Best NHL expansion team ever?: Vegas might have the cards

Posted June 26, 2017

Vegas Golden Knights' Marc-Andre Fleury, Deryk Engelland and Brayden McNabb, from left, sit on stage during an event following the National Hockey League expansion draft, Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Las Vegas.

WORTH THE GAMBLE: Among established NHL forwards, Vegas has the pick of two 26-year-olds from Florida: right winger Reilly Smith and center Jonathan Marchessault, who set career highs with 30 goals, 21 assists and 51 points last season and is the biggest bargain in the league at $750,000.

Nicolas Hague, who was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, is interviewed at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, on Saturday, June 24, 2017.

A year after the NHL welcomed owner Bill Foleys 31st franchise into the league, the Golden Knights finally have the core of the team theyll put on the desert ice this fall.

GMs often talk about building a team down the middle and Vegas acquired two centers in the first round.

"That was a warm welcome", Fleury said.

After choosing Deryk Engelland from Calgary, the Golden Knights announced a deal with the veteran defenseman, who still lives in Las Vegas during the offseason after playing for the ECHLs Las Vegas Wranglers a decade ago.

Poile was recognized after the Predators' first Western Conference title and Stanley Cup Final appearance.

Indeed, this isn't your usual expansion team roster.

The Golden Knights will likely struggle in year 1. He says his favorite player is Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks but many scouts say he plays more like Kevin Shattenkirk though.

Vegas selected two highly skilled centres in Cody Glass at No. 6 and Nick Suzuki at No. 13 - two of the top four draft-eligible CHL scorers from last season - and then rounded out the round with Erik Brannstrom at No. 15, who at 5-foot-9 ties the record for the shortest defenceman ever drafted in the first round. "I heard we sold out our season tickets already so it's great to have the fans and the community behind us", said Fleury, who got the loudest cheer of the night from the Vegas crowd at T-Mobile Arena.

You can watch NHL Draft 2017 on FuboTV live online.

The team has been very active in trading players for draft picks and vice versa.

Colorado goalie Calvin Pickard was the first player McPhee announced as a Golden Knight. In a lot of cases, teams gave up draft picks to prevent certain players from being chosen.

The 2017 NHL Entry Draft is over.

"One of the advantages of our expansion team situation is we've known all year where we would pick so that's given us the opportunity to focus in on that group of players", McCrimmon said. The Golden Knights also chose forward David Perron, who had 18 goals with the St. Louis Blues, and New York Rangers forward Oscar Lindberg and Edmonton Oilers defenseman Griffin Reinhart, the fourth overall pick of the 2012 draft. Foley has said that Vegas hopes to be in the playoffs by its third season and head coach Gerard Gallant told Postmedia News this week that a Stanley Cup appearance is the goal for 2023 or 2024. "To be their first pick, that really means a lot".

DON'T SLEEP ON: The Golden Knights will be young, but San Jose's David Schlemko (30) and Paul Martin (36) and New Jersey's Ben Lovejoy (33) are veteran options.

For that to happen, the team needs players that can grow with the team. He seems nearly certain to be the Golden Knights starter with two years on his contract. I mean, I just mentioned to the guys 'Boy, I guess this week's over, and it's been quite a week.' But, I don't think it could have gone better, and as a manager, you know when you've done a good job and you know when you haven't.