Expansion Vegas loads up on D-men, could make more trades

26 June, 2017, 00:35 | Author: Felix Jensen

Poile is the only GM in Predators history, patiently building the Sun Belt franchise into a powerhouse with a solid foundation in the community.

Las Vegas, the desert gambling mecca, is hosting the NHL's annual postseason awards show Wednesday, when the league also will reveal the Vegas Golden Knights' choices in the expansion draft to stock the club with talent for its inaugural season in the fall.

Vegas Golden Knights Marc-Andre Fleury, Deryk Engelland and Brayden McNabb, from left, sit on stage during an event following the National Hockey League expansion draft, Wednesday in Las Vegas.

George McPhee secured a king's ransom to avoid selecting certain players in the Vegas Golden Knights' expansion draft, and he's not done dealing.

Nobody got more attention than the 32-year-old Fleury, who lost his starting job during last seasons playoff run with the back-to-back champion Penguins.

Vegas emerged from the expansion draft with 15 defensemen, and McPhee alluded before the expansion draft to trading some of them. Though Canadian, Engelland makes his offseason home in Las Vegas after spending two seasons playing for the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL. "I'll give it everything I've got to win some games and try to get into the community to meet people and spread the word about the Golden Knights".

Despite being 34 years old, Stempniak scored 16 goals for the Hurricanes last season, and would probably outperform the combined production of Brickley (five points in 23 games in 2016-17) and the player drafted with that pick (13 goals and 30 points, on average), which has an 11 percent chance of playing a season's worth of games in the National Hockey League.

The Oilers, Flames and Canadiens were among the more active teams in recent weeks.

It was thought that Vegas might load up on goalies, but McPhee passed on intriguing options like Philipp Grubauer, Petr Mrazek and Antti Raanta and instead went for a surplus of defencemen _ and more apparent trade value.

The best deal for Vegas was the one struck with the Florida Panthers, one of the clear losers of the expansion draft. "I believe fans are really going to like the team, and the trades and the draft picks and the prospects that we have".

The Golden Knights are required to take exactly one player from each team and a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders in the expansion draft.

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"They put a great group together", said forward Reid Duke, who became the Golden Knights' first player when he signed as a free agent in March.

"I think it'll be great", Engelland said.

The Washington Post's mock draft selection from the Sabres was 23-year-old goaltender Linus Ullmark, who is considered by many to have a bright future in the National Hockey League.

The picks were made in reverse order of regular season points. There was no sweetener for taking Lindberg, so I assume McPhee just got exhausted when it came to asking for bribes by the time he got to the Rangers.

The Golden Knights' roster likely won't consist of 23 players exclusively from the 30-man group announced Wednesday, as plenty of trades could happen before or during Friday's draft and throughout the off-season.

Gabriel Valardi of the Windsor Spitfires in Ontario is a powerful forward with a goal-scoring touch, but he may also be gone before Vegas picks unless Dallas and Colorado both go with defensemen at picks Nos.

Joining him in the crease for Vegas are two inexperienced types: Calvin Pickard and Jean-Francois Berube, the latter formerly of the Islanders.

The Golden Knights added a pair of physical defensemen in Marc Methot of the Ottawa Senators and Alexei Emelin from the Montreal Canadiens along with Boston Bruins defenseman Colin Miller, who has registered a slap shot measured at 105 miles per hour. They had center Nick Suzuki rated in their top 10 and got him at No. 13.

The departure of Engelland opens up an interesting battle on Calgary's blue line, as they'll search for their fourth, fifth, and sixth defencemen.

Well, they had to take someone from this team.

Armed with three first round picks — Nos.

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