Everyone else is doing a mock Expansion Draft, so figured I would give it a shot. Let’s draft the Vegas Golden Knights!
The full draft protected lists can be found here.
Furthermore, I will honour the trades that are already rumoured to be in place:
So far, VGK reportedly has deals to not take…
– NYI (Cizikas, Bailey)
– CBJ (Korpisalo, Johnson, Anderson)
– ANA (Vatanen, Manson)
— NHLNumbers (@NHLnumbers) June 18, 2017
That means that I will not select those players for the respective teams. There is also the rumoured deal that Las Vegas will take Marcus Kruger from Chicago, and will receive Trevor Van Riemsdyk, so I will select Kruger and happily take TVR for the trouble.
My strategy is to accumulate defenceman who could be traded for future assets but are also young in case there isn’t a market right now. The same applies for goaltenders; I want to corner the market on young goaltenders, forcing teams to come to me to improve that position. Both of these decisions led to some choices that were against the grain.
When looking for forwards, I targetted young players who can play with speed and pace. There are some obvious exceptions to this, but that was the goal. There are also a couple of other forwards selected to be trade options at the 2018 trade deadline possibly.
So without further ado, here is my Las Vegas Golden Knights.
The notable trade pieces in the group are Michael Cammalleri, David Perron and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, but all these players are good skaters who just haven’t had the chance to prove their worth yet. The notable deviations from the norm are Bryan Rust over Marc-Andre Fleury (this will make sense when you look at my goalie selections), although it appears that Fleury will be the selection.
Charles Hudon, Brendan Leipsic, Hunter Shinkaruk, Marko Dano and Nicholas Kerdiles are all forwards who haven’t had an extended look at the NHL either. There are obvious flaws to all their games, but they are all 23-years-old or younger, and Las Vegas is the perfect place for them to get their shot. I would expect Hudon and Leipsic to succeed in some capacity, and Shinkaruk gets selected solely because of the Flames exposed list. Kerdiles was because of the rumoured deal with Anaheim. Thus there would be other assets on their way from Disneyland (hopefully some of those Turkey Legs in Frontierland).
The Golden Knights would be able to build a top six around Vadim Shipachyov, Neal, Cammalleri, and Perron before even adding anyone in unrestricted free agency or via redistribution of assets. Then give some of these young offensive forwards a chance. It’s not great, but it’s a good start. But we are keeping an eye on the future here, so a little pain in the short term isn’t the end of the world.
|Calvin De Haan||D||NYI||26|
Here is where I deviate quite a bit from the norm, but this group actually provides some interesting options. Matt Dumba, Calvin De Haan, Colin Miller and Brayden McNabb would be the group that sticks around while everyone else is fighting for the other two-to-three spots. If anyone calls for anyone other than Dumba, De Haan and McNabb, I am listening and actively interested in moving them. I will admit this isn’t the greatest group, but it’s a starting point.
There are rumours that the Islanders are also having Vegas avoid De Haan, if that is the case, then I would select Thomas Hickey. Unless he is in that ‘don’t take’ list, then whoever they are told to take. We are obviously limited by the information that is publicly available.
You would then add Trevor Van Riemsdyk to this group from Chicago via trade.
Here’s where I corner the market. My end goal would be to start the season with Antti Raanta and Philip Grubauer as my one-two combo in the NHL, and then since Linus Ullmark is the unique position of being exposed but also waiver exempt, he would be my target for the third goalie spot. For Calvin Pickard and Petr Mrazek, they quickly go on the market for future assets. Obviously, the goalie market isn’t great, but this may be the best. If they aren’t generating enough return, then I explore the Raanta and Grubauer markets to see what the return would be.
Obviously, the Vegas Golden Knights as outlined above aren’t the best team in the league, but they would be competitive and would have a plethora of options to accumulate future assets. They are rumoured to have as many as three 2017 first round picks on the way just not to take certain players, and there could be even more. Aside from the goalies, they wouldn’t be forced to make trades now but could wait until teams come calling while giving their young forwards a chance to seize a full-time NHL role.
The Golden Knights are in a unique position to accumulate as many future assets as possible. They could position themselves very quickly to be a serious threat in a couple of years if they do it properly. Using the leverage of the expansion draft to force teams to pay not to take players is a very savvy way to do things. If they can then corner some markets and leverage those, they will be better in the long run.
Either way, it’ll be fun to see how the team shakes out on Wednesday.