Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Morning After the Expansion Draft

Before Wednesday, the Golden Knights were a total of three forwards and they had just unveiled what those three players would be wearing for the coming season, but now, on Thursday morning, the team has filled out, thanks to the expansion draft and now the real work begins for this club.

We've assembled the list of players now under the umbrella of the Golden Knights and put together a very rough initial roster of 23 players, taken from the existing three, plus what they picked up in the expansion draft and a few extra trades done in the last few days.  And for what it's worth, it's about what we all expected, a solid crop of goaltenders, a veteran-laden set of defensemen and a very mixed bag of misfits at the forward position.

All the players in green below were all considered to be pool worthy in the 2017 hockey pool season, within the top 200 forwards, top 100 defensemen and top 50 goalies.  As you can see, their goalies were both good for points in Pittsburgh and Colorado, while their defense wasn't producing a great deal of offense and the pool worthy forwards they picked up were either carried a lump of a cap hit or helped to get another lump off their former NHL club.

There are still plenty of rumours of more deals to come, as the Golden Knights are overloaded with decent-sized contracts on the blueline and they are certainly going to attract some attention, be it in more youthful assets, like prospects and picks.

Forwards Cap Defense Cap Goalies Cap
David Clarkson 5.250 Marc Methot 4.900 Marc-Andre Fleury 5.750
James Neal 5.000 Jason Garrison 4.600 Calvin Pickard 1.000
Mikhail Grabovski 5.000 Alexei Emelin 4.100
Reilly Smith 5.000 Luca Sbisa 3.600
Vadim Shipachyov 4.500 Clayton Stoner 3.250
Cody Eakin 3.850 David Schlemko 2.100
David Perron 3.750 Brayden McNabb 1.700
Erik Haula 2.750 Deryk Engelland 1.000
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare 1.450
William Karlsson 1.000
Jonathan Marchessault 0.750
William Carrier 0.680
Tomas Nosek 0.613
Alex Tuch 0.925 Jon Merrill 1.138
Reid Duke 0.770 Colin Miller 1.000
Tomas Hyka 0.710 Shea Theodore 0.863
Jake Bischoff 0.834
Trevor Van Riemsdyk 0.825
Oscar Lindberg RFA Griffin Reinhart RFA Jean-Francois Berube UFA
Brendan Leipsic RFA Nate Schmidt RFA
Teemu Pulkkinen RFA
Chris Thorburn UFA
Connor Brickley UFA
Nikita Gusev USD

The Golden Knights still have some signing to work on, as they have three unrestricted free agents under their roof at the moment and all three could hit the open market on July 1st, if they are not signed before then.  It may not be the biggest deal in the world, but I would think that both Thorburn and Berube will have spots somewhere in the lineup to start the season.

We'll also go over the mock entry draft once more, now that the Golden Knights were able to acquire two more 1st round picks for Friday's festivities.  We'll take that one step at a time though.

Salary CapIf the expansion process was any indication, the Golden Knights won't be afraid to work around the salary cap ceiling.  The preliminary roster of 23 players above is already coming in at $71.6 million, only $3.4 million short of the ceiling and we haven't even hit July 1st yet.  It is expected that more deals are to come, likely going to try and find some more flexibility and then try to encourage more free agents to come to town.

This iteration of the Golden Knights are not exactly what we're going to see on opening night, so I wouldn't get too attached to what we see here.  The team has shaped up to be an interesting player in this off-season, if they haven't been already and throwing another hat into the ring always makes for more interesting fights for limited talent out there.

Nevertheless, even though Vegas doesn't have a lot of 2017 pool worthy talent, it is amazing what more ice-time and a regular job can do for some players, so I would think that somewhere along the line, a couple more names will appear in green, this time next year.  They will be a rag tag kind of team though, so I wouldn't expect a great deal, in terms of wins.
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