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Stanley Cup Final

How Golden Knights were built

Majority of Western Conference champions selected, acquired at 2017 Expansion Draft

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

The Vegas Golden Knights are four victories from winning the Stanley Cup, less than eight months after playing their first game.

One could say the team was built overnight; 19 of the 22 skaters who have appeared in a game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs were either selected or acquired in a trade at the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft.

Here's how the Golden Knights roster was built, along with background on their coaches and general manager:

 

[RELATED: How Golden Knights reached Stanley Cup Final | Vegas joins elite company]

 

Forwards

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, C: Selected in the expansion draft from the Philadelphia Flyers. Bellemare, 33, had an NHL career-high 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 72 games in the regular season and has one assist in 15 playoff games.

Ryan Carpenter, LW: Claimed off waivers from the San Jose Sharks on Dec. 13. Carpenter, 27, had 14 points (nine goals, five assists) in 36 games in the regular season with the Golden Knights and has five assists in 13 playoff games.

William Carrier, LW: Selected in the expansion draft from the Buffalo Sabres. Carrier, 23, had three points (one goal, two assists) in 37 games in the regular season and does not have a point in nine playoff games.

Cody Eakin, C: Selected in the expansion draft from the Dallas Stars. Eakin, 26, had 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists) in 80 games in the regular season and has four points (three goals, one assist) in 15 playoff games.

Erik Haula, C: Selected in the expansion draft from the Minnesota Wild. Haula, 27, had NHL career highs in goals (29), assists (26) and points (55) in 76 games in the regular season and has seven points (three goals, four assists) in 15 playoff games.

William Karlsson, C: Selected in the expansion draft from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Karlsson, 25, finished third in the NHL with 43 goals and led Vegas with 78 points in the regular season. He also led the League with a plus-49 rating and has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 15 playoff games.

Video: WPG@VGK, Gm4: Marchessault feeds Karlsson for PPG

Oscar Lindberg, C: Selected in the expansion draft from the New York Rangers. Lindberg, 26, had 11 points (nine goals, two assists) in 63 games in the regular season and has one assist in three playoff games.

Jonathan Marchessault, LW: Selected in the expansion draft from the Florida Panthers. Marchessault, 27, had an NHL career-high 75 points (27 goals, 48 assists) in 77 games in the regular season. He leads the Golden Knights in goals (eight) and points (18) in 15 playoff games and is tied for most points by a player in his team's first playoff appearance (Jude Drouin, 1975, New York Islanders; Igor Larionov, 1994, San Jose Sharks).

James Neal, LW: Selected in the expansion draft from the Nashville Predators. Neal, 30, had 25 goals in 71 games in the regular season. His six game-winning goals were tied with Marchessault and Karlsson for the team lead. Neal has nine points (four goals, five assists) in 15 playoff games.

Tomas Nosek, LW: Selected in the expansion draft from the Detroit Red Wings. Nosek, 25, had 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 67 games in the regular season and has three points (one goal, two assist) in 12 playoff games.

David Perron, RW: Selected in the expansion draft from the St. Louis Blues. Perron, 29, had an NHL career high in assists (50) and points (66) in 70 games in the regular season and has seven assists in 11 playoff games.

Ryan Reaves, RW: Acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins for forward Tobias Lindberg on Feb. 23. Reaves, 31, had two assists in 21 games in the regular season with Vegas and has one goal in six playoff games.

Video: VGK@WPG, Gm5: Reaves tips in point shot for lead

Reilly Smith, RW: Acquired in a trade at the expansion draft from the Panthers for selecting Marchessault and a fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. Smith, 27, had an NHL career high in assists (38) and points (60) in 67 games in the regular season. He has 16 points (two goals, 14 assists) in 15 playoff games; the 14 assists are a record by a player in his team's first playoff appearance.

Tomas Tatar, LW: Acquired in a trade from the Red Wings on Feb. 26 for a 2018 first-round pick, 2019 second-round pick and 2021 third-round pick. Tatar, 27, had six points (four goals, two assists) in 20 games in the regular season with Vegas and has one goal in six playoff games.

