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A Look Back At The Golden Knights Expansion Draft

by Gary Lawless & Pat Evans @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

The Vegas Golden Knights didn't just hatch and then waddle their way into the Stanley Cup. Over a year of preparation went into selecting the team in the NHL's expansion draft held on June 21 of 2017.

General Manager George McPhee assembled a hockey operations staff and turned them loose on the globe to scour for players which fit into the mold he envisioned. McPhee and assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon worked the phones with the NHL's existing 30 GMs striking deals and looking for the best options they could find. The result saw the Golden Knights draft 30 players and then also acquire an additional seven players and 10 draft picks through side deals.

 

With the anniversary of the expansion draft coming up this week, we thought we'd take a look back at the draft and how those selections fared as members of the Golden Knights.

THE 30 EXPANSION DRAFT SELECTIONS (Height/weight/age are from time of expansion draft)

Calvin Pickard, Goaltender, Colorado Avalanche

Nationality: Canada

Height: 6'1''

Weight: 200 lb

Age: 25

Draft: Selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the second round (49th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Vegas traded Pickard to the Toronto Maple Leafs near the end of training camp in exchange for Tobias Lindgren and a sixth round pick.

Luca Sbisa, Defenseman, Vancouver Canucks

Nationality: Switzerland/Italy

Height: 6'2''

Weight: 209 lb

Age: 27

Draft: Selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round (19th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Sbisa appeared in 30 regular season games for Vegas scoring two goals and 12 assists. In the post-season, Sbisa saw action in 12 games collecting four assists.

Jon Merrill , Defenseman, New Jersey Devils

Nationality: United States of America

Height: 6'3''

Weight: 205 lb

Age: 25

Draft: Selected by the New Jersey Devils in the second round (38th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Merrill played in 34 regular season games collecting one goal and two assists.

Teemu Pulkkinen, Forward, Arizona Coyotes

Nationality: Finland

Height: 5'10''

Weight: 185 lb

Age: 25

Draft: Selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the fourth round (111th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Pulkkinen played in 75 games with the Chicago Wolves, scoring 29 goals and 65 points. 

William Carrier , Forward, Buffalo Sabres*

Nationality: Canada

Height: 6'2''

Weight: 212 lb

Age: 22

Draft: Selected by the St. Louis Blues in the second round (57th overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: The big winger made an impact with the Golden Knights using his speed and power to patrol the wing on the International Line with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Tomas Nosek. Carrier had one goal and two assists in 37 regular season games. 

Tomas Nosek, Forward, Detroit Red Wings

Nationality: Czech Republic

Height: 6'3''

Weight: 210 lb

Age: 24

Draft: Undrafted

2017-18: Nosek broke into the NHL this season as a full-time player for the first time scoring seven goals and eight assists in 67 games. Nosek was a key player on the team's penalty killing unit. In the playoffs he elevated his game once again and had four goals and six points in 17 games.

Cody Eakin , Forward, Dallas Stars

Nationality: Canada

Height: 6'0''

Weight: 190 lb

Age: 26

Draft: Selected by the Washington Capitals in the third round (85th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Eakin enjoyed a major bounce back season and had 11 goals and 27 points in 80 games. Eakin centered the third line all season and was an effective two-way player. He played in all 20 playoffs and had three goals and one assist.

Jonathan Marchessault , Forward, Florida Panthers*

Nationality: Canada

Height: 5'9''

Weight: 174 lb

Age: 26

Draft: Undrafted

2017-18: Marchessault added to his resume in his first year with Vegas and became a top line player. He had 27 goals and 48 assists and was a plus 36. Marchessault became a leader on and off the ice with the Golden Knights. In the playoffs he scored eight goals and 13 assists in 20 games.

Brayden McNabb , Defenseman, Los Angeles Kings

Nationality: Canada

Height: 6'4''

Weight: 212 lb

Age: 26

Draft: Selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the third round (66th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: McNabb was partnered with Nate Schmidt to form the Golden Knights shutdown D pair. He led the club in hits and blocked shots scoring five goals and 10 assists in 75 games. During the post-season, McNabb's biggest moment was scoring the winning goal in Game 4 of the Golden Knights first round series against the LA Kings.

