2017 or 2018 draft.

New York Islanders – Vegas Golden Knights acquire Jake Bischoff, Mikhail Grabovski, New York’s 2017 first round draft pick and New York’s 2019 second round draft pick.

Pittsburgh Penguins – Vegas Golden Knights acquire Pittsburgh’s 2020 second round draft pick.

Tampa Bay Lightning – Vegas Golden Knights acquire Tampa Bay’s 2017 second round draft pick, Pittsburgh’s 2018 fourth round draft pick (previously acquired by Tampa Bay) and the rights to Nikita Gusev.

Winnipeg Jets – Vegas Golden Knights acquire Winnipeg’s first round draft pick in 2017 and Winnipeg’s third round draft pick in 2019 in exchange for Columbus’ 2017 first round draft pick.

DTLV

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