The NHL Awards Show is a few hours away, but of significantly more interest is the expansion draft, where the roster for the Vegas Golden Knights will be announced in between presentations.
George McPhee has submitted his list to the NHL, and despite everyone’s best intentions, there are starting to be some leaks around who is going to get selected. The Red Wings surprised almost everyone by leaving Petr Mrazek unprotected, while more logical options like Riley Sheahan, Xavier Ouellet and Darren Helm were all available to Vegas.
However, Craig Custance threw a curveball at us with the following tweet:
Hearing Tomas Nosek most likely to be picked by Vegas from Red Wings list.— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) June 21, 2017
To call this a bit of a shock would be an understatement. Nosek is a 24 year old center who has a grand total of 17 NHL games under his belt. He was a key contributor to the Griffins’ Calder Cup championship this season, and was expected to contend for a roster spot on the Red Wings next year. Had he not made it, he would have been exposed to waivers in order to be sent down to Grand Rapids.
From a here-and-now perspective, losing Nosek is not going to hurt the Wings. His ceiling was never higher than depth forward, and while he could have helped on the penalty kill, he was never going to make the Red Wings significantly better. He may get an opportunity to play more in Vegas, but there were other options in Detroit that would provide around the same level of play as Nosek. Longer-term, he might have been a fit in Detroit, but it would have required other players being moved out first.
What’s more interesting is how this affects the rest of the roster. First, the Wings will keep Mrazek for the purposes of trying to deal him at the draft, or they could hold on to him and hope that he grabs the starter’s spot once and for all from Jimmy Howard. Riley Sheahan will not be lost for nothing, and could be a piece that gets moved at the trade deadline. The Wings won’t gain any cap relief or an extra roster spot, so what you see is what you get in terms of the roster pending any further moves. Ultimately, it’s a pick that doesn’t make much sense from Vegas’ perspective considering who else was available, or it’s an indictment on the value of the other players that were available from the Wings.