A year after the NHL welcomed owner Bill Foley’s 31st franchise into the league, the Golden Knights finally have the core of the team they’ll put on the desert ice this fall — 37 players in all, counting seven more acquired through trades and signings.
With side deals arranged during the draft process to keep Vegas away from certain unprotected players, the Golden Knights also have three first-round picks — the sixth, 13th and 15th selections overall — and 12 total choices in Friday’s draft. Here is a look at their expansion draft picks and trade acquisitions:
F Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (Philadelphia)F Connor Brickley (Carolina) + 2017 fifth-round draft pickF William Carrier (Buffalo) + 2017 sixth-round draft pickF Cody Eakin (Dallas)F Erik Haula (Minnesota) + F Alex Tuch + 2017 or 2018 third-round draft pickF William Karlsson (Columbus) + F David Clarkson + 2017 first-round draft pick (goes to Winnipeg) + 2019 second-round pickF Brenden Leipsic (Toronto)F Oscar Lindberg (NY Rangers)F Jonathan Marchessault (Florida) + F Reilly SmithF James Neal (Nashville)F Tomas Nosek (Detroit)F David Perron (St. Louis)F Teemu Pulkkinen (Arizona)F Chris Thorburn (Winnipeg) + 2017 first-round draft pick + 2019 third-round draft pickD Alexei Emelin (Montreal)D Deryk Engelland (Calgary)D Jason Garrison (Tampa Bay) + F Nikita Gusev + 2017 second-round draft pick + 2018 fourth-round draft pickD Brayden McNabb (Los Angeles)D Jon Merrill (New Jersey)D Marc Methot (Ottawa)D Colin Miller (Boston)D Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton)D Luca Sbisa (Vancouver)D David Schlemko (San Jose)D Nate Schmidt (Washington)D Clayton Stoner (Anaheim Ducks) + D Shea TheodoreD Trevor van Riemsdyk (Chicago)G J-F Berube (NY Islanders) + F Mikhail Grabovski + D Jake Bischoff + 2017 first-round draft pick + 2019 second-round draft pickG Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh) + 2020 second-round draft pickG Calvin Pickard (Colorado)
Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. the Vegas Golden Knights submitted their picks for the NHL’s 2017 expansion draft, plucking one player from all 30 existing teams to serve as the foundation for the new franchise. It could drastically alter the landscape of the league.
The official roster announcement was made during the NHL’s awards show, held Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET, fittingly, in Las Vegas. But already some names are leaking out. Here’s what we know so far, and our best guesses, about the league’s newest franchise.
Check back throughout the evening and refresh for updates. And you can amuse yourself by taking a look at The Post’s mock draft, constructed with the help of all 30 team beat writers, as well as analysis from former Washington Capitals assistant GM Frank Provenzano, in the meantime.
The best guesses for who will get picked or traded
TSN’s Bob McKenzie, bless him now and forever, delivered a must-read Twitter thread this morning laying out all he knows or suspects from today’s roster announcement and ensuing trades. (You can read the full thread here.) Pulling from that thread, The Post’s own reporting and that of other NHL beat writers over the course of the day, here are the names we expect to be plucked free from their current teams. Nothing is official until the roster is announced this evening, however.
Anaheim (via Bob McKenzie): D Clayton Stoner (and D Shea Theodore via trade)
Calgary (via John Shannon): D Deryk Engelland (He’s an unrestricted free agent on July 1.)
