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Expansion Draft

Expansion Mock Draft: Golden Knights opt for young roster

NHL.com's Dan Rosen believes Vegas will take bargain forwards Jonathan Marchessault, Colton Sissons

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

Each of the 30 NHL teams submitted its list of protected players on Saturday for the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. The Vegas Golden Knights, the League's 31st team, have until 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday to make their picks for the expansion draft. The Golden Knights will select 30 players, one from each team, and must take a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies. At least 20 of the players must already be under contract for next season. Vegas must select players whose average annual salaries add up to at least $43.8 million, or 60 percent of the $73 million salary cap that was in place for this season.

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 Senior Writer Dan Rosen reveals who he would have Vegas take in the expansion draft (cap charges according to CapFriendly.com):

 

[RELATED: Tom Gulitti's Expansion Mock Draft | Pete Jensen's Expansion Mock Draft]

 

Goalies (4)

Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh Penguins; cap charge: $5.75 M): Fleury, a three-time Stanley Cup champion with the Penguins, is still a No. 1 goalie and will be that for Vegas. Moreover, Fleury is a prominent player who can help the Golden Knights sell the sport in a new NHL market.

Michal Neuvirth (Philadelphia Flyers; cap charge: $2.5 M): Neuvirth struggled this season, finishing with a 2.82 goals-against average and .891 save percentage in 28 games. Vegas general manager George McPhee drafted him when he was the GM with the Washington Capitals. Golden Knights goalie coach Dave Prior coached Neuvirth in Washington. He can be Fleury's backup or he can be traded to a team that might need a backup.

Philipp Grubauer (Washington Capitals, RFA): Grubauer might be more likely to be Fleury's backup, especially if the Golden Knights can find a trade partner for Neuvirth. Grubauer, like Neuvirth, was drafted by McPhee in Washington and was partially developed by Prior. He could be a future No. 1.

Malcolm Subban (Boston Bruins, RFA): Subban would start the season in the American Hockey League with the Chicago Wolves. He has a lot to prove, but he's 23 so he has time. He had a 2.41 GAA and .917 save percentage in 32 games with the Providence Bruins of the AHL this season. Vegas could have Grubauer and Subban as its 1-2 in 2-3 years.

Video: Fleury waives his NMC for the Expansion Draft

 

Forwards (16)

Troy Brouwer (Calgary Flames; cap charge: $4.5 M): Brouwer played for Washington when McPhee was the Capitals GM. He has won the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks. He'll be 32 on Aug. 17. He might still have a couple of 20-goal seasons left in him, but his experience and leadership would be key for Vegas. He could be captain or an alternate.

Cody Eakin (Dallas Stars; cap charge: $3.85 M): Eakin, a center with three years left on his contract, is another player with ties to McPhee. The Vegas GM drafted Eakin in the third round in 2009. He also traded him to Dallas three years later. Eakin is a two-way center who can play on the power play and penalty kill.

David Perron (St. Louis Blues; cap charge: $3.75 M): The Golden Knights should hope Perron scores some goals and auditions well to be traded for draft picks or prospects at the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline. He has one year remaining on his contract.

Jamie McGinn (Arizona Coyotes; cap charge: $3.33 M): McGinn will bring some scoring and some bite to the Golden Knights on any one of their top three lines. He has two years remaining on his contract. He's only a season removed from being an impact player for both the Buffalo Sabres and Anaheim Ducks. He'll be 29 on Aug. 5.

Lee Stempniak (Carolina Hurricanes; cap charge: $2.5 M): Stempniak is in a similar position as Perron. He can score around 15-20 goals, which should be enough to generate interest from other teams around the trade deadline. He also has one year left on his contract.

Jason Chimera (New York Islanders; cap charge: $2.25 M): Chimera is another veteran forward with one year remaining on his contract. He also has ties to McPhee from their time together in Washington. He would provide leadership for the Golden Knights.

William Karlsson (Columbus Blue Jackets; cap charge: $1.0 M): Karlsson is 24 and likely more suited for a third-line center role. However, he can get into a competition in Vegas for an elevated role. He'd also play on the Golden Knights' penalty kill.

Kerby Rychel (Toronto Maple Leafs; cap charge: $863,333): Rychel, 22, will be given an opportunity to make the Golden Knights roster out of training camp. If he can't or if he gets caught in a numbers game, it won't hurt him to get more seasoning in the AHL. He had 52 points (19 goals, 33 assists) in 73 games for the Toronto Marlies this season. He could have a big role for Vegas in the future.

Jonathan Marchessault (Florida Panthers; cap charge: $750,000): Marchessault could be the biggest bargain Vegas gets in the expansion draft. He scored 30 goals in 75 games this season. Was it a blip or was it the first of many times he'll reach 30 goals? He had eight goals in 49 NHL games prior to this season. This is a no-brainer pick for Vegas.

William Carrier (Buffalo Sabres; cap charge: $689,167): Carrier, 22, is an intriguing prospect because of his speed and ability to generate scoring chances. He needs to learn how to finish more to generate more goals, but Vegas could work with him and eventually have him as a major piece on a winning team.

