The beginning of a new era in Vegas is approaching. A little more than two weeks from now, Vegas-GM George McPhee will draft 30 players from the other NHL-teams to round out the first ever roster for the Vegas Golden Knights. He’re how I would have drafted.

First of all, GM McPhee has to think of what is the purpose of the expansion draft and what does it mean for Vegas. As he has said in the media and something I absolutely agree with, it comes down to three things.

Vegas top three reasons for the draft:

  • Draft players to set up the roster for the future
  • Draft players who can make this a competitive team in the precent
  • Gain more assets (prospects/picks) through trades if possible by taking on “bad contracts” or take contracts that are tradeable for other assets later on

A pretty simple list in a complex expansion bubble as GM McPhee got to juggle from which team he picks which player and position from. Who does McPhee and his assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon (and their scouting team) like best? Well, first I had to figure out who’s going to be available from the respective teams and then try and navigate my way through putting up a plausible roster.

Before you continue to read below, press the link and read up on the rules if you must.

Vegas – Expansion Draft Rules

My selections of who I think they would pick is based upon the three reasons mentioned above. that the team need to fulfill. The main focus is to draft a young team, therefore skipping some older options who would have a case for getting drafted by Vegas. One more thing one had to have in consideration is that 20 of the 30 players drafted by Vegas, needs to be under contract for next season, so the draft is based upon the current contract situation in the league today. No future contract signings applied.

In addition to that I totally skipped choosing UFA’s, because Vegas will get an opportunity to speak with and negotiate with those players before the other teams regardless.

So, that being said, I am now Vegas. Here we go!

NHL Teams Protection list & Vegas Picks:

Anaheim Ducks:  (7-3-1) – Getzlaf, Perry, Kesler, Cogliano, Rakell, Silfverberg, 7th forward, Lindholm, Fowler, Manson, Gibson.
Conditions: Bieksa (waives NMC), Vatanen (traded for 7th forward+), Vermette
Vegas options: Boll, Shaw, Wagner, Vermette, Thompson (re-signed), Eaves (re-signed), Despres, Stoner, Bieksa, Megna, Tokarski
Vegas picks: Jaycob Megna (Defenseman)

– Ducks make a deal to trade away Vatanen for a quality forward and are able to make Bieksa waive his NMC (no movement clause). Could have picked Despres, but either the Ducks gives away a pick to us for not to take him or they don’t care. Either way we pick Jaycob Megna instead. There are other defenseman out there with similar salaries that can go straight into the linup. We need some talented depth with lower salaries.

Arizona Coyotes: (4-4-1) – Rieder, Burmistrov, Martinook, Duclair, Ekman-Larsson, Goligoski, Murphy, Schenn, Smith
Vegas options: McGinn, Richardson, Moroz, Gaudet, Troock, Holland, Jooris, Pulkkinen, Connauton, Domingue
Vegas picks: Teemu Pulkkinen (Left Wing)

– Given the Coyotes number of young players and contract situasions in general, they are going to protect four defensemen. We think they are tempted to leave some of the bigger salaries free. One could be tempted to pick one of them or Connauton. Can’t see the Coyotes give us anything to spare anyone, so we pick upside her going with Teemu Pulkkinen.

Boston Bruins: (7-3-1) – Bergeron, Krejci, Marchand, Backes, Beleskey, Pastrnak, Spooner, Chara, Krug, C. Miller, Rask
Vegas options: Hayes, Nash, Schaller, McQuaid, K. Miller, Morrow, Khudobin, Subban
Vegas picks: Adam McQuaid (Defenseman)

– The Bruins are a team with plenty of options to choose from for us. The most important thing here is that we wanted a player with experience, some salary and one that had a contract through next season. Therefore our choice here became Adam McQuaid. He’s got everything of those, and a main reason for why we choose him. There are a few other realistic alternatives here one could choose instead, depending on what one draft from other teams. In addition, if the Bruins want to keep McQuaid instead and makes a deal where we pick one of Hayes, Nash or Beleskey which could make sense for both teams.