Connor Brickley, Forward, Carolina Hurricanes*

Nationality: United States of America

Height: 6'0''

Weight: 203 lb

Age: 25

Draft: Selected by the Florida Panthers in the second round (50th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Brickley was a pending UFA when selected by Vegas and was not retained by the club.

Chris Thorburn, Forward, Winnipeg Jets*

Nationality: Canada

Height: 6'3''

Weight: 235 lb

Age: 34

Draft: Selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the second round (50th overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Thorburn was a pending UFA when selected by Vegas and was not retained by the club.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Forward, Philadelphia Flyers

Nationality: France

Height: 6'0''

Weight: 198 lb

Age: 32

Draft: Undrafted

2017-18: Bellemare became one of the key leaders with the Golden Knights and held down the center spot on the fourth line all season. An excellent faceoff man and penalty killer, Bellemare had six goals and 16 points in 72 games. During the playoffs he added three assists in 20 games.

Jason Garrison, Defenseman, Tampa Bay Lightning*

Nationality: Canada

Height: 6'1''

Weight: 218 lb

Age: 32

Draft: Undrafted

2017-18: Garrison played eight games with Vegas totaling one assist. He spent the bulk of the season in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves.

Jean-Francois Berube, Goaltender, New York Islanders*

Nationality: Canada

Height: 6'1''

Weight: 177 lb

Age: 25

Draft: Selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round (95th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Beruba was a pending UFA when selected by Vegas and was not retained by the club.

James Neal , Forward, Nashville Predators

Nationality: Canada

Height: 6'2''

Weight: 221 lb

Age: 29

Draft: Selected by the Dallas Stars in the second round (33rd overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Neal became a central figure in the story of the Golden Knights first season. He scored 20 goals for the 10th time in his NHL career, totaling 25 goals and 19 assists in 71 games. He was a leader in the dressing room and scored big goals at big times - including the game winner in the team's first ever game. In the playoffs, Neal put up six goals and five assists in 20 games.

Deryk Engelland , Defenseman, Calgary Flames

Nationality: Canada

Height: 6'2''

Weight: 214 lb

Age: 35

Draft: Selected by the New Jersey Devils in the sixth round (194th overall) of the 200 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: The Las Vegas resident was called upon for far more than hockey duty during the Golden Knights inaugural season. His leadership was on full display following the Oct. 1 shootings and his speech on opening night will forever be part of VGK lore. On the ice, Engelland had one of the best seasons of his career scoring five goals and 23 points in 79 games. In the playoffs he had two assists in 20 games.

Brendan Leipsic , Forward, Toronto Maple Leafs

Nationality: Canada

Height: 5'10''

Weight: 180 lb

Age: 23

Draft: Selected by the Nashville Predators in the third round (89th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Leipsic played 44 games with the Golden Knights, scoring twice and adding 11 assists, before being traded to the Vancouver Canucks for defenseman Philip Holm on February 26. Holm played 21 games for the Chicago Wolves, tallying nine points.

Colin Miller , Defenseman, Boston Bruins

Nationality: Canada

Height: 6'1''

Weight: 196 lb

Age: 24

Draft: Selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the fifth round (151st overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Miller appeared in all 82 regular season games for the Golden Knights, leading the team's defensemen in points with 41, including 10 goals. In the playoffs, Miller played in all 20 games, scoring three goals and notching four assists.

Marc Methot, Defenseman, Ottawa Senators

Nationality: Canada

Height: 6'3''

Weight: 220 lb

Age: 32

Draft: Selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the sixth round (168th overall) of the 2003 NHL

2017-18: Five days following the Expansion Draft, Vegas traded Methot to the Dallas Stars for goaltender Dylan Ferguson and a second-round draft pick in 2020. Ferguson spent the year with the Kamloops Blazers in the Western Hockey League, but appeared in one game with the Golden Knights on November 14 during an emergency call up.

David Schlemko, Defenseman, San Jose Sharks

Nationality: Canada

Height: 6'0''

Weight: 190 lb

Age: 30

Draft: Undrafted

2017-18: Vegas traded Schlemko the day after the Expansion Draft to the Montreal Canadians for a 2019 fifth-round draft pick.

