Michael Finewax

In The Crease

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It's Vegas Time!

Monday, June 19, 2017


On Wednesday the Vegas Golden Knights will put together their first team by selecting one player from each of the 30 existing teams.

 

The Golden Knights must select at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders among the 30 players and hit 60 percent of the cap in the process.

 

Some teams (Columbus, Anaheim and the New York Islanders) have supposedly struck deals so that some of their unprotected players are not taken. All trades will be revealed on Wednesday night as well.

 

So without further ado, here is who I think the Vegas Golden Knights should select.

 

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FORWARDS

 

Logan Shaw - (Anaheim) The Ducks left Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson available and if there was not a deal in place, Vegas would be taking one of those two players. Look for them to take Shaw and get a first rounder in 2018 and possibly a prospect as well.

 

Troy Brouwer - (Calgary) The Flames do not have a lot available so look for the Knights to grab the veteran Brouwer.

 

Joakim Nordstrom - (Carolina) The likely pick of the Golden Knights although the Hurricanes would love them to select either Eddie Lack or Cam Ward and if they do, expect Carolina to pay extra in the form of a high draft pick.

 

William Karlsson - (Columbus) The Blue Jackets have too many players to protect and will give up their first round pick next week as well as a prospect as well as Karlsson (or Matt Calvert). They certainly do not want to lose Josh Anderson who is on the available list.

  

Cody Eakin - (Dallas) Eakin is a nice center who will do well enough in Las Vegas. He had an off-year but is capable of 35-40 points as a third line pivot.

 

Riley Sheahan - (Detroit) Sheahan took 81 games before he scored last season, which he did twice in the finale. He is a good third line center. A bit of a surprise that Petr Mrazek is available and the Golden Knights could go there as well.

 

Jonathan Marchessault- (Florida) Not too many teams would expose a 30 goal scorer who is under contract for $750,000 but the Panthers did. This should be a no-brainer unless a deal is in place.

 

Jacob De La Rose- (Montreal) This is a tough one. Plekanec is the best player available but his salary is too high and the Golden Knights wouldn't mind a nice young player who is capable of more.

 

James Neal- (Nashville) The Predators went with eight skaters and were forced to choose between Neal and Calle Jarnkrok as their fourth forward. Neal will be the most talented forward taken in the expansion draft.

 

Stefan Noesen - (New Jersey) Noesen has some upside. The Golden Knights could take a blueliner like Jon Merrill or an expensive forward such as Mike Cammalleri but I think they will take the inexpensive Noesen.

 

Casey Cizikas(New York Islanders) The Islanders were the only team to keep five defensemen and apparently have a deal in place with the Golden Knights to not take Ryan Strome etc. Brock Nelson and Calvin de Haan are believed to be on this list as well and if Cizikas is available, that is the pick for Vegas. Look for at least a first round pick  to go to the Golden Knights.

 

Dmitrij Jaskin- (St. Louis) Jori Lehtera is the best player remaining on the Blues but his $4.7 million price tag is too much. Jaskin is only $1 million and has upside at the age of 24.

 

J.T. Brown(Tampa Bay) Brown could be the best of the bunch remaining as the Lightning managed to hold onto their best. Andrej Sustr is also a possibility.

 

Brendan Leipsic- (Toronto) The Maple Leafs are fortunate that all their young stars (Matthews, Marner, Nylander etc.) are exempt as first and second year professionals. There is not a lot of options and Leipsic is an intriguing prospect. Kerby Rychel is another and if he doesn't go in the expansion draft, he may go to Florida where he played for new coach Bob Boughner in Windsor of the OHL.

 

Marko Dano - (Winnipeg) The Jets inked Dano last week making him eligible for selection. There is not a lot to pick from on the Jets and the Golden Knights certainly don't want the $5.75 million hit that the Toby Enstrom selection would bring.

 

DEFENSEMEN

 

Kevin Connauton  - (Arizona) The Coyotes don't have a lot to give up but Connauton is an interesting defenseman who has only a $1 million hit.

 

Zach Bogosian(Buffalo) The cap hit on the 26-year-old blueliner is high but he could be worth selecting. Other Sabres to consider include Dmitry Kulikov and Nicolas Deslauriers.

 

Adam McQuaid - (Boston) McQuaid is a nice blueliner but there is not a lot on the Bruins to select so he could be the choice. If Vegas wants to go cheap, then goaltender Malcolm Subban could be a pick.

 

Trevor van Riemsdyk - (Chicago) The Blackhawks would love the Golden Knights to select Marcus Kruger and get rid of his $3,083,333 million cap hit but would have to pay for it. Trevor van Riemsdyk is cheap at $875,000 and played well for Chicago the last two seasons. He will be a solid contributor on the Vegas blueline.

 

Griffin Reinhart(Edmonton) This is the best of a bad lot as far as Oiler selections are concerned. Edmonton would love it if Benoit Pouliot is selected but Reinhart is a seven or eight depth defenseman at best for the Oilers.

 

Brayden McNabb – (Los Angeles) The Kings kept four defensemen but couldn't find room for McNabb. The Kings may have a deal in place for McNabb not to be selected and if so, look for Trevor Lewis to be taken.

 

Matt Dumba - (Minnesota) This is a no-brainer. The only way in my opinion that Dumba is not a Golden Knight on Wednesday is if there is a deal in place with the Wild. Dumba will solidify the Vegas blueline if he stays.

 

Marc Methot - (Ottawa) The Senators really wanted to protect Methot who was paired on the first unit with Erik Karlsson but Dion Phaneuf had to be protected as he had a no-trade clause. If the Sens have a deal in place to keep Methot, expect the Senators to take Fredrik Claesson instead.

 

Brenden Dillon(San Jose) There is not much to choose from the Sharks with Dillon, Joel Ward and Dylan DeMelo the only logical targets. Dillon looks to be the pick here.

 

Luca Sbisa - (Vancouver) Another team with little to choose from. I would consider Derek Dorsett but his health is an issue. Brendan Gaunce could be picked but Sbisa looks to be the safest pick.

 

GOALTENDERS

 

Antti Raanta – (New York Rangers) The Rangers have a couple of nice players up front in Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg but they likely will take Raanta and see what his value is in the open market.

 

Michal Neuvirth - (Philadelphia) A lot of pundits were surprised that the Flyers kept Anthony Stolarz instead of Neuvirth but they must love the young goalie. If Neuvirth is selected here, don't be surprised if Philadelphia re-signs Steve Mason.

 

Philipp Grubauer - (Washington) Another $1 million goalie who could get out from the shadow of Braden Holtby if he is selected and traded elsewhere. The Golden Knights could also pick defenseman Nate Schmidt.

 

Marc-Andre Fleury(Pittsburgh) The most discussed expansion draftee, the three-time winning Stanley Cup champion will backstop the first year club if they pick and hold on to him. He gives the Vegas team some instant credibility and a name player.

 

Calvin Pickard - (Colorado) There is not a lot to choose from on the Avalanche roster and Pickard makes the most sense at this time.

 

There will be plenty of deals announced on Wednesday with the Golden Knights. It will be interesting!



Michael Finewax is entering his 13th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.
Email :Michael Finewax



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