Buffalo Sabres: (7-3-1) – O’Reilly, Okposo, Ennis, Kane, Girgensons, Larsson, Foligno Ristolainen, Bogosian, McCabe, Gorges, Lehner
Vegas options: Moulson, Deslauriers, Carrier, Kea, Falk, Ullmark.
Vegas picks: William Carrier (Forward)

– The Sabres will go with 7-3-1, there is a possibility to pick Gorges here. Otherwise, there aren’t a lot of options. Problem is the rules and most likely one have to pick a forward here, so if it comes to that our choice will be William Carrier.

Calgary Flames: (7-3-1) – Gaudreau, Monahan, Backlund, Bennett, Frolik, Ferland, Brouwer, Giordano, Hamilton, Brodie, Elliott (re-signed)
Vegas options: Stajan, Bouma, Lazar, Chiasson, Bartkowski, Culkin, Wotherspoon, McCollum
Vegas picks: Alex Chiasson (Right Wing)

– This team being very young as well gives us a limited amount of options. There is a case for picking one of the other younger forwards, but we’ll go with the most stabile option in Alex Chiasson and that might even give us a low pick if the Flames are high on keeping the others. The Flames could also elect protect Lazar instead of exposing him, which could make sense long-term. I’m not that high on him, but a lot are. If so, Brouwer would be exposed and he could be a possible draft option for us. I think Dorion would have to either figure out who we are high on from his group, or go with an option and hope for the best.

Carolina Hurricanes: (7-3-1) – Staal, Skinner, Rask, Lindholm, Teravainen, Di Giuseppe, McGinn, Faulk, Murphy, Carrick, Darling
Vegas options: Nestrasil, Stempniak, Nordstrom, Dahlbeck, Lack, Ward
Vegas picks: Lee Stempniak (Left Wing)

– There aren’t really a lot of options from the Hurricanes given they also are a pretty young team. Following the rules, we’ll go with one that has a contract for next season and who has to be available given who else the Hurricanes protect. Lee Stempniak. The other alternative would be to draft Joakim Nordström (who’s the other that has to be available) in a deal if the Canes are hellbent in keeping Stempniak. If so it would return us a decent pick or prospect. The good thing about picking Stempniak is that he’s a good trade deadline trade bait and he will be a good locker room presence if not traded.

Chicago Blackhawks: (7-3-1) – Kane, Toews, Hossa, Anisimov, Panik, Hartman, Jurco, Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson, Crawford
Vegas options: Kruger, Tootoo, Tanner, Latta, van Riemsdyk, Pokka, Svedberg, Glass
Vegas picks: Marcus Kruger (Center)

– The Blackhawks is yet again looking to offload some salary to deal with the cap issues. By making a deal with the Hawks, we can take on Kruger’s contract while at the same time getting another player, in this case defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk.

Colorado Avalanche: (4-4-1) – MacKinnon, Duchene, Landeskog, Grigorenko, Johnson, Beauchemin, Barrie, Zadorov, Varlamov
Vegas options: Colborne, Comeau, Andrighetto, Grimaldi, Nieto, Barberio, Pickard
Vegas picks: Calvin Pickard (Goalie)

– One could either go by need, depth or talent here. We go by need and select goalie Calvin Pickard. Since we might be drafting four goalies, we could be in a position to trade Pickard back later on, but we needed to draft a player with a contract for next season. If the Avs decide to protect Pickard, we’ll pick Varlamov or we can make a deal with the Avs to pick Varlamov and also get another asset. I see it as picking Pickard is the most likely option at this point. There are usable forwards exposed if needed, but it’s option three for us at this point.

Columbus Blue Jackets:  (7-3-1) – Saad, Atkinson, Dubinsky, Foligno, Wennberg, Jenner, Anderson, Jones, Savard, Murray, Bobrovsky
Vegas options: Calvert, Hartnell (NMC waived), Karlsson, Sedlak, Johnson, Korpisalo, Forsberg
Vegas picks: Jack Johnson (Defenseman)

– From the Blue Jackets we’re gonna end up with a good player regardless. Korpisalo is an option, so is Calvert. However given that we probably won’t end up with elite talent up front, it seems smart to either make a deal with the Blue Jackets to pick Johnson because we expect he’s left of the protected list because of age and caphit. Such a deal would be for us to get a pick or prospect in addition to Johnson for not picking Korpisalo or Karlsson. If Hartnell won’t way his NMC, it would also be for us to not pick Anderson.