Chicago (via Frank Seravalli): D Trevor van Riemsdyk (and F Marcus Krueger via trade, though that may have changed following Marian Hossa’s health woes, per Chris Hine)
Dallas (via Jim Toth): F Cody Eakin
Detroit (via Craig Custance): F Tomas Nosek
Edmonton (via John Shannon): D Griffin Reinhart
Florida (via McKenzie): F Jon Marchessault (and McKenzie passes along rumors the Knights may also be taking Rielly Smith as part of a post-expansion draft trade, perhaps involving a third team)
Minnesota (via Michael Russo): F Eric Haula (and Alex Tuch via trade for Vegas to lay off Matt Dumba, Marco Scandella and Eric Staal)
New York Rangers (via Larry Brooks): F Oscar Lindberg
Pittsburgh (via McKenzie): G Marc-Andre Fleury (and an unknown draft pick to ensure he’s selected)
St. Louis (via Raphael Doucet): F David Perron
San Jose (via Pierre LeBrun): D David Schlemko
Tampa Bay (via McKenzie): D Jason Garrison (and unknown compensation to ensure he’s selected)
Washington (via Isabelle Khurshudyan): D Nate Schmidt
Rumors, rumors everywhere
Seravalli believes the Toronto Maple Leafs are in discussions with the Golden Knights to obtain a top-four defenseman left exposed by another team and will make a trade after the expansion roster is announced. Potential targets include the Senators’ Marc Methot or the Bruins’ Colin Miller.
This is the type of scenario that demonstrates the power wielded by McPhee during the expansion process. He has been the ability to act as a middleman for other teams that covet a player left unprotected during the draft process. Essentially, the Knights would select that player, like Methot or Miller above, then auction him off to other teams.
Those trades will not be announced until Thursday, however. So just because a player is selected by the Knights Wednesday, it doesn’t mean he’ll be in the desert to start next season.
The Knights selected more than one free agent without a contract
This is surprising, because it could potential be a waste of an expansion draft pick if Vegas can’t get the players to sign.
Vegas picked a couple UFA’s, per Bill Foley, but haven’t signed them. Still negotiating.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 21, 2017
There was speculation prior to the draft that Vegas could claim Washington Capitals defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, but The Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan reports he is not among that group.
Not Kevin Shattenkirk, btw. https://t.co/DSlZN1J9Xy
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) June 21, 2017
Vegas is going to land a ton of draft picks
The side deals teams have been negotiating with Golden Knights GM George McPhee figure to be paying off handsomely for Vegas. In exchange for not selecting certain players left exposed by the expansion draft process, the Knights have reportedly collected a huge bounty of draft picks, including a number of first-rounders.
There now may be a total of at least a dozen trades, if not more, in the hopper for VGK. Let’s discuss those we know or think we know.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 21, 2017
My understanding is that VGK have secured via trades about 10 draft picks spread out over 3 years. So far anyway.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 21, 2017
Earlier reports indicated the Knights had side deals in place with the Anaheim Ducks (reportedly for Vegas to pass on defensemen Josh Manson and Sami Vatanen), the Columbus Blue Jackets (reportedly to protect forward Josh Anderson, defenseman Jack Johnson and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo), the New York Islanders (reportedly to pass on forwards Josh Bailey, Ryan Strome and Brock Nelson) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (reportedly to forgo selecting defensemen Slater Koekkoek and Jake Dotchin).
The Knights are going to get a bunch of prospects, too
Some teams trying to shelter players lack the draft assets to safeguard their top exposed names. Anaheim appears to be one of those teams, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, who tweeted this morning he believes the Ducks will send defenseman Shea Theodore to the Knights in turn for Vegas passing on Vatanen and Manson. Vegas would instead select 32-year-old defenseman Clayton Stoner, a much less attractive piece. That’s a best guess from McKenzie, but any guess by McKenzie is usually a darned good one.
Let’s start with ANA. The belief is VGK will claim Clayton Stoner, pass on Manson/Vatanen and, in return for all that, get Shea Theodore.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 21, 2017
The uniforms are …
Seriously, what’s going on here?
— SportsCentre (@SportsCentre) June 21, 2017
Tuesday night the league’s new uniform provided, Adidas, unveiled the new-look uniforms for every team, including the debut unis of the Knights. The Knights’ new threads were promptly and roundly mocked.
More on the expansion draft