Expansion Vegas loads up on D-men, could make more trades

Solenn Plantier
Juin 22, 2017

Vegas could have taken as many as six goalies, so it wasn't like the Golden Knights would have had to use him. The Golden Knights have to select nine defensemen, but they could exceed that total.

Vegas landed a first rounder in 2017 and a second in 2019 from NY - all to likely keep the Knights from selecting one of Brock Nelson, Calvin de Haan, or perhaps Ryan Strome. It remains to be seen what happens with Washington's Nate Schmidt, Ottawa's Marc Methot, Chicago's Trevor van Riemsdyk and San Jose's David Schlemko, any of whom could be traded as soon as Thursday. Engelland was picked by the Vegas Golden Knights in the National Hockey League expansion draft.

Buckle up and get ready: a brand-new team is about to come together.

"What surprised me was the quality of some of our forwards that we were able to get out of this situation", Golden Knights owner Bill Foley said prior to the announcement of the team's expansion picks. Teams were limited in who they could protect.

At least that was the reaction Fleury received as he received a standing ovation as he walked on stage at T-Mobile Arena in a Golden Knights jersey during Wednesday night's expansion draft reveal. "I believe fans are really going to like the team, and the trades and the draft picks and the prospects that we have".

FILE - In this April 1, 2017, file photo, Dallas Stars' Cody Eakin (20) moves the puck after taking it away from Carolina Hurricanes' Jeff Skinner (53) during an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C. The Vegas Golden Knights selected Eakin in the expansion draft Wednesday, June 21, 2017. As I said, the people of Las Vegas are going to be happy with what we did. The league market normally goes bonkers for defensemen, so Vegas has been rumored to part with more than a few of them to pick up some assets.

Scoring could be problematic for Vegas, though James Neal, from the Stanley Cup finalist Nashville Predators, and Jonathan Marchessault, a 30-goal scorer from the Florida Panthers, are both capable of providing offence.

However, not every player Vegas picked in the expansion draft will stick. It remains to be seen how numerous 30 players selected Wednesday will still be with Vegas on opening night. With an excess of draft picks this year, a fifth-rounder was a small price to pay to lose the right player.

Canadian teams lost several players in the expansion draft: Vancouver lost defenceman Luca Sbisa, Winnipeg gave up forward Chris Thorburn, Calgary had defenceman Deryk Engelland selected and Toronto forward Brendan Leipsic was also taken. Making those agreements got Vegas forward prospect Alex Tuch from the Wild, defenseman Shea Theodore from the Ducks, unsigned forward prospect Nikita Gusev from the Lightning and the 15th pick and defensive prospect Jake Bischoff from NY.

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.

Host John Matisz is joined by Matthew Coller, NHL writer for ESPN Insider and Wild analyst for 1500 ESPN, to recap and assess the Vegas expansion draft just hours after its completion.

The expansion draft is a celebratory night, but it only reveals a portion of the franchise-building done by McPhee over the past few months.

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