Dallas Stars: (7-3-1) – Benn, Spezza, Seguin, Eakin, Ritchie, Faksa, Nichushkin, Klingberg, Lindell, Oleksiak, Bishop
Vegas options: Roussel, McKenzie, Cracknell, McNeill, Hamhuis, Pateryn, Johns, Backman, Bystrom, Nemeth, Lehtonen, Niemi
Vegas picks: Ludvig Byström (Defenseman)

– Picking from the Stars is clearly going to be a defensive prospect. Hamhuis is too old for us to consider at this time, and among the prospects it seems that going by the youngest one is the most feasable option as we should have better options than Pateryn, Johns, Backman and Nemeth available. Therefor we pick Ludvig Byström.

Detroit Red Wings: (7-3-1) – Zetterberg, Nielsen, Nyquist, Abdelkader, Athanasiou, Mantha, Tatar, Green, DeKeyser, Ouellet, Mrazek
Vegas options: Sheahan, Glendening, Helm, Nosek, Frk, Kronwall, Ericsson, Jensen, Sproul, Lashoff, Howard
Vegas picks: Jonathan Ericsson (Defenseman)

– An opportunity to add a prospect or pick is most likely with the Red Wings. Sure we can pick one of the younger forwards already on the team, but neither of them is going to make a major difference compared to others we draft. So, by taking on Jonathan Ericsson’s contract in the draft, we can add another player (mainly a prospect) in a deal. The other alternative if our other goalie-options doesn’t pan out, is to make a deal to draft Jimmy Howard. This would let the Wings avoid losing Helm or Sheahan, but having to give us one of the prospects from Grand Rapids (most likely one of the defensive prospects). If a deal won’t interest us, we can straight up pick Sheahan or Frk.

Edmonton Oilers: (7-3-1) – Eberle, Lukic, Nugent-Hopkins, Draisaitl, Maroon, Letestu, Kassian, Larsson, Sekera, Klefbom, Talbot
Vegas options: Pouliot, Pakarinen, Khaira, Samuelsson, Fayne, Gryba, Reinhart,  Brossoit
Vegas picks: Benoit Pouliot (Left Wing)

– There are some possibilities here to pick a younger option. I’m not sure if any of those are going to pan out though, so we pick a guy who can come in and play now, who also got a decent caphit to him. Benoit Pouliot is a good choice here, but others might believe more in one of the younger options.

Florida Panthers: (7-3-1) – Barkov, Huberdeau, Trochek, Bjugstad, Smith, Jokinen, Marchessault, Ekblad, Yandle, Petrovic, Reimer
Vegas options: MacKenzie, Sceviour, Demers, Psysyk, Weegar, Luongo
Vegas picks: Jason Demers (Defenseman)

– From the Panthers we’ll get a solid NHL-player. Maybe we’ll get a pick from the Panthers to take on Demers contract, and picking him seems like the best option. Luongo’s age and contract length is not feasable for us. Demers also has some trade value on or before trade deadline day.

Los Angeles Kings: (4-4-1) – Kopitar, Carter, Pearson, Toffoli, Doughty, Martinez, Muzzin, Forbort, Quick
Vegas options: Gaborik, Brown, Lewis, Clifford, Nolan, Dowd, McNabb, Zatcoff, Campbell
Vegas picks: Brayden McNabb (Defenseman)

– The only reason for not picking Brown or Gaborik here is their contracts and length of their contracts. We don’t need that, and given the other options we select on forwards, it’s probably the most realistic option to select Brayden McNabb here. Maybe the Kings will give us something to pick one of the forwards, but otherwise we’ll stay with a depth pick on the backend. An alternative would be to make a deal where the Kings retain salary on Brown in exchange for also letting another offensive player go. In such a scenario Lewis or Clifford would be drafted and Dustin Brown traded for on a salary retention basis. Maybe trade back Lewis/Clifford for picks.

Minnesota Wild: (7-3-1) – Parise, Koivu, Staal, Granlund, Coyle, Niederreiter, Haula, Suter, Spurgeon, Brodin, Dubnyk
Vegas options: Zucker, Stewart, Pominville (NMC waived), Graovac, Scandella, Dumba, Stalock, Kuemper
Vegas picks: Matt Dumba (Defenseman)

– We are going to get a good defenseman from the Wild regardless of how they protect their players. Either they make a trade or offer us something special. In this scenario Dumba is not protected, so we pick him. But, either Brodin or Spurgeon is feasable options as well. There are rumors that the Wild might leave Staal exposed and protect Zucker. I can’t really see that, though Pominville should be asked to waive his NMC as Vegas won’t pick him. If he doesn’t Staal might see the exposed list regardless.