Alex Tuch, RW: Acquired in a trade at the expansion draft from the Wild along with a conditional third-round draft pick for selecting Haula. Tuch, 22, had 37 points (15 goals, 22 assists) in 76 games in the regular season and has nine points (six goals, three assists) in 15 playoff games.

Video: VGK@WPG, Gm5: Tuch opens scoring off turnover

 

Defensemen

Deryk Engelland: Selected in the expansion draft from the Calgary Flames. The Las Vegas native had an NHL career-high 23 points (five goals, 18 assists) in 79 games in the regular season and does not have a point in 15 playoff games. Engelland, 36, is the oldest player on the roster.

Video: VGK@WPG, Gm5: Engelland, Vegas awarded Campbell Bowl

Brayden McNabb: Selected in the expansion draft from the Los Angeles Kings. McNabb, 27, had 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 76 games in the regular season and has five points (two goals, three assists) in 15 playoff games.

Jon Merrill: Selected in the expansion draft from the New Jersey Devils. Merrill, 26, had three points (one goal, two assists) in 34 games in the regular season and does not have a point in eight playoff games.

Colin Miller: Selected in the expansion draft from the Boston Bruins. Miller, 25, had an NHL career high in goals (10), assists (31) and points (41) in 82 games in the regular season and has three points (two goals, one assist) in 15 playoff games.

Luca Sbisa: Selected in the expansion draft from the Vancouver Canucks. Sbisa, 28, had 14 points (two goals, 12 assists) in 30 games in the regular season and has two assists in seven playoff games.

Nate Schmidt: Selected in the expansion draft from the Washington Capitals. Schmidt, 26, had an NHL career high in goals (five) assists (31) and points (36) in 76 games in the regular season and led Vegas with 22:14 of ice time during the regular season. He has six points (two goals, four assists) in 15 playoff games.

Video: VGK@SJS, Gm6: Schmidt roofs wrist shot past Jones

Shea Theodore: Acquired in a trade at the expansion draft from the Anaheim Ducks for selecting defenseman Clayton Stoner. Theodore, 22, had an NHL career high in goals (six), assists (23) and points (29) in 61 games in the regular season and has seven points (two goals, five assists) in 15 playoff games.

 

Goalies

Marc-Andre Fleury: Selected in the expansion draft from the Penguins. Fleury, 33, was 29-13-4 with an NHL career-low 2.24 goals-against average and career-high .927 save percentage and four shutouts in 46 starts in the regular season. The three-time Stanley Cup champion has played every minute for Vegas in the playoffs and is 12-3 with a 1.68 GAA and .947 save percentage and four shutouts in 15 games.

Video: VGK@WPG, Gm5: Fleury makes pad save on bouncing puck

Malcolm Subban: Claimed off waivers from the Bruins on Oct. 3. Subban, 24, was 13-4-2 with a 2.68 GAA and .910 save percentage in 22 games (19 starts) this season. He has yet to appear in a playoff game.

 

Coaches

Gerard Gallant, coach: Hired as the first coach in Golden Knights history April 13, 2017. Gallant led Vegas to a 51-24-7 record (109 points), the Pacific Division title and is 12-3 in the playoffs. Gallant, a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, coached the Panthers for parts of three seasons from 2014-16, and coached the Blue Jackets for parts of three seasons from 2004-06.

Ryan Craig, assistant coach: Hired on June 9, 2017, Craig played 198 NHL games in eight seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets from 2005-15. Last season, he was captain for Cleveland of the American Hockey League and had 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 71 games.

Mike Kelly, assistant coach: Hired on June 8, 2017, Kelly was an assistant under Gallant with the Panthers from 2014-16 and was an associate head coach under Gallant with Saint John of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League from 2010-12.

Ryan McGill, assistant coach: Hired on June 29, 2017, McGill was coach of the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League from 2015-17.

David Prior, goaltending coach: Hired on Aug. 10, 2016, as the first member of the coaching staff, Prior spent 17 seasons as the goaltending coach for the Capitals from 1997-2014.

 

General manager

George McPhee: Hired by Vegas owner Bill Foley as the first general manager in team history on July 13, 2016, McPhee previously was GM of the Capitals from 1997-2014, leading them to the Cup Final in 1998, and served as special adviser to New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow during the 2015-16 season.

***

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