How many people think this expansion team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, will have the best roster in the history of expansion teams? I don’t share that opinion. The biggest reason why is the fact that the NHL’s general managers are so sharp, too sharp, to hand over top-notch players if they can help it.
I’m not going to predict who teams will lose and I’m not doing a mock draft. I think there will be a lot of trades and handshake agreements leading up to this momentous event.
Every team will lose one player. That’s a fact. Some players will get drafted by the Knights and have a fairly short contract term and may not re-sign based on age and wanting to win based on their age.
Vegas will look for mostly young players. Maybe an aging big name they can market. They will load up on goalies in hopes of being able to flip one or two of them and one of them could be the injured, Matt Murray. Is it a guarantee that Marc-Andre Fleury will waive his modified no-trade, no movement deal to go? No. If Fleury wants to stay won’t Pittsburgh try and trade him for assets before the expansion draft? That’s probably what will happen rather than let Las Vegas get him. The same goes for Fleury. Goalies who are UFA’s will remain UFA’s until after the draft so teams don’t have to protect them.
Vegas will accept a big contract or two because they must reach the cap floor. They’ll inherit a few draft picks based on the handshake agreements that may take place. Back to having a name player or two. The Las Vegas Review Journal reported that the team is looking to sign multiple broadcast rights deals. They are the 40th largest television audience in the country and these companies who are negotiating with them may be waiting got see who they get, trade for or sign in free agency. When the newness of the team wears off having a known commodity could help sway an outlet.
Vegas can’t buyout a player that they acquire in this draft before next summer. I could see them taking a player who has two years left on his deal and buy him out next year as a favor to a club to receive something before the June 21st draft.
After the expansion draft Vegas will draft 6th in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. The player they get will not be expected to play in this upcoming season. He will be looked at as the future face of the franchise, that always happens whether it’s fair or not.