Montreal Canadiens: (7-3-1) – Pacioretty, Gallagher, Shaw, Galcehnyuk, Byron, Hudon, Danault, Weber, Petry, Beaulieu, Price
Vegas options: Plekanec, Mitchell, Terry, De La Rose, Emelin, Davidson, Benn, Nesterov, Montoya
Vegas picks: Tomas Plekanec (Center)

– One of the few older options we choose to draft is Tomas Plekanec. He’s the perfect guy to have as one of your first leaders of this hockey franchise, and even though it might make more sense to pick a defenseman, to being competitive right now Plekanec is the way to go. We could also make a deal with the Canadiens, where we get a pick/prospect to do so and free’s up capspace for the Canadiens.

Nashville Predators: (4-4-1) – Johansen, Forsberg, Arvidsson, Neal, Subban, Josi, Ellis, Ekholm, Rinne
Vegas options: Smith, Wilson, Jarnkrok, Sissons, McLeod, Salomaki, Watson, Aberg, Mazanec
Vegas picks: Craig Smith (Center/Right Wing)

– There are plenty of options here for us to choose from. The best would be to make a deal with the Predators here. If they give us something extra, we’ll take on one of the bigger contracts and a solid center/wing guy who can play all over all lineup, but mainly on the upper lines. Craig Smith will get us somewhat competive right now and it’s a solid choice with plenty of experience. We got the leverage here, so we should be able to triumph through this. The other alternative is Wilson, they might prefer for us to take him. For the Predators, either player’s cap departure will help against future possible cap issues. If they don’t agree, Jarnkrok is the most obvious choice to draft with Sissons as second.

New Jersey Devils: (7-3-1) – Hall, Zajac, Palmieri, Henrique, Josefson, Noesen, Bennett, Greene, Moore, Severson, Schneider
Vegas options: Cammalleri, Smith-Pelly, Thompson, Lovejoy, Merrill, Prout, Loov, Wedgewood
Vegas picks: Mike Cammalleri (Right Wing/Left Wing)

– There aren’t a lot of options for us from the Devils, given who we have picked as defensemen elsewhere. Because of them having to expose 2 forwards with such amount of games+contracted for next season, Cammalleri will be exposed. However his age and contract is maybe a bit high for us, and could be hard to move. Devante Smith-Pelly is the other realistic choice as there are no other players that sticks out, and he has some upside (even though the odds aren’t that high for him reaching it). In the end, it is probably better to draft Cammalleri as his trade value will be higher later in the season than Smith-Pelly, and Smith-Pelly has had several issues in the past that we might not want to gamble on.

New York Islanders: (7-3-1) – Tavares, Ladd, Bailey, Lee, Nelson, Strome, Cizikas, Boychuk, Hamonic, Leddy, Greiss
Vegas options: Kulemin, Clutterbuck, Chimera, Prince, Quine, De Haan, Hickey, Seidenberg, Halak
Vegas picks: Calvin De Haan (Defenseman)

– Now, the Isles might end up going 4-4-1 and protect De Haan. We don’t think they will do that given the amount of usable forwards they have available. Therefore we pick Calvin de Haan here. If they choose to do so they would end up exposing Lee, Nelson and Cizikas and we’ll make the best possible deal to either select one of them or Clutterbuck.

New York Rangers: (7-3-1) – Nash, Stepan, Zuccarello, Kreider, Miller, Zibanejad, Fast, McDonagh, Staal, Girardi, Lundqvist
Vegas options: Hayes, Grabner, Puempel, Lindberg, Klein, Holden, Raanta
Vegas picks: Antti Raanta (Goalie)

– The Rangers have plenty of forwards exposed for us to choose. Mainly, they have to leave either Miller or Hayes exposed given the rules in place. Which means they have to strike a deal with us unless they don’t want to lose either of them. That gives us an option to draft Antti Raanta and add another player to our roster. This would be eiter Fast or Lindberg, in this scenario we have them protecting Fast. Therefore we want a deal in place to get Lindberg as an incentive not to pick Hayes.

