sports 2 months ago

Expansion mock draft: Vegas Golden Knights take shape

theScore — Navin Vaswani

We're so close.

The protected and available players lists for the expansion draft are public, which means it's time to finally take our best shot at filling out the Vegas Golden Knights' roster.

We've listed the roster by position, and broken down each selection by team, including the player's age, salary cap hit, and contract status.

Forwards

  • Josh Bailey
  • Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
  • Beau Bennett
  • Mikkel Boedker
  • William Carrier
  • Marko Dano
  • Mikhail Grigorenko
  • William Karlsson
  • Jujhar Khaira
  • Brendan Leipsic
  • Trevor Lewis
  • Jonathan Marchessault
  • James Neal
  • David Perron
  • Teemu Pulkkinen
  • Hunter Shinkaruk
  • Lee Stempniak
  • Chris Wagner

Defense

  • Brandon Davidson
  • Jake Dotchin
  • Matt Dumba
  • Marc Methot
  • Colin Miller
  • Jamie Oleksiak
  • Luca Sbisa
  • Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goalies

  • Marc-Andre Fleury
  • Philipp Grubauer
  • Petr Mrazek
  • Antti Raanta

Projected Cap Hit: $52,515,000*

*Not including restricted free agents

Picks by team

Anaheim Ducks

  • Player: Chris Wagner (RW)
  • Age: 26
  • Cap hit: $637,500
  • Signed through: 2017-18

All signs point to an agreement between the Ducks and Vegas that ensures the Golden Knights don't select Sami Vatanen or Josh Manson, and beyond those two, it's slim pickings. Like, super slim.

Arizona Coyotes

It's either Pulkkinen or Alex Burmistrov, and Pulkkinen's 2014-15, when he had 34 goals and 61 points in 46 games in the AHL, remains too impressive to pass up, even two years later.

Boston Bruins

  • Player: Colin Miller (D)
  • Age: 24
  • Cap hit: $1M
  • Signed through: 2017-18

Miller's age, cap hit, and experience - he's played 103 regular-season games, averaging almost 16 minutes in ice time - make him an easy choice.

Buffalo Sabres

  • Player: William Carrier (LW)
  • Age: 22
  • Cap hit: $689,167
  • Signed through: 2017-18

If you've got a better suggestion than Carrier, we're all ears.

Calgary Flames

There are veteran and more expensive options - like Troy Brouwer - but Shinkaruk, a former first-round pick, had 15 goals and 35 points in 52 games in the A last season, and our Vegas roster is being built with youth in mind.

Carolina Hurricanes

  • Player: Lee Stempniak (RW)
  • Age: 34
  • Cap hit: $2.5M
  • Signed through: 2017-18

Stempniak will score, provides veteran experience, is well-traveled, and can be flipped at the trade deadline. That's basically his specialty.

Chicago Blackhawks

Another no-brainer. The kid averaged 18:25 on the Blackhawks' blue line last season and chipped in with 16 points. This could be a great move for his career, which already includes a Stanley Cup ring.

Colorado Avalanche

While Grigorenko hasn't lived up to his 12th overall selection in 2012, he's had back-to-back 20-point seasons and has played over 200 games at only 23 years old. That counts for something.

Columbus Blue Jackets

A reported deal is in place that will see Vegas not select Josh Anderson, Joonas Korpisalo, Jack Johnson, or David Savard, but all is not lost. Karlsson's a decent consolation prize, especially considering a first-round pick is reportedly headed the Golden Knights' way. It'll be interesting to see what the kid can do given more of an opportunity.

Dallas Stars

The Stars' list of available players may be the most underwhelming in the NHL. No offense, Mr. Oleksiak.

Detroit Red Wings

  • Player: Petr Mrazek (G)
  • Age: 25
  • Cap hit: $4M
  • Signed through: 2017-18

Mrazek being left exposed is a surprise, especially considering Jimmy Howard's contract. Vegas must take advantage. It gives the Golden Knights a large salary to help get to the cap floor, and he can be used as a potential trade chip.

Edmonton Oilers

  • Player: Jujhar Khaira (LW)
  • Age: 22
  • Cap hit: $675K
  • Signed through: 2018-19

Khaira is young and signed for two more years. Worth a shot.

Florida Panthers

Dude had 30 goals and 51 points last season, and is a no-brainer at his salary.

Los Angeles Kings

  • Player: Trevor Lewis (C)
  • Age: 30
  • Cap hit: $2M
  • Signed through: 2019-20

A veteran with a couple of rings to play up the middle. Nothing wrong with that.

Minnesota Wild

  • Player: Matt Dumba (D)
  • Age: 22
  • Cap hit: $2.55M
  • Signed through: 2017-18

Eric Staal's tempting, but Dumba's age, experience, and the fact he's coming off a career season make him the selection.

Montreal Canadiens

Davidson's a sixth-round pick done good, and can fill out the defense corps.

Nashville Predators

  • Player: James Neal (LW)
  • Age: 29
  • Cap hit: $5M
  • Signed through: 2017-18

A proven goal scorer who could be dangled at the deadline, should Vegas go that route.

New Jersey Devils

  • Player: Beau Bennett (RW)
  • Age: 25
  • Cap hit: RFA ($725K in 2016-17)

Not a whole lot of tantalizing options out of Newark, so Bennett gets the nod because he was more productive than Devante Smith-Pelly.

New York Islanders

  • Player: Josh Bailey (LW)
  • Age: 27
  • Cap hit: $3.3M
  • Signed through: 2017-18

A reported trade has Vegas banking another first-round pick for not plucking exposed Brock Nelson or Ryan Strome. While Bailey could also be included in that agreement, we're going to assume that he's not. He had 56 points last season.

New York Rangers

  • Player: Antti Raanta (G)
  • Age: 28
  • Cap hit: $1M
  • Signed through: 2017-18

Raanta had a .922 save percentage last season. That'll do, especially at a million bucks.

Ottawa Senators

  • Player: Marc Methot (D)
  • Age: 31
  • Cap hit: $4.9M
  • Signed through: 2018-19

Blame Dion Phaneuf, who refused to waive his no-movement clause, leaving Methot exposed.

Philadelphia Flyers

Bellemare's a bit cheaper than Michael Raffl, and is a durable bottom-six forward who can provide some leadership on a young team.

Pittsburgh Penguins

There are some interesting names on the Pens' available list, including Carl Hagelin, Tom Kuhnhackl, Bryan Rust, and Scott Wilson, but Fleury to Vegas has to happen. It's been discussed far too much for it not to.

San Jose Sharks

Boedker's first season in San Jose was a disaster, but he's proven he can score in double digits and is a two-time 50-point scorer.

St. Louis Blues

  • Player: David Perron (LW)
  • Age: 29
  • Cap hit: $3.75M
  • Signed through: 2017-18

Perron brings a little bit of everything on an expiring deal.

Tampa Bay Lightning

  • Player: Jake Dotchin (D)
  • Age: 23
  • Cap hit: RFA ($616,667 in 2016-17)

A young D-man who averaged 18:26 on Jon Cooper's blue line in 35 games last season, in which he had 11 assists. There's something here.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Leipsic has nothing left to prove in the AHL, he's ripped it up, and is a casualty of too much young talent in Toronto (when was the last time you could say that?).

Vancouver Canucks

  • Player: Luca Sbisa (D)
  • Age: 27
  • Cap hit: $3.6M
  • Signed through: 2017-18

He played 19 minutes a night and didn't miss a game last season. And, really, Vancouver's list of available players is downright ghastly.

Washington Capitals

Grubauer could be a long-term option as a No. 1. It's worth finding out.

Winnipeg Jets

  • Player: Marko Dano (C)
  • Age: 22
  • Cap hit: $850K
  • Signed through: 2017-18

Dano's still living on potential.

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