Since the official protected lists are out, Mike and I will try our hands again at predicting the players Vegas will select.
We talked about this for a while last night on Winging it in Motown Radio, which should be available to listen to today (Tuesday). This article is part of our expansion draft storystream, so if you are looking for more expansion draft content, scroll down to the bottom and go through the stream.
Since the exposure lists may be further modified due to deals teams have with Vegas, we will incorporate the deals we know about to influence our selections. Those are:
Our Starting Points
Based on reported deals, here are our ground rules:
Anaheim Ducks- Vegas will not select Josh Manson or Sami Vatanen.
Chicago Blackhawks - Vegas will select Trevor Van Riemsdyk.
Columbus Blue Jackets - The Blue Jackets are reportedly sending at least a first round pick to Vegas, along with David Clarkson’s contract (as a salary dump).
New York Islanders - Vegas will not select Ryan Strome, Calvin DeHaan, or Brock Nelson (Monday night, NYI beat writer Arthur Staple — who is very well connected with the Islanders — said that the deal will have Vegas select a player. Staple lists Nikolai Kulemin, Jaroslav Halak, and Thomas Hickey as the players Vegas will choose from.) Updates indicate that Mikhail Grabovski (5M cap hit who did not play last year with concussion issues) is going to Vegas as well as a salary dump to make room to try to get a winger for John Tavares, who is eligible to sign an extension starting July 1.
Minnesota Wild - As of now, there haven’t been any reported deals. I still think Minnesota will trade with Vegas to protect Dumba, but since there’s nothing yet, we’re making him available.
People like James Mirtle are reporting at least seven side deals are in place, and that was mid-day Monday, so there are certainly more caveats of while we are not aware when this goes to press.
We think If Vegas is smart, they are looking to come out of this process with the most assets possible, whether players or picks. If they think a player will be a good player on their team, they’ll take that player. If not, they’ll take the player they think will get the best return.
We think that’s Petr Mrazek. We know that Detroit wasn’t able to trade him, but that doesn’t mean that Vegas won’t be able to after the expansion draft. Arizona, Buffalo, Winnipeg, Philadelphia are four teams that will be in the market for a goalie(Arizona desperately), as well as potentially other teams who lose a goalie in the expansion draft.
I (Peter) talked about this in some comment sections over the past few days, but here’s a quick rundown of how Vegas could find it easier to trade Mrazek than Detroit did:
Let’s say Holland wanted a first round pick for Mrazek (Just for the sake of discussion). Arizona didn’t want to give up a first round pick. John Chayka calls up McPhee and says, “if you take Mrazek, we will give you a second round pick for him.” If McPhee thinks that it’s a better return than he can get for a different Red Wings player, then Arizona and Vegas both win.
If Vegas ended up with a goaltending tandem of Fleury and Mrazek, I think McPhee’s fine with that too. I think he’d rather have a goalie like Grubauer or Raanta (or someone similar) at the backup spot, but we’ll have to see what strategy he employs in regards to goalies.
Our backup selection if Vegas does not think they can trade Mrazek is still Riley Sheahan.
Forwards: James Neal (NSH), Kyle Clifford (LAK), Troy Brouwer (CAL), Mikkel Boedker (SJ), Cody Eakin (DAL), Lee Stempniak (CAR), Michael Raffl (PHI), William Karlsson (CBJ), Jared Boll (ANA), Kerby Rychel (TOR), Marko Dano (WPG), Jonathan Marchessault (FLA), Charles Hudon (MTL), Brendan Gaunce (VAN), Alexander Burmistrov (ARI),
Defense: Zach Bogosian (BUF), Marc Methot (OTT), Ben Lovejoy (NJD), Matt Dumba (MIN), Colin Miller (BOS), Trevor van Riemsdyk (CHI), Mark Barberio (COL), Griffin Reinhart (EDM), Petteri Lindbohm (STL), Slater Koekkoek (TB), Thomas Hickey (NYI)
Goalie: Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT), Petr Mrazek (DET), Antti Raanta (NYR), Phillipp Grubauer (WAS)
I just want to say for the record that there were a few teams here that I looked at and went: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. There are also a few teams where I purposely took a shot at a younger player with home-run potential over a safer veteran player.
