Expansion Vegas loads up on D-men, could make more trades

Nashville general manager David Poile is among many hockey observers who think the Golden Knights have the ingredients for the most competitive expansion team in league history.

"Obviously, we've got great fans already, having sold out the season tickets and the reception we had tonight here, " Fleury said after he walked out on stage in a Golden Knights jersey. Even expansion-draft rules that are generous to the team doing the selecting make it hard to assemble a roster with many impact players.

There's a lot to like about what the Vegas Golden Knights did during the expansion draft on Wednesday.

In constructing protection rules for this expansion draft, the National Hockey League hoped Vegas might boast a relatively formidable initial roster. The real pity is that Senators general manager Pierre Dorion wasn't able to find a way to swing a deal with McPhee that would have kept him away from Methot, nor was he able to trade Phaneuf in the week leading up to the expansion draft.

In addition to the 30 players added via expansion draft, the Golden Knights also added seven more players and 10 draft picks through 10 trades.

Not by a long shot.

The way the league went out of it's way to launch Las Vegas it's nearly surprising that they didn't hold the NHL Entry Draft there Friday as well.

"It's something I've never gone through before, it's a different experience", Eberle said. The 32-year-old opted to waive his no-movement clause with the Penguins for the chance to become a starting netminder once more after Matt Murray stole his long-time No. 1 job in Pittsburgh. "But it's something I definitely knew would eventually come". "I'm not looking to be the face of much".

But then there were the other moves: Goalies that did not include quality Rangers backup Antti Raanta or Washington's Philipp Grubauer?

All of this is to say no player selected Wednesday will be more missed by his former team than Fleury, even if he had been the most telegraphed pick of the bunch.

Defenseman Shea Theodore also came with Stoner from the Ducks in a trade, while highly touted forward Alex Tuch and a third-round pick in 2017 or 2018 joined Haula from the Wild. Now he's gone, and Erik Karlsson loses his blue line partner.

With their first expansion draft picks, Vegas selected Pickard, a goalie, forwards William Carrier, Cody Eakin, Jonathan Marchessault, Teemu Pulkkinen, Tomas Nosek, and defensemen Brayden McNabb, Jon Merrill, Luca Sbisa.

Vegas emerged from the expansion draft with 15 defensemen, and McPhee alluded before the expansion draft to trading some of them.

Brandon Leipsic, a 23-year-old forward, was plucked from the Toronto Maple Leafs, and veteran defenseman David Schlemko was chosen from the San Jose Sharks.

James Neal was the biggest individual name revealed in the second round of expansion announcements. The 10-time 20-goal scorer gives Vegas immediate top-line scoring punch, and the Predators couldn't work out a trade to spare him. He began his career with the Florida Panthers, and played three seasons in the Sunshine State before signing with his hometown Canucks as a free-agent in 2012.

When word was going around that Vegas was taking Emelin, the speculation was that it must be getting an asset from Montreal not to take Brandon Davidson or Charles Hudon. And in between, McPhee will be able to move veteran D-men on expiring contracts - Vegas now has five such players, including Garrison - for draft picks and prospects near the trade deadline to continue the organization's growth.

"You don't always have to do things the same way", NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said of the two-for-one Vegas show.