Ottawa Senators: (7-3-1) – Hoffman, Brassard, Turris, Stone, Pageau, Smith, Dzingel, Karlsson, Methot, Ceci, Anderson
Vegas options: Ryan, Burrows, Phaneuf, Borowiecki, Wideman, Claesson, Hammond
Vegas picks: Fredrik Claesson (Defenseman) – Senators give Vegas a pick to not select?

– Looking at the Senators, again there are options. Can’t see the Sens going 4-4-1, but if they do they still have to make a deal with us not to select whoever forward getting exposed. MacArthur is excempt from the list of players having to be exposed because of lack of games, therefore either Ryan, Brassard, Hoffman, Stone, Turris or Smith will be exposed along with Burrows. Ryan doesn’t defend his caphit and term. The Sens would have a hard time trading him without retaining much salary. Leaving him exposed seems like a smart move by Dorion as we won’t pick him because his contract is hard to potentially trade. However, would they want to leave some player with a higher caphit open for us to pick? They got Dzingel and Pageau to re-sign plus at least two-three more and $8M in capspace.

In the end we are ending up with one of those defensemen, and Fredrik Claesson seems to be a good option for both the Sens and for us.  If Phanuef doesn’t waive his NMC the Sens might give us a pick to not select Methot (and even the younger defensemen). It’s hard to find and develop solid defensemen and would they sacrifice one for the emotional value of keeping a player like Zack Smith? I think it’s a bigger potential to see us use a drafted defenseman to trade for Ryan and a prospect+pick later on (and not draft an exposed Ryan now) if we see the need to add a scorer (though that contract term is intimidating). That would give us more value back, in addition to giving the Senators some value back.

Philadelphia Flyers: (7-3-1) – Giroux, Voracek, Schenn, Simmonds, Filppula, Couturier, Read, Gudas, Gostisbehere, Manning, Neuvirth
Vegas options: Weise, Raffl, Bellemare, MacDonald, Stolarz, Laughton, Cousins
Vegas picks: Scott Laughton (Center)

– Looking at the Flyers they will bait us into taking MacDonald. We’re not gonna do that. We’ll get our defensemen elsewhere and we’re not taking up that contract unless we’re getting a solid deal where picks or prospects are added. So from the Flyers we are going with one of the prospects, meaning either Laughton or Cousins. In this scenario we have drafted Scott Laughton.

Pittsburgh Penguins: (7-3-1) – Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, Hörnqvist, Hagelin, Rust, Sundqvist, Letang, Maatta, Schultz, Murray
Vegas options: Kuhnhackl, Wilson, Cole, Pouliot, Dumoulin, Fleury (waived NMC)
Vegas picks: Marc-Andre Fleury (Goalie)

– I can’t see the Penguins want to lose a prospect or pick by dealing with us to select someone else than Fleury (who waives his NMC). If they however do that, we would end up with either Hagelin, Rust or one of the defensemen + another player in such a deal. Most likely Pouliot or Sundqvist. In this scenario we have chosen to go with Fleury. We get a pick to do so. The other alternative is that the Pens want a side deal with us, where they would get a player (defenseman) we draft from one of the other teams in return for not trading Fleury to someone else before we select him. We would still get the pick or prospect though.

San Jose Sharks: (4-4-1) – Pavelski, Couture, Hertl, Burns, Martin, Vlasic, Braun, Dillon, Jones
Vegas options: Boedker, Ward, Karlsson, Hansen, Schlemko, DeMelo, Dell
Vegas picks: Dylan DeMelo (Defenseman)

– There is a case for selecting several of the players exposed by the Sharks. Most would probably go with Boedker or Schlemko. Neither a bad option. I think the better option would be to select a prospect and depending on the Sharks attitude towards it, gain another asset for doing so. Therefore we draft Dylan DeMelo here.

