On Saturday the 30 NHL teams submitted their list of protected players for the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft. The Las Vegas Golden Knights have until 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday to make their picks for the draft. The Golden Knights will select 30 players, one from each team. They must select a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies. At least 20 of those players must already be under contract for next season. The Golden Knights must take 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.
Vegas’ picks will be announced during the 2017 NHL Awards on Wednesday at 8 p.m. E.T. (NBCSN, NHL.com).
Vegas GM George McPhee will certainly flip players for draft picks so he can guarantee the Golden Knights a solid future. Hockey pundits have agreed that if their information is correct, there are already 8-10 deals that have been made.
We put our GM hat on and took a stab at a mock expansion draft using CapFriendly.com‘s cap numbers.
Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh Penguins – $5.75 M) – Becomes the face of the franchise.
Petr Mrazek (Detroit Red Wings – $4.0 M) – His talent exceeds his attitude problem.
Malcolm Subban (Boston Bruins – RFA) – Has tremendous athleticism and never quits on a play.
Philipp Grubauer (Washington Capitals – RFA) – The long-term number one backstop.
James Neal (LW, RW – Nashville Predators – $5.0 M) – A former 40-goal scorer who just finished his sixth consecutive 20-goal season.
Troy Brouwer (RW – Calgary Flames – $4.5 M) – Leadership, experience and maybe some goals.
Cody Eakin (C – Dallas Stars – $3.85 M) – Had at least 35 points in each of the previous three seasons before last years 12 point disaster.
David Perron (LW, RW – St. Louis Blues – $3.75 M) – He will help offensively (46 points – 18 goals, 28 assists this past season).
Jamie McGinn (LW, RW – Arizona Coyotes – $3.33 M) – A sound defensive game with goal-scoring ability.
Ryan Strome (C, RW – New York Islanders – $2.5 M) – A worthwhile reclamation project.
Lee Stempniak (RW – Carolina Hurricanes – $2.5 M) – A top-nine forward who had 40 points (16 goals, 24 assists) in 82 games last season.
Michael Raffl (LW, C – Philadelphia Flyers – $2.4 M) – Injury risk. 21 goals in 2014-15.
Michael Grabner (RW – New York Rangers – $1.7 M) – An explosive skater with exceptional penalty-killing prowess.
William Karlsson (C – Columbus Blue Jackets – $1.0 M) – A solid two-way pivot.
Marko Dano (C, LW, RW – Winnipeg Jets – $850,000) – A talented prospect that needs ice time.
Jonathan Marchessault (C – Florida Panthers – $750,000) – 30 goals, 21 assists and 51 points last season.
William Carrier (LW – Buffalo Sabres – $689,167) – A 22-year-old physical winger.
Brendan Gaunce (C, LW – Vancouver Canucks – RFA) – The number 26 pick in 2012 who is coming off an injury. Needed a fresh start.
Beau Bennett (New Jersey Devils – RFA) – Good instincts with the puck and plenty of playmaking ability.
Mikhail Grigorenko (C – Colorado Avalanche – RFA) – The Junior superstar is a reclamation project.
Marc Methot (Ottawa Senators – $4.9 M) – Good veteran leader and potential captain.
Mathew Dumba (Minnesota Wild – $2.55 M) – A top-four defenseman with a right-handed shot.
David Schlemko (San Jose Sharks – $2.1 M) – Has decent size, reach and puck-moving skills.
Brayden McNabb (Los Angeles Kings – $1.7 M) – Has good instincts and a bit of a mean streak.
Brandon Davidson (Montreal Canadiens – $1.425 M) – Has good size and a big point shot.
Martin Marincin (Toronto Maple Leafs – $1.25 M) – A young, cheap depth defenseman.
Josh Manson (Anaheim Ducks – $825,000) – Has excellent size and is very physical along the blueline.
Trevor van Riemsdyk (Chicago Blackhawks – $825,000) – A proven bottom pair blueliner.
Jake Dotchin (Tampa Bay Lightning – RFA) – Has good size (6-3, 210). 23 years old, coming off a step-up season with 11 assists and a +10 rating in 35 games.
Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton Oilers – RFA) – A 23-year-old number four pick in 2012, who played with Bakersfield (AHL) last season.
Total Salary: $58,144,127.
RFA’s to sign: Subban, Grubauer, Gaunce, Bennett, Grigorenko, Dotchin and Reinhart.