David Perron , Forward, St. Louis Blues

Nationality: Canada

Height: 6'0''

Weight: 200 lb

Age: 29

Draft: Selected by the St. Louis Blues in the first round (26th overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Perron played in 70 regular season games for the Golden Knights, scoring 16 goals and assisting on 50 more, good for third on the team in points. In the playoffs, Perron saw the ice in 15 games, with a goal and eight assists.

Oscar Lindberg , Forward, New York Rangers

Nationality: Sweden

Height: 6'1''

Weight: 202 lb

Age: 25

Draft: Selected by the Phoenix Coyotes in the second round (57th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Lindberg played in 63 regular season games for Vegas, scoring nine times and tallying two assists. In the playoffs, Lindberg played three games, assisting on one goal.

Griffin Reinhart , Defenseman, Edmonton Oilers

Nationality: Canada

Height: 6'4''

Weight: 212 lb

Age: 23

Draft: Selected by the New York Islanders in the first round (fourth overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Reinhart played in 60 games for the Chicago Wolves, scoring two goals and assisting on 10 more. 

Alexei Emelin, Defenseman, Montreal Canadiens

Nationality: Russia

Height: 6'2''

Weight: 218 lb

Age: 31

Draft: Selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the third round (84th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Vegas traded Emelin to the Nashville Predators on July 1, 2017, for a 2019 third-round draft pick.

Clayton Stoner , Defenseman, Anaheim Ducks*

Nationality: Canada

Height: 6'4''

Weight: 216 lb

Age: 32

Draft: Selected by the Minnesota Wild in the third round (79th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Stoner was placed on injured reserve on October 3, 2017, following Golden Knights training camp.

Erik Haula , Forward, Minnesota Wild*

Nationality: Finland

Height: 6'0''

Weight: 193 lb

Age: 26

Draft: Selected by the Minnesota Wild in the seventh round (182nd overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Haula notched 55 points during the regular season, including 29 goals and 26 assists, while playing in 76 games. During the playoffs, Haula scored three goals and tallied six assists.

William Karlsson , Forward, Columbus Blue Jackets*

Nationality: Sweden

Height: 6'1''

Weight: 189 lb

Age: 24

Draft: Selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round (53rd overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Karlsson played in all 82 regular season games for the Golden Knights, scoring a team-high 43 goals and leading the team in points with 78. Karlsson scored another seven goals in the playoffs and added eight assists. 

Trevor van Riemsdyk, Defenseman, Chicago Blackhawks

Nationality: United States of America

Height: 6'2''

Weight: 188 lb

Age: 25

Draft: Undrafted

 The Golden Knights traded Van Riemsdyk and a 2019 seventh-round pick the day after the Expansion Draft to the Carolina Hurricanes for a 2017 second-round pick.

Marc-Andre Fleury , Goaltender, Pittsburgh Penguins*

Nationality: Canada

Height: 6'2''

Weight: 180 lb

Age: 32

Draft: Selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round (first overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Fleury played in 46 regular season games, with a 29-13-4 record, 2.24 goals against average and 92.7 save percentage. He backed the Golden Knights in all 20 playoff games, compiling a 13-7 record.

Nate Schmidt, Defenseman, Washington Capitals

Nationality: United States of America

Height: 6'1''

Weight: 194 lb

Age: 25

Draft: Undrafted

2017-18: Schmidt played in 76 regular season games, scoring five times and helping on 31 goals while leading the team in ice time with more than 22 minutes a game. Schmidt added three goals and four assists in all 20 Golden Knight playoff games.

