2017 NHL Expansion Draft Preview – Eastern Conference Edition

Image result for las vegas golden knights

On June 21st, the NHL will be taking part in a historic event.  The Las Vegas Golden Knights will begin molding their roster by taking part in the expansion draft. Vegas must select at least one exposed played from all 30 NHL clubs.

For the 30 NHL franchises, there are rules that will needed to be followed when protecting and exposing players.  All of the rules are outlined on NHL.com, but here’s a few of the basics:

NHL Clubs Exposure Rules per NHL.com:

  1. All Clubs must expose 1 Defenseman who are A) Under contract in 2017-18 and  B) Played in 40 or more NHL games in the prior season, or played 70 or more NHL games total in the prior two seasons.

  2. All Clubs must expose 2 forwards who are A) Under contract in 2017-18 and  B) Played in 40 or more NHL games in the prior season, or played 70 or more NHL games total in the prior two seasons.

  3. One goaltender who is under contract in 2017-18 or will be a restricted free agent at the expiration of his current contract immediately prior to 2017-18. If the club elects to make a restricted free agent goaltender available in order to meet this requirement, that goaltender must have received his qualifying offer prior to the submission of the club’s protected list.

Las Vegas Selection rules per NHL.com

  1. The Las Vegas franchise must select one player from each presently existing club for a total of 30 players.

  2. The Las Vegas franchise must select the following number of players at each position: 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders.

  3. The Las Vegas franchise must select a minimum of 20 players who are under contract for the 2017-18 season

The 30 NHL clubs will released their protected and exposed lists by 6/17 — allowing for the fans to play armchair GM. Here is a little preview of who I think will be protected and exposed by all 30 NHL franchises.


Atlantic Division:

Image result for Boston Bruins logo Forwards they will expose: LW Matt Beleskey, RW Jimmy Hayes, C/RW Riley Nash, C/LW Tim Schaller, C Dominic Moore,  C Ryan Spooner

Defensemen they will expose: Joe Morrow, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller

Goalies they will Expose: Anton Khudobin

Vegas Selects: D Joe Morrow

Image result for Joe Morrow 2017 playoffs

Vegas will take a flyer on the 24 year old 2011 1st round pick.  Seemingly shunned by both Claude Julien and new Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy, Morrow only dressed in 19 regular season games in 2016-17.  When 3 of Boston’s top 6 defenseman all went down, Morrow stepped into the lineup for 5 playoff games.  He finished with 1 assist, a +1 rating, and averaged 21.96 minutes of ice time. Morrow could be a great pick for Vegas.  He is young and can move the puck really well.  He has got great skating ability — but decision making and coverage can be a major weakness.

Image result for buffalo sabres logoForwards they will expose: LW Tyler Ennis, LW Nicolas Deslauriers, C Brian Gionta, LW Matt Moulson, C Johan Larsson, LW , C Cody McCormick, LW Marcus Foligno

Defensemen they will expose: Justin Faulk, Josh Gorges, Cody Franson

Goalies they will expose: Anders Nilsson

Vegas Selects: LW Tyler Ennis

Image result for tyler ennis sabres

Slim pickings from the Buffalo Sabres — but Tyler Ennis has shown he can be a goal scorer at the NHL level.  He has shown that when on his game, he can put up 40-50 pts any given season.  However, the last two years he’s combined for just 24 points in only 74 games played.

Image result for detroit red wings logoForwards they will expose: C Riley Sheahan, C Luke Glendening, C Darren Helm, LW Tomas Nosek, C Ben Street, LW Drew Miller, RW Mitch Callahan

Defensemen they will expose: Brian Lashoff, Dylan McIlrath, Xavier Ouellet

Goalie they will expose: Jimmy Howard

Vegas Selects: C Darren Helm

Image result for Darren Helm 2017

Nothing much to see here — Helm is a solid veteran center who would be able to played on the 3rd or 4th line easily. He will be able to fill in with spot duty in Vegas’s top 6 should injuries occur.

Image result for florida panthers logoForwards they will expose: C Nik Bjugstad, C Derek MacKenzie, C Colton Sceviour, RW Jussi Jokinen, RW Paul Thompson, C Brody Sutter

Defensemen they will expose: Mark Pysyk, Jakub Kindl, Alex Petrovic

Goalies they will expose: Roberto Luongo

Vegas Selects: D Mark Pysyk

The consensus out there seems to be that Vegas will select either Petrovic or Pysyk.  I went with Pysyk simply due to upside.  Originally a first round pick of the Buffalo Sabres in the 2010 draft, Pysyk presents the ability to skate and move the puck.  Petrovic is a more prototypical stay at home defenseman.

Image result for montreal canadiens logoForwards they will expose: C Torrey Mitchell, C Paul Byron, LW Chris Terry, Brian Flynn, C Tomas Plekanec, RW Bobby Farnham, LW Stefan Matteau

Defensemen they will expose: Nikita Nesterov, Nathan Beaulieu, Alexei Emelin

Goalies they will expose: Al Montoya

Vegas selects: C Tomas Plekanec

Image result for tomas plekanec 2017

Vegas probably doesn’t want to select anyone from this wretched organization, but rules are rules.  Plekanec is well past his prime of being a top 1-2 center on his team.  He’d make for a solid 3rd line center on a young team.  Au revoir to the turtling turtleneck.

Image result for ottawa senatorsForwards they will expose: C Tom Pyatt, C Zack Smith, RW Alexandre Burrows, LW Clarke MacArthur, RW Mike Blunden, RW Tommy Wingels, C Casey Bailey, LW Bobby Ryan

Defensemen they will expose: Jyrki Jokipakka, Chris Wideman, Mark Borowiecki

Goalies they will Expose: Andrew Hammond

Vegas Selects: LW Bobby Ryan

Image result for Bobby Ryan 2017 playoffs

Seems to be the consensus out there that Ottawa would not protect Bobby Ryan — he’s been on the decline for quite some time and his contract is absolutely atrocious.  Ottawa may change Ryan’s status after his 15 pts in 19 playoff games this season.  Vegas will likely snap him up as a top 6 winger, and a way to get to the Salary Cap floor.

Image result for tampa bay lightningForwards they will Expose: LW Byron Froese, C Gabriel Dumont, LW Michael Bournival, LW Tye McGinn, C Cedric Paquette, RW Erik Condra.

Defensemen they will expose: Braydon Coburn, Jason Garrison, Andrej Sustr

Goalies they will expose: Kristers Gudlevskiks

Vegas Selects: D Braydon Coburn

Image result for braydon coburn lightning

Coburn is a solid veteran defenseman with loads of experience playing big minutes.  The 6′ 5″, 225 lb Coburn can still log top 4 minutes but his best days are behind him.  Would be a solid addition to a likely young Vegas squad.

Image result for Toronto Maple LeafsForwards they will expose: C Brooks Laich, C Eric Fehr, RW Colin Greening, RW Seth Griffith,  RW Ben Smith, LW Milan Michalek, LW Josh Leivo

Defensemen they will expose:  Connor Carrick, Matt Hunwick, Roman Polak

Goalies they will expose: Garret Sparks

Vegas Selects:  Seth Griffith

Image result for seth griffith leafs

Ahhhh Seth Griffith.  Once a highly touted prospect in the Bruins organization, he’s just never been able to figure it out at the NHL level.  Playing for three organizations in 2016-17 didn’t help that.  Vegas will take a shot on the AHL goal scorer.

Metropolitan Division:

Image resultForwards they will expose: RW Lee Stempniak, LW Phillip Di Giuseppe, LW Brock McGinn, C Andrej Nestrasil, C Jay McClement, C Connor Brickley


Defensemen they will Expose: Klas Dahlbeck, Dennis Robertson, Matt Tennyson

Goalies they will expose: Cam Ward

Vegas Selects: C Brock McGinn


Image result for brock mcginn

Seems that McGinn has been the unanimous pick at various media outlets.  Can’t say I disagree — he presents some nice upside at a young age.  McGinn is a two way forward who is just 23 years old.


Image result for columbus blue jackets logoForwards they will expose: C Sam Gagner, C Zac Dalpe, C T.J. Tynan, LW Brett Gallant, C Lukas Sedlak, C Alex Broadhurst, RW Josh Anderson

Defensemen they will expose: Jack Johnson, Kyle Quincey, Jamie Sifers

Goalies they will expose: Joonas Korpisalo

Vegas Selects: G Joonas Korpisalo


Columbus will have a tough time when they have to release their lists. They have quite a few aging veterans with No-Movement Clauses or full No-Trade Clauses, which would leave them exempt