Logan Shaw (Anaheim Ducks; cap charge: $650,000): Shaw, 24, isn't flashy and he doesn't score much, but he can fill out a depth role. The Ducks' best available players are defensemen Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson, but there have been reports that Anaheim is working a trade with Vegas in order to protect those players from selection.

Charles Hudon (Montreal Canadiens; cap charge: $650,000): Hudon is a scorer who could find his way into Vegas' top-six forward group if he has a good training camp. He has four assists in six NHL games, all with Montreal. He had 162 points (75 goals, 87 assists) in 207 AHL games, including 49 points (27 goals, 22 assists) in 56 games this season.

Colton Sissons (Nashville Predators; cap charge: $625,000): Losing Sissons is the price the Predators pay for having four top defensemen to protect: Roman Josi, P.K. Subban, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis. Sissons, who has two years left on his contract, played first-line minutes in the Stanley Cup Final in place of injured center Ryan Johansen. The other quality options from the Predators are forwards James Neal and Pontus Aberg, but Neal ($5 million) is expensive and Aberg is unproven. Sissons is cheap and a center.

Oscar Lindberg (New York Rangers; RFA): The easy choice is for Vegas to take goalie Antti Raanta, but Lindberg makes more sense when you consider how many quality backup goalies are available. Lindberg is a versatile center who can play on the power play and penalty kill. Forward Jesper Fast is also a good option from the Rangers, but Lindberg's scoring upside is better.

Mikhail Grigorenko (Colorado Avalanche; RFA): Grigorenko's talent suggests he should be better than a third-line player who hasn't even had a 30-point season in the NHL yet. Maybe he'll figure it out with Vegas. He had 50 points (16 goals, 34 assists) in 149 games with the Avalanche the past two seasons.

Brendan Gaunce (Vancouver Canucks; RFA): Vegas will need to show patience with Gaunce, 22, who recently had shoulder surgery. Gaunce, the Canucks' first-round pick in 2012, has six points (one goal, five assists) in 77 NHL games, including five in 57 this season. He's a project for Vegas.

Video: NHL Tonight initial reaction to Expansion Draft lists

 

Defensemen (10)

Marc Methot (Ottawa Senators; cap charge: $4.9 M): Methot, a left-handed shot, is used to playing top-pair minutes with Erik Karlsson, a two-time Norris Trophy winner who could win it for a third time this week. He won't have anyone like Karlsson in Vegas but he would be the leader on defense. He has two years left on his contract. He could be Vegas' first captain.

Ben Lovejoy (New Jersey Devils; cap charge: $2.66 M): Lovejoy, who is right-handed, is on the downside of his career but with two seasons remaining on his contract he can be valuable to Vegas. He brings experience as a Stanley Cup winner with the Penguins last season and can still play a solid, reliable game. Lovejoy is more of a third-pair defenseman.

Matt Dumba (Minnesota Wild; cap charge: $2.55 M): Dumba, a right-handed shot, hasn't lived up to the billing he had as a top-pair defenseman, but he'll be 23 when next season starts and he's trended in a positive direction in the past two seasons. He had 34 points (11 goals, 23 assists) in 76 games this season. He would play on Vegas' power play.

David Schlemko (San Jose Sharks; cap charge: $2.1 M): Schlemko, a left-handed shot, has three years left on his contract. He's 30 years old and drives possession. He could play on the second pair with Dumba.

Brayden McNabb (Los Angeles Kings; cap charge: $1.7 M): McNabb, a 26-year-old lefty, has played in 238 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres and the Kings. He isn't flashy, but he's big (6-foot-4, 212 pounds) and he's known to be a strong possession defender, meaning his team doesn't spend a lot of time in the defensive zone when he's on the ice. However, that could have a lot to do with how the Kings played under former coach Darryl Sutter.

Trevor van Riemsdyk (Chicago Blackhawks; cap charge: $825,000): He's a Stanley Cup winner who has been a part of one of the most successful organizations in the past 10 years. Van Riemsdyk is a right-handed shot who is incentivized to have a good season in the last year of his contract.

Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton Oilers; RFA): Reinhart, a lefty, is too young to be called a bust just yet; he's 23. He was the No. 4 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft by the New York Islanders. Reinhart spent all of last season with Bakersfield of the AHL. He's an easy, cost-effective gamble for Vegas.

Xavier Ouellet (Detroit Red Wings; RFA): Ouellet, a lefty who turns 24 next month, played in a career-high 66 games this season. He had 12 points (three goals, nine assists). He can provide some offense; he had 29 points (four goals, 25 assists) in 61 games with Grand Rapids of the AHL in the 2015-16 season.

Jake Dotchin (Tampa Bay Lightning; RFA): Lightning coach Jon Cooper thought highly enough of Dotchin (or he had no choice because of injuries) to play him with Victor Hedman at times this season. Dotchin, a righty, fared well, a sign that maybe he could play on the top pair with Methot. He can play on the power play and plays a physical style.

Ben Chiarot (Winnipeg Jets; RFA): Chiarot can be a swing defenseman for Vegas, meaning he might start the season in the AHL but would be a call-up to replace an injured player. He played in 129 games with the Jets the past two seasons. There has been nothing overly impressive about his game, but his experience will give the Golden Knights depth at the position.

Video: Johnston gives his input on the Expansion Draft lists

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