TRANSACTIONS: 

Anaheim Ducks: Vegas Golden Knights acquire defenseman Shea Theodore

Buffalo Sabres: Vegas Golden Knights acquire Buffalo's 2017 sixth round draft pick

Carolina Hurricanes: Vegas Golden Knights acquire Boston's 2017 fifth round draft pick (previously acquired by Carolina)

Columbus Blue Jackets: Vegas Golden Knights acquire Columbus' 2017 first round draft pick, Columbus' 2019 second round draft pick and forward David Clarkson

Florida Panthers: Vegas Golden Knights acquire forward Reilly Smith in exchange for Vegas' 2018 fourth round draft pick 

Minnesota Wild: Vegas Golden Knights acquire forward Alex Tuch in exchange for a conditional third round draft pick in either the 2017 or 2018 draft

New York Islanders: Vegas Golden Knights acquire Jake Bischoff, Mikhail Grabovski, New York's 2017 first round draft pick and New York's 2019 second round draft pick

Pittsburgh Penguins: Vegas Golden Knights acquire Pittsburgh's 2020 second round draft pick

Tampa Bay Lightning: Vegas Golden Knights acquire Tampa Bay's 2017 second round draft pick, Pittsburgh's 2018 fourth round draft pick (previously acquired by Tampa Bay) and the rights to Nikita Gusev

Winnipeg Jets: Vegas Golden Knights acquire Winnipeg's first round draft pick in 2017 and Winnipeg's third round draft pick in 2019 in exchange for Columbus' 2017 first round draft pick

PLAYER SIGNINGS

The Vegas Golden Knights have signed forward Erik Haula to a three-year contract worth an average annual value of $2.75 million.

The Vegas Golden Knights have signed defenseman Deryk Engelland to a one-year contract worth an average annual value of $1 million.

BIOS OF PLAYERS ACQUIRED VIA TRADE

Shea Theodore, Defenseman, Anaheim Ducks

Nationality: Canada

Height: 6'2''

Weight: 195 lb

Age: 21

Draft: Selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the first round (26th overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Theodore was brilliant for the Golden Knights and established himself as a top pairing NHL defenseman. He had six goals and 23 assists in 61 games. In the playoffs, Theodore had three goals and 10 points in 20 games.

David Clarkson, Forward, Columbus Blue Jackets

Nationality: Canada

Height: 6'0''

Weight: 207 lb

Age: 33

Draft: Undrafted

2017-18: Clarkson did not play for Vegas and is unofficially retired due to injury.

Reilly Smith, Forward, Florida Panthers

Nationality: Canadian

Height: 6'0''

Weight: 185 lb

Age: 26

Draft: Selected by the Dallas Stars in the third round (69th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Smith continued his ascent as one of the NHL's best two-way forwards. He scored 22 goals and 60 points in the regular season and was a plus 31. One of the NHL's top penalty killers, Smith used his speed and hockey sense to break up plays and kill the clock in shorthanded situations. The playoffs saw Smith take another step as he led Vegas in scoring with 22 points off five goals and 17 assists.

Alex Tuch, Forward, Minnesota Wild

Nationality: United States of America

Height: 6'4''

Weight: 222 lbs

Age: 21

Draft: Selected by the Minnesota Wild in the first round (18th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: The power forward had an impact with the Golden Knights scoring 15 goals and 22 assists in 78 regular season games. Tuch gained confidence as the season went on and became more and more of an offensive threat. In the playoffs he had six goals and 10 points in 20 games.

Jake Bischoff, Defenseman, New York Islanders

Nationality: United States of America

Height: 6'1''

Weight: 194 lb

Age: 22

Draft: Selected by the New York Islanders in the seventh round (185th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry

2017-18: Bischoff played in 69 games for the Chicago Wolves, scoring seven goals and tallying 16 assists.

Mikhail Grabovski, Forward, New York Islanders

Nationality: Germany/Belarus

Height: 5'11

Weight: 186 lb

Age: 33

Draft: Selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the fifth round (150th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Grabovski was placed on injured reserve prior to the season.

Nikita Gusev, Forward, Tampa Bay Lightning

Nationality: Russia

Height: 5'11''

Weight: 181 lb

Age: 24

Draft: Selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the seventh round (202nd overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft

2017-18: Gusev scored 22 goals and recorded 40 assists in 54 games in Russia this season for SKA Saint Petersburg, winning the Kontinental Hockey League's MVP award the Golden Stick. Gusev has a year remaining on his contract in Russia during which the Golden Knights retain his negotiating rights and following which he can enter the NHL as an unrestricted free agent.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS DRAFT PICKS ACQUIRED THROUGH THE EXPANSION DRAFT:

Five in 2017 

One in 2018 

Three in 2019 

One in 2020 

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