Before the Golden Knights disclose their picks during the 2017 NHL Awards and NHL Expansion Draft presented by T-Mobile in Las Vegas on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN), NHL.com Staff Writer Tom Gulitti reveals who he would have Vegas take in the expansion draft (cap charges according to CapFriendly.com):
[RELATED: Dan Rosen's Expansion Mock Draft | Pete Jensen's Mock Draft | Marc-Andre Fleury, James Neal among best available ]
Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh Penguins; cap charge: $5.75 M): Fleury, 32, a three-time Stanley Cup champion, will be the Golden Knights' first star and help cover up some of their early flaws.
Calvin Pickard (Colorado Avalanche; cap charge: $1 M): Pickard, 25, played well for Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Championship and would have value in a trade with a team looking for a goaltender.
Antti Raanta (New York Rangers; cap charge: $1 M): A solid backup if the Golden Knights choose to keep him, Raanta, 28, also could be turned into a pick or prospect from a team that needs a goaltender.
Linus Ullmark (Buffalo Sabres; cap charge: $750,000): Ullmark, who will turn 24 on July 31, has spent most of the past two seasons in the American Hockey League with Rochester. But he has the potential to be an NHL goaltender and can play in the AHL next season without clearing waivers.
Video: NHL Tonight initial reaction to Expansion Draft lists
Josh Bailey, RW (New York Islanders; cap charge: $3.3 million): Multiple reports indicate Vegas has agreed not to take forwards Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome as part of a trade with the Islanders, who protected five defensemen. Staying away from defenseman Calvin de Haan might also be part of that trade, which leaves Bailey, 27, as the best option.
Troy Brouwer, RW (Calgary Flames; cap charge: $4.5 M): Brouwer, who turns 32 on Aug. 17, would provide experience and leadership and is capable of scoring goals; he had 21 in 2015-16 with the St. Louis Blues.
Alexander Burmistrov, C (Arizona Coyotes; RFA): Burmistrov, who will turn 25 on Oct. 21, showed some potential after being claimed by the Coyotes off waivers from the Winnipeg Jets; he had 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 26 games. Vegas would be able to give the No. 8 pick in the 2010 NHL Draft a similar opportunity to play regularly.
Marko Dano, C (Winnipeg Jets; cap charge: $850,000): It's worth taking a chance on an inexpensive, fast and young (22) forward who was the No. 27 pick in 2013, by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Cody Eakin, C (Dallas Stars; cap charge: $3.85 M): Eakin, 26, is coming off a down season when he had 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in 60 games after recovering from a knee injury. However, he had at least 35 points in each of the previous three seasons.
Brendan Gaunce, C (Vancouver Canucks; RFA): Though the No. 26 pick in the 2012 draft hasn't yet produced in the NHL (one goal, five assists in 77 games), a fresh start might help. Gaunce, 23, is coming off surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, so his status for the start of training camp is questionable.
William Karlsson, C (Columbus Blue Jackets; cap charge: $1 M): The Columbus Dispatch reported the Blue Jackets have agreed to give up the No. 24 pick in the 2017 draft in exchange for the Golden Knights taking either Karlsson, 24, or left wing Matt Calvert, 27, instead of a player such as right wing Josh Anderson or backup goaltender Joonas Korpisalo (with other pieces possibly). With that in mind, I went with the younger Karlsson.
Jonathan Marchessault, C (Florida Panthers; cap charge: $750,000): Marchessault is coming off a season when he set career-highs with 30 goals, 21 assists and 51 points. The 26-year-old has another season left on his contract at a bargain price before he's slated to become an unrestricted free agent. That will make him a valuable commodity as a rental player prior to the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline after he helps the Golden Knights through most of their inaugural season.
James Neal, RW (Nashville Predators; cap charge: $5 M): Vegas will need players who can score goals and Neal, who turns 30 on Sept. 3, has topped 30 twice and had a career-high 41 in 2011-12 with the Penguins. He also is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2018, so he will have value as a rental player prior to the NHL Trade Deadline.
David Perron, LW (St. Louis Blues; cap charge: $3.75 M): With one year to go on his contract, Perron, 29, can help Vegas offensively (46 points this season; 18 goals, 28 assists) and possibly bring back more assets as a rental player prior to the trade deadline.