Five Interesting Picks
Charles Hudon - Montreal Canadiens: Tomas Plekanec is the seemingly obvious pick here, and Vegas could certainly take him, but I’m going young potential over high cap hit here (and in other places.) I see Vegas planning long term on at least some of these picks, and here’s one example of that.
Jonathan Marchessault - Florida Panthers: This is a pick that part of me thinks is unlikely to happen, but, as I wrote in my article on biggest GM mistakes, Florida didn’t have to expose him. A likely reason is that Florida has a deal in place with Vegas, but the cost of passing up a player like this should be very high. UPDATE: Reports are saying that Florida DOES NOT have a deal in place, so I assume Marchessault will be a Golden Knight, at least initially. As I’ve said before, this seems to be a colossal unforced error by Florida.
Thomas Hickey - New York Islanders: Hickey is not going to set Vegas on fire, but he’s a defenseman that flies under the radar and can play a solid game. He won’t be Vegas’ best defenseman, but he could help to stabilize their d-corps.
Slater Koekkoek - Tampa Bay: Koekkoek has been in the minors for some of this season, and there is a (conspiracy?) theory that it was to keep Vegas away from him. He’s been behind some good LHDs on Tampa Bay, but he would have a chance to make an impression on Vegas.
James Neal - Nashville Predators: It was a surprise to see Calle Jarnkrok protected over Neal, even though the rumors were out ahead of time. With the usual caveat that there could be a deal in place, Neal would provide a veteran presence and a player who has tasted playoff success. If there is a deal to protect Neal, I would take Pontus Alberg. In fact, if my team had a few more veterans, I likely would have taken Alberg anyway. Neal also makes sense because Vegas could get a good return for him at this year’s trade deadline.
Forwards: Bobby Ryan (OTT), Cody Eakin (DAL), Eric Staal (MIN), Josh Bailey (NYI), Joe Colborne (COL), Michael Grabner (NYR), William Karlsson (CBJ), Kerby Rychel (TOR), Marko Dano (WPG), Cedric Paquette (TB), Jonathan Marchessault (FLA), Logan Shaw (ANA), Charles Hudon (MTL), Nick Shore (LA), Josh Jooris (ARI), Pontus Aberg (NSH)
Defense: Ben Lovejoy (NJD), Colin Miller (BOS), Trevor Van Riemsdyk (CHI), Andrey Pedan (VAN), Dylan DeMelo (SJ), Cody Franson (BUF), Michael Stone (CAL), Michael Del Zotto (PHI), Petteri Lindbohm (STL)
Goalie: Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT), Petr Mrazek (DET), Laurent Brossoit (EDM), Phillipp Grubauer (WAS), Daniel Altshuller (CAR)
Five Interesting Picks
Petr Mrazek - Detroit: The upside is just too great to pass this up. He or another goalie may end up getting flipped, but i think Vegas sees this as totally worth taking a swing at.
Bobby Ryan - Ottawa: OK yeah, that's a crap-load of cap hit. But he's shown in the past that he can really shine with play-makers. Pair him with Shipachyov, who is supposed to be a playmaker, and it could be something fun to watch. Plus, I'll bet Ryan still has name recognition out west.
Daniel Altshuller - Carolina: On a roster full of practically nothing, he could be something in a few years. The young netminder has shown promise at lower levels, and the Golden Knights will need players to fill out their roster with their AHL affiliate Chicago Wolves.
Colin Miller - Boston: As we wrote in our initial piece on Boston's protections (https://www.wingingitinmotown.com/2017/1/6/14153894/predicting-the-expansion-draft-arizona-and-boston), this kid is young and has some good advanced stats playing on the Bruin's 3rd line. If Vegas gives him a chance, he could shine.
Joe Colborne - Colorado: I wasn't exactly high on Colborne before, and I'm still not sold on him as a worthwhile selection. But, he's got NHL time and has found success before. It's not the worst pick in the world, and really what else is there from the Avs that isn't a massive gamble?
Who is closer to what Vegas will select?
This poll is closed
You both are WAY off