The NHL expansion draft finally happens this week and DeadHitSports cannot wait. Every NHL team has to give the new Vegas franchise something, so here are our projections:
Vegas Golden Knights NHL Expansion Draft Players per Team
Sami Vatanen – a mobile defenseman with a ton of upside who has experience and will get the spotlight he deserves
Alexander Burmistrov – This would be his third organization. He has so much talent, but hasn’t figured out how to put it all together as of yet.
Adam McQuaid – A tough blueliner who will give the Golden Knights from grit and some playoff experience.
Dimitri Kulikov – He’s got some talent, but has played for a few teams so far. At this point, the Golden Knights just need to amass assets in the NHL expansion draft and Kulikov could be flipped later on if need be.
Troy Brouwer – Let’s go off the board on this one and pick a veteran. He could be the first captain of the team.
Danny Kristo – I don’t think anyone who the Canes left unprotected will end up playing for the GKs, so I’m tanking this pick.
Marcus Kruger – It’s being rumored that the two teams are working on a deal. Kruger makes a decent sum of money, but he has cup pedigree and he is versatile.
Calvin Pickard – The young netminder has played better than his career numbers indicate. He’s worth a flyer.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Jack Johnson – You can’t have too many former first round stud Ds.
Cody Eakin – A versatile forward who, if given more of a chance, could surprise.
Detroit Red Wings
Riley Sheahan – Yes, he didn’t score much this past season, but this center’s skill set is impressive and he’s worth a pick.
Griffin Reinhart – How this guy couldn’t crack a mediocre Oilers D is beyond us. He’s a no-brainer for Vegas.
Jonathan Marchessault – You score 30 goals at the age of 26 and you’re bound to be nabbed.
Los Angeles Kings
Kyle Clifford – A serviceable pick on a Kings list that doesn’t have a whole lot of intriguing options.
Matt Dumba – Another no-brainer on D. The Golden Knights will be competitive in a hurry with someone like him.
Charles Hudon – One of the hottest AHL players in the second half of the season.
James Neal – He makes a lot of money but he also gives you a legit top line scorer out of the chute.
New Jersey Devils
Keith Kinkaid – A solid goaltender who could surprise and compete for playing time in Vegas.
New York Islanders
Calvin de Haan – A tremendous asset for Vegas to pick up. Young with potential, but also with a good amount of experience.
New York Rangers
Jesper Fast – He’s proven himself in the playoffs and he is a great third line role player.
Marc Methot – A top pairing D that the Sens are desperate to keep. We’ll see if they can.
Matt Read – Another third line player who can chip in offensively and do a lot on the penalty kill.
Bryan Rust – A stud who has come through in the playoffs in a couple of seasons. Forget Marc-Andre Fleury, take Rust!
San Jose Sharks
Aaron Dell – Another goaltender who has a ton of promise and a good track record so far. I think he and Kinkaid can compete for the starting job quite credibly.
St. Louis Blues
Magnus Paajarvi – This former first round pick has so much skill. We still think that he can put it together if given the chance.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Cedric Paquette – A solid third or fourth liner with playoff experience. A good mentor to younger players.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Kerby Rychel – Great AHL numbers. He’s worth a shot.
Luca Sbisa – He can skate well and is very steady.
Jay Beagle – A heart and soul type of player.
Matthew Ross is a sports commentator and a radio host on TSN 690 Radio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Follow him @MatthewWords.