Tomas Plekanec, C (Montreal Canadiens; cap charge: $6 M): Though Plekanec, 34, struggled this season with 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) in 78 games, he is one year away from unrestricted free agency, so his contract won't weigh down Vegas long-term, and he might have value as a rental player prior to the trade deadline.
Michael Raffl, LW (Philadelphia Flyers; cap charge: $2.35 M): Raffl, 28, was limited 52 games this season because of injury. He scored 21 goals in 2014-15, so there is goal-scoring potential there.
Kerby Rychel, LW (Toronto Maple Leafs: cap charge: $863,333): With the Maple Leafs organization deep with young talent, the 22-year-old Rychel, the No. 19 pick in the 2013 draft by Columbus, spent all of this season in the AHL, finishing with 52 points (19 goals, 33 assists) in 73 games. He'd get more of a look in the NHL with the Golden Knights.
Logan Shaw, C: (Anaheim Ducks; cap charge: $650,000): The Golden Knights reportedly have a deal in place with the Ducks to not select defensemen Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson, which didn't leave a lot to choose from on Anaheim's available list. Shaw, 24, played semi-regularly last season, with 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 55 games. He would fit in Vegas' bottom six.
Nick Shore, C: (Los Angeles Kings; RFA): Shore's age (he turns 25 on Sept. 26) and restricted free agent status makes him more attractive than some of the Kings' older forwards with years left on their contracts, including Trevor Lewis, Dustin Brown and Marian Gaborik. He's a serviceable third or fourth-line center who won 50.2 percent of his faceoffs last season.
Lee Stempniak, RW (Carolina Hurricanes; cap charge: $2.5 M): Having already played for 10 teams in his NHL career, Stempniak, 34, would be a good fit in Vegas as a top-nine forward who had 40 points (16 goals, 24 assists) in 82 games last season. He also has the potential to be moved for assets before the trade deadline as a potential unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2018.
Video: Johnston gives his input on the Expansion Draft lists
Brenden Dillon (San Jose Sharks; cap charge: $3.27 M): Dillon, 26, will provide size (6-foot-4, 230 pounds), physicality and stability to the Golden Knights' defense. He's under contract for three more seasons.
Jake Dotchin (Tampa Bay Lightning; RFA): Dotchin, 23, has size (6-3, 210) and took a step forward this season by playing in 35 games with the Lightning (11 assists, plus-10).
Matt Dumba (Minnesota Wild; cap charge: $2.55 M): It was a difficult choice between Dumba, who will turn 23 on July 25, and 27-year-old Marco Scandella, who also was left unprotected by the Wild. Either would play in Vegas' top four, Dumba is younger and a right-handed shot.
Jon Merrill (New Jersey Devils; cap charge: $1,137,500): Though Merrill, 25, has yet to put together a consistent full season, it appeared to click for him for a long stretch this season.
Marc Methot (Ottawa Senators; cap charge: $4.9 M): The Senators were forced to leave Methot, who will turn 32 on Wednesday, unprotected after Dion Phaneuf declined to waive his no-movement clause, and Ottawa was unable to complete a trade before the 3 p.m. ET freeze began on Saturday. Methot would be a solid veteran presence among a young group of defensemen for Vegas.
Colin Miller (Boston Bruins; cap charge: $1 M): Miller, 24, has a good right-handed shot, can skate well and has potential (he'll turn 25 on Oct. 29).
Xavier Ouellet (Detroit Red Wings; RFA): Ouellet, who will turn 24 on July 24, established himself as a regular with the Red Wings this season, averaging 17:58 in ice time in 66 games with 12 points (three goals, nine assists). With Vegas, he'll have the chance to take the next step.
Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton Oilers; RFA): The No. 4 pick of the 2012 draft by the Islanders, Reinhart, 23, spent all of this season at Bakersfield (AHL) except for one playoff game with Edmonton. He's young enough to get another shot.
Nate Schmidt (Washington Capitals; RFA): Schmidt, 25, is a smooth-skating defenseman ready to take on a top four role in Washington if he isn't picked by Vegas.
Trevor van Riemsdyk (Chicago Blackhawks; cap charge: $825,000): Closing in on his 26th birthday on July 24, van Riemsdyk has experience, a Stanley Cup ring from 2015 and a right-handed shot.
Video: Brian Lawton goes through the potential Vegas skaters