Vegas held their expansion draft in the middle of tonight’s NHL Awards ceremony; the picks were announced in the reverse order of the regular season standings, from Colorado up to Washington.
Here are Vegas’s picks from each team:
Colorado – G Calvin Pickard
Vancouver – D Luca Sbisa
New Jersey – D Jon Merrill
Buffalo – F William Carrier
Detroit – F Tomas Nosek
Dallas – F Cody Eakin
Florida – F Jonathan Marchessault
Los Angeles – D Brayden McNabb
Carolina – F Connor Brickley
Winnipeg – F Chris Thorburn
Philadelphia – F Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
Tampa Bay – D Jason Garrison
New York (Islanders) – G Jean-Francois Berube
Nashville – F James Neal
Calgary – D Deryk Engelland
Toronto – F Brendan Leipsic
Boston – D Colin Miller
Ottawa – D Marc Methot
San Jose – D David Schlemko
St. Louis – F David Perron
New York (Rangers) – F Oscar Lindberg
Edmonton – D Griffin Reinhart
Montreal – D Alexei Emelin
Anaheim – D Clayton Stoner
Minnesota – F Erik Haula
Columbus – F William Karlsson
Chicago – D Trevor van Riemsdyk
Pittsburgh – G Marc-André Fleury
Washington – D Nate Schmidt
There were several trades made as well (in order of team selection):
Vegas acquires a sixth-round pick from Buffalo in addition to selecting Carrier.
Vegas acquires winger Reilly Smith in exchange for a 2018 fourth-round pick.
Vegas acquires a fifth-round pick from Carolina.
Vegas acquires winger Nikita Gusev, a 2017 second-round pick, and a 2018 fourth-round pick from Tampa Bay.
Vegas acquires Mikhail Grabovski, a 2017 first-round pick (#15 overall), a 2019 second-round pick, and D Jake Bischoff from the Islanders.
Vegas acquires prospect Alex Tuch from Minnesota in exchange for a 2017 or 2018 third-round pick.
Vegas acquires a 2017 first-round pick, a 2019 second-round pick, and David Clarkson from Columbus.
Vegas acquires prospect Shea Theodore in exchange for selecting Stoner from Anaheim.
Vegas acquires a 2020 second-round pick from Pittsburgh in exchange for taking on Fleury’s contract.
Keep in mind that most of these trades, if not all of them, are teams protecting their current players and trying to get Vegas to choose a certain player over another. So basically GMGM (General Manager George McPhee) has every other team’s GM eating out of his hands.
The New York and Columbus trades were pretty bad; both teams give up a tremendous amount of picks/prospects in exchange for Vegas either selecting/not selecting a certain player or position. But I won’t complain about the Islanders; I hope they continue to make these lopsided trades. Better for us!
The Devils did lose defenseman Jon Merrill, which is a loss, but they didn’t lose Beau Bennett or Stefan Noesen. We knew that Vegas wanted to have a defense-heavy draft and they did just that. They’ve acquired several great defensemen and actually put together a pretty decent team.
There were a few surprises and a few obvious choices. Fleury, van Riemsdyk, Neal, Marchessault, and McNabb were all of the probable choices from their teams with the way the preceding few weeks have gone. I’m still surprised that Florida chose not to protect Marchessault and I’m also surprised that there was no trade in place.
Engellend and Berube were both a bit of a surprise, Berube especially because Vegas had a ton of goaltenders to choose from. Schlemko was a bit of a surprise too with the caliber of players that the Sharks left exposed. I like that the Golden Knights took Engellend, a Vegas native.
Fleury was the obvious choice for Vegas at goaltender but I am surprised that they chose Berube and Pickard; I thought they might have taken a look at Carolina’s Cam Ward or Eddie Lack but the Canes had a trade in place to ensure that Vegas didn’t.
But all-in-all, Vegas has a pretty decent team? They probably won’t finish at the bottom of the league like some people seem to think they will. Additionally, a few of these players could be trade bait for other teams who are looking to acquire them. Expect to hear more news out of Vegas within the next few days!
Expansion draft down, entry-level draft is next!