St. Louis Blues: (7-3-1) – Tarasenko, Schwartz, Stastny, Steen, Berglund, Lehtera, Perron, Pietroangelo, Bouwmeester, Edmundson, Allen
Vegas options: Paajarvi, Brodziak, Reaves, Jaskin, Yakupov, Rattie, Gunnarsson, Bortuzzo, Hutton
Vegas picks: Nail Yakupov (Right Wing/Left Wing)

– In this scenario we select upside. I think the Blues won’t stress too much about who we select here, might give us something to not select Jaskin or Gunnarsson, but otherwise we’ll go with the potential upside Nail Yakupov still has, even though there has been “bust”-screams for awhile. The other possible option would be the Blues making a deal with us to pick Lehtera and give us the rights to Yakupov and a pick/prospect. In such a scenario, the Blues would protect Jaskin. They would do this to create breathing room under the caproof after re-signing Parayko (who’s exempt from the expansion draft because he’s only in his second year as a pro). If this happens, we would most likely have to switch out a player from one of the other teams with player who has a lower salary.

Tampa Bay Lightning: (7-3-1) – Stamkos, Kucherov, Callahan, Killorn, Druin, Johnson, Palat, Hedman, Garrison, Stralman, Vasilevskiy
Vegas options: Namestnikov, Condra, Brown, Paquette, Coburn (waive NTC), Koekkoek, Sustr, Gudlevskis
Vegas picks: Vladislav Namestnikov (Center)

– From the Lightnings group it’s only Namestnikov that makes sense to select as of now. The other two options would be a Killorn who waives his NTC or Koekkoek (though the problem is that he isn’t under contract next season). Any other option would see us ending up with more assets.

Toronto Maple Leafs: (7-3-1) – Kadri, van Riemsdyk, Bozak, Komarov, Brown, Leipsic, Griffith, Reilly, Gardiner, Carrick, Andersen
Vegas options: Fehr, Smith, Rychel, Leivo, Martin, Marchenko, Marincin, Sparks
Vegas picks: Martin Marincin (Defenseman)

– From the Leafs there are a few options, drafting Martin Marincin seems like the most realistic option. The other possibilities would be Leivo or Marchenko if the protection list looks like this. There’s not a lot else that makes sense here.

Vancouver Canucks: (7-3-1) – Sedin, Sedin, Eriksson, Sutter, Baertschi, Horvat, Granlund, Edler, Tanev, Gudbranson, Markstrom
Vegas options: Dorsett, Megna, Gaunce, Boucher, Sbisa, Biega, Bachman
Vegas picks: Reid Boucher (Left Wing)

– Looking into the Canucks they would also protect 7-3-1, leaving a couple of intersting young forwards available. Given how we have selected several centers already, we’ll draft the winger Reid Boucher unless the Canucks wants to deal us something to pick otherwise.

Washington Capitals: (7-3-1) – Ovechkin, Backström, Kuznetsov, Johansson, Burakovsky, Eller, Connolly, Niskanen, Carlson, Orlov, Holtby
Vegas options: Wilson, Beagle, Orpik, Chorney, Schmidt, Grubauer
Vegas picks: Phillip Grubauer (Goalie)

– Since the rules in place dictate us to select at minimum 20 contracted players for next season, drafting backup goalie Phillip Grubauer is a clearcut choice. If we’re going to change that we need to select a player under contract from one of those teams we haven’t, and then we would end up with Nate Schmidt. I can’t see the Capitals making such a deal, as there are enough backups out there for them to sign.

Winnipeg Jets: (4-4-1) – Scheifele, Wheeler, Little, Perreault, Byfuglien, Myers, Enstrom, Trouba, Hellebuyck
Vegas options: Matthias, Lowry, Armia, Howden, Dano, Copp, Stuart, Hutchinson
Vegas picks: Adam Lowry (Left Wing/Center)

– One of few teams that will go with 4-4-1 is the Jets, leaving plenty of forwards exposed. Adam Lowry seem to be the best choice from this group, having the size advantage and being more stabile then the others so far. The only other realistic option would be Joel Armia, and the Jets won’t pay up for us to select Armia instead of Lowry.


