Stanzo’s Editor’s Note: Posting this a mere 3 hours before the expansion draft as names have already started to leak is classic BTB Sports. But your boy Phil wrote another dope article so shut up and read it.
For all the people who closely follow the NHL, or even just their home team, this week is like a week long Christmas morning. On Saturday, the 30 NHL teams submitted their protected lists consisting of 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 1 goalie, or just 8 positioned players. Following that, the newest addition to the NHL, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, get to draft one player from each team that hasn’t been protected. They had until this morning to submit their list and the team will be revealed tonight at 8pm. Yesterday Adidas revealed all new (although most are generally the same) jerseys that the teams will carry for this coming year. The full schedule will be announced Thursday at 3pm, and to top off an eventful week, the draft will be held in Chicago on Friday at 7pm. An all around crazy week for hockey fans with loads of excitement surrounding this Vegas team.
It’s important to note that with the 30 players Vegas will be selecting from a plethora of talented players left unprotected that they have some restrictions and have to meet guidelines.
- Vegas must select 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders.
- Vegas must select a minimum of 20 players who are under contract for the 2017-18 season.
- Vegas must select players with an aggregate Expansion Draft value that is between 60-100% of the prior season’s upper limit for the salary cap. (So roughly 43$ million)
Now Vegas can go many directions with this draft. Some of the guys available are older, more expensive players that they may take just to make it to the cap minimum. Some guys will be younger, less expensive, and maybe not as proven in the League, but could provide key depth for their future. There are rumors regarding teams offering their first round pick in this years draft in exchange for Vegas not selecting their unprotected players. Vegas could go with this route and aim to stockpile draft picks and build their organization from within. Whatever way they decide to handle the draft, these are the players I see most fitting with the newest expansion team.
*I didn’t take into account potential trades to keep players protected since the Vegas GM has noted they have locked in at least six trades already
Johnathan Bernier (G). Bernier will most likely be the backup net minder in Vegas, or even trade bait since the team has plenty of goalies to choose from. Backups in the league are becoming more and more necessary to make a deep run at the cup and this guy is the perfect fit for that.
Alexander Burmistrov (F). At just 25, the 6’1 180 lb center has great potential. He is a former first round pick and given the right teammates, I believe he can prove his offensive talent.
Malcolm Subban (G). Yes this is PK Subban’s little brother. Kid will probably sit in the minors till he proves to be more consistent, but the most valuable on the B’s unprotected list.
William Carrier (F). Gonna be honest here… didn’t know who this guy was but a lot of experts had him being selected so i’ll roll with it. He’s 22 and was a second round pick so that probably has something to do with it.
Matt Stajan (F). He’s 33 but can be a key depth guy with 401 points and almost 1000 games under his belt.
Lee Stempniak (F). People may disagree with this since Carolina has some younger guys that Vegas can go with, however Stempniak can score and this is good for the Knights for two reasons. One, they will need some sort of offense outside of the younger, undeveloped guys they are going to draft, and the veteran can provide that. Two, he can be dished out at the trade deadline to a team needing a quick fix to their offense in return for some key pieces.
Mikhail Grigorenko (F). This guy is huge. 6’3 210 lbs as a center is pretty big. He’s a physical youngster that can score. Still has time to develop since he’s only 23.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Sam Gagner (F). The Jackets are in trouble. They’ve got key guys unprotected like Jack Johnson and Josh Anderson (17 goals last season). Assuming Columbus doesn’t work out a trade to keep those guys, Gagner would be the pick. Experts are picking Matt Calvert to go to Vegas.. why? Gagner is the same age, body size, and holds much more experience and talent. The circus continues for the former sixth overall pick.
Cody Eakin (D). The Stars are gonna miss this guy. A solid and proven blue-liner with some offensive flashes.
Detroit Red Wings
Peter Mrazek (G). Another very solid goaltender to the Knights. Why he was left unprotected for the 33 year old Jimmy Howard I will never figure out. They have virtually the same stats.
Griffin Reinhart (D). Another young prospect with tremendous size at 6’4.
Johnathan Marchessault (F). Here’s a list with some really good names on it. Ultimately, I went with Marchessault, despite his size at 5’9, because he’s coming off a year in which he scored 30 goals. Another great young forward.
Los Angeles Kings
Brayden McNabb (D). The LA defensemen is a great kid to have in your system. He’s a shut down defenseman that can play good minutes down the road. Sorry Kings fans, you’re still stuck with Dustin Brown.
Eric Staal (F). I don’t know what Minnesota’s GM was thinking leaving their leading goal scorer unprotected for a guy who has one proven season (Granlund). Staal is a guaranteed 20 goal scorer, and the time is now for Minnesota. They need guys like him on their team if they want to make the push deep in the playoffs.
Nikita Nesterov (D). This is a promising young blue-liner. He’s just as good or even better than some of the other defenseman Montreal can offer.
James Neal (F). Unless there’s a trade we don’t know about, Neal will be the one to go. They should’ve protected Scissons in my opinion, but Neal is great option for Knights. This guy can really play. Could be extremely valuable trade bait at the deadline.
New Jersey Devils
Dalton Prout (D). Another guy I really don’t know much about but he’s young!
New York Islanders
Ryan Strome (F). Screwed with a capital F. They’re close to the cap as is, so replacing whoever they lose will be tough. They’re probably dealing out a first round pick(s) to the Knights to protect guys, and Mikhail Grabovski still isn’t cleared to play. I would love to see Vegas fuck them over and take one of the three guys they’re going to beg to keep protected in Haan, Nelson, and Strome.
New York Rangers
Michael Grabner (F). They have a questionable list of players left exposed including Jesper Fast and Tanner Glass. These are key depth guys to a Rangers team that values its scoring since Hank seems to be not his usual King-like self these days. I would’ve exposed Nash, he sucks. Grabner is a scorer, something Vegas will need a lot of to keep pace in their division.
Mark Methot (D). A phenomenal, physical, shut down defender. Ottawa couldn’t protect him and its a shame they will be losing such a valuable piece to their playoff run.
Michael Neuvirth (G). This was a tough choice for me. Michael Raffl is a solid two way forward that can play anywhere in the lineup that may catch Vegas’ eye. However, Neuvy was drafted in Washington by the Vegas GM and he speaks very highly of the Flyers backup goaltender. Stay away from Jordan Weal Vegas, he’s ours.
Marc-Andre Fleury(G). Everyone knows it. The inconsistent goaltender waved his no-movement clause just so he could go play for the Knights. He should be the starter and steal them some wins out in the City of Lights.
San Jose Sharks
Mikkel Boedker (F). At first I was thrown off to see Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Joel Ward on the exposed list. But then I remembered the entire Sharks core is from like the 1990 draft. I would love to see Vegas’ GM take one of those guys just to troll them. Boedker is a solid depth guy.
St. Louis Blues
Robert Bortuzzo (D). Guy’s a lock down defender at 6’4. Should be valuable for the Knights.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Andrej Sustr (D). I’ve always thought the Lightning had a very underrated defense since Victor Hedman gets all the praise. Outside of him, they have a lot of key pieces including Sustr, who is a very solid pickup by Vegas.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Seth Griffith (F). Honestly I had no clue who to go with on the Leafs list. So I followed the trend and went with another young forward.
Luca Sbisa (D). At 27 this guy has almost 500 games played. He can be a valuable leader to the youngsters of the team while still developing himself.
Nate Schmidt (D). Holy talent. There’s a lot of free agents on Washington’s exposed list that can still come back so thats not an issue. They sort of schemed the system by doing that. Schmidt is on the younger side of the list to choose from for Vegas. His playoff experience is a great asset to own.
Marko Dano (F). A prospect that has shown flashes of offensive talent in Winnipeg.
Everyone wants to see Vegas compete in their first year and with this roster I’m sure they will. Look for plenty of trading to be done once this list is announced.