Vegas Expansion Draft: Primer and Mock Draft

It’s finally here. The Vegas expansion draft takes place tonight at 8PM EST and can be watched live on NBCSN and SportsNet. Here’s a quick primer:

Vegas Expansion Draft:
Who: (Las) Vegas Golden Knights
What: Expansion Draft, stealing players from other teams
When: 8PM EST (NBCSN, SN), in the middle of the NHL Awards Ceremony
Where: T-Mobile Arena (I think), Las Vegas, NV
Why: I don’t? Really know? We could just cancel the Golden Knights, that’s fine with me

In between the NHL Awards announcements, GMGM (General Manager George McPhee) and the rest of the Vegas team will announce who they’ve selected from each team in the reverse of the regular season standings, i.e. from Colorado to Washington. The complete order is here (in case you want to time bathroom breaks or tuning in): Colorado, Vancouver, New Jersey, Arizona, Buffalo, Detroit, Dallas, Florida, Los Angeles, Carolina, Winnipeg, Philly, Nashville, New York (Islanders), Tampa Bay, Calgary, Toronto, Boston, Ottawa, San Jose, St. Louis, New York (Rangers), Edmonton, Montréal, Anaheim, Minnesota, Columbus, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Washington.

Some of the rules: 

  1. Vegas has to select 30 players, one from each team.
  2. They have to select 14 forwards, nine defensemen, three goaltenders, and four other players of any position.
  3. At least 20 of those 30 selected players have to be on contract for the 2017-18 season.
  4. Vegas has to fill at least 60% of their cap space (approximately $43.8 million) but cannot surpass last year’s cap ceiling ($73 million); the cap ceiling is now $75 million.
  5. All first- and second-year professionals (and both signed and unsigned draft prospects) are exempt from being selected, i.e. all players who either just finished their first year in the NHL or their second.

Each NHL team had to submit a list of players that they could protect from Vegas by 5PM EST on Saturday, June 17 and the lists were made public at 10:30AM EST (they were supposed to go live at 10AM EST). There’s a complete master list of all 316 protected players here!

Vegas also had an exclusive trade period where they, and they alone, could work out deals and trades with other teams after the trade freeze at 3PM EST on Saturday. Vegas has at least half a dozen deals in place and those will probably be revealed tonight (or at some point today).

If you care about the NHL Awards, check out my predictions here; spoiler alert: Travis Hamonic won the NHL Foundation Award and Nick Foligno won the Mark Messier Leadership Award last night.

Turning back to the expansion draft. CapFriendly and SB Nation both have super user-friendly tools to help you build your own Golden Knights team and I highly suggest playing around with them. I started using CapFriendly’s but ran into some problems; I used SB Nation’s and here are my not-so-great predictions:

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 11.06.48 PMScreen Shot 2017-06-20 at 11.07.11 PM

I don’t really care about the accuracy? I did these last night after working until 5 and baking a chocolate cake so I couldn’t exactly see straight. I think most of this is just hoping that Vegas won’t pick some of my favorites. As a Devils fan, I really, really don’t want Vegas to take Beau Bennett and unless they have a deal in place to protect him or Vegas is scared by his injury history, I don’t see any reason for them not to take him. I also don’t want them to take Jujhar Khaira (Edmonton) or even Eric Staal (Minnesota) but who knows? Vegas doesn’t care about what I think.

Let’s hope tonight is (relatively) painless! Don’t forget to tune in to NBCSN or SportsNet at 8PM EST for the NHL Awards ceremony and the expansion draft, and may the odds be ever in your (team’s) favor.

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