Vegas Golden Knights – Roster (after Expansion Draft)

Teemu Pulkkinen (Arizona Coyotes – LW)
William Carrier (Buffalo Sabres) – under contract for the 2017/18 season
Alex Chiasson (Calgary Flames – RW)
Lee Stempniak (Carolina Hurricanes – RW) – under contract for the 2017/18 season
Marcus Kruger (Chicago Blackhawks – C) – under contract for the 2017/18 season
Benoit Pouliot (Edmonton Oilers – LW) – under contract for the 2017/18 season
Tomas Plekanec (Montreal Canadiens – C) – under contract for the 2017/18 season
Craig Smith (Nashville Predators – C/RW) – under contract for the 2017/18 season
Mike Cammalleri (New Jersey Devils – LW) – under contract for the 2017/18 season
Scott Laughton (Philadelphia Flyers – C)
Nail Yakupov (St. Louis Blues – RW/LW)
Vladislav Namestnikov (Tampa Bay Lightning – C) – under contract for the 2017/18 season
Reid Boucher (Vancouver Canucks – LW)
Adam Lowry (Winnipeg Jets – LW/C) – under contract for the 2017/18 season

Possible Lines (players in bold already with the team):

Cammalleri – Plekanec – Yakupov
Pulkkinen – Shipachyov – Stempniak
Pouliot – Namestnikov – C. Smith
Lowry – Kruger – Chiasson

Boucher – Laughton – Duke
? – Carrier – Hyka

Jaycob Megna (Anaheim Ducks)
Adam McQuaid (Boston Bruins) – under contract for the 2017/18 season
Jack Johnson (Columbus Blue Jackets) – under contract for the 2017/18 season
Ludvig Byström (Dallas Stars)
Jonathan Ericsson (Detroit Red Wings) – under contract for the 2017/18 season
Jason Demers (Florida Panthers) – under contract for the 2017/18 season
Brayden McNabb (Los Angeles Kings) – under contract for the 2017/18 season
Matt Dumba (Minnesota Wild) – under contract for the 2017/18 season
Calvin De Haan (New York Islanders)
Fredrik Claesson (Ottawa Senators) – under contract for the 2017/18 season
Dylan DeMelo (San Jose Sharks) – under contract for the 2017/18 season
Martin Marincin (Toronto Maple Leafs) – under contract for the 2017/18 season

Possible Lines :

Johnson – Demers
De Haan – Dumba
Marincin – McQuaid

McNabb – Ericsson
Megna – DeMelo
Claesson – Byström

Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh Penguins) – under contract for the 2017/18 season
Calvin Pickard (Colorado Avalanche) – under contract for the 2017/18 season
Antti Raanta (New York Rangers) – under contract for the 2017/18 season
Phillip Grubauer (Washington Capitals)

Drafted: 30/30 (minimum 30 needed, one from each franchise)
Forwards: 14 (minimum 14 needed)
Defensemen: 12 (minimum 9 needed)
Goalies: 4 (minimum 3 needed)
Under contract for the 2017/18 season: 21 (minimum 20 needed)
Caphit: $55.065M
Vadim Shipachyov – $4.5M
Reid Duke – $710K
Caphit: $60.275M (after draft)
Signing RFA’s to same deals: $7.7M
Caphit: $67.975M (on the low end as some players get higher cap hits)

Tomas Hyka – $710K

Caphit above is when several players are in the minors, but with 4 goalies.
Not included Trevor van Riemsdyk & Oscar Lindberg and not included other possible prospects.

Added players/prospects & picks “outside the draft”: (a minimum list of assets)
Trevor van Riemsdyk (Chicago Blackhawks – D)
Additional Red Wings player/prospect (likely Sheahan, Nosek or defensive prospect)
Additional Canadiens player/prospect/pick
Additional Rangers player (Lindberg) as part of deal of not picking Hayes
Additional Senators pick if Methot is available


Will this team be competitive?

That’s an answer that’s depended on who’s responding. Is it close to a Stanley Cup-contender? NO! By no means, and it will not ever be through such a draft. But, is this roster competitive? I think it will be, hard to say exactly where in the standings it would finish, buth everything from borderline good bubble team to bottom feeder depending on if they can get any chemistry going.

Obviously there are going to be several trades not “expected” here, both prior to the expansion draft and during the season, but these assets will set Vegas up for an interesting year and icing a team that can compete  and win on many given nights.

If we should have done something different? It would be to switch some of the defensemen and draft a few more forwards instead (Bruins, Sabres, Avalanche, Red Wings, Islanders, Penguins and Sharks all have options which could fit for us), though many of the defensemen can be tradebait for a better return than those forwards we could have selected.

Want to do your own Mock Expansion Draft?