It’s the Vegas Golden Knights world and we’re just living it. On Wednesday there 30, player expansion roster will be announced throughout the night at the NHL Awards Ceremony. Now that we know exactly what players are available from all 30 current NHL teams we can start to piece together how the Knights may really take shape.
I joined the hockey world in putting together my mock expansion team, that I’ll go through with shortly. Not only did I put together one mock roster, but I actually did two. One is how I would pick the team with just the best available players. The second team I took into account some of the side deals that are rumored to compile the roster.
So, let’s start with my team based on the best available players:
The roster actually has a good mix of veteran and youth players. If general manager George McPhee wanted to build his club on just the players available without any side deals the Knights could be a very competitive team in year one.
However, we know that McPhee wants to acquire picks and build a team through the draft. He admitted that he’ll take on some big contracts as well as players that he’ll flip to other teams. So, here is my roster with taking side deals into account:
I’ll start with the talk of expansion in the Minnesota Wild. They exposed both Matt Dumba and Marco Scandella while protecting Jonas Brodin. Many believed the Wild were going to pull off a move prior to the roster freeze to give themselves some breathing space on the protection list. Well, not the case. That being said at the end of the day I think some kind of deal is made to keep the Knights hands off of Dumba and Scandella. Hence I have Vegas selecting forward Erik Haula.
The Chicago Blackhawks appear to have a deal in place already with the Knights that will send defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk to the Knights as long as Marcus Kruger is selected to give the Hawks some space under the salary cap.
The New York Islanders are another team that appears to have a deal done with Vegas. The rumor is a first round pick will be heading to Vegas in exchange for the Knights laying off the Islanders forwards that are exposed. Meaning they’ll pick a defenseman which is why I went with Calvin De Haan.
Another team that may have a smaller agreement in place may be the Buffalo Sabres. Will Carrier was exposed and Tyler Ennis was protected which is a surprise to some. Connecting the dots it could be that Carrier was offered as the bait to Vegas to stay away from promising young goaltender Linus Ullmark. Hence the reason for Carrier being the selection in the second mock.
I’m sure we’re in for more twists and turns before the new expansion team is revealed on Wednesday evening. Until then, this is how I would go about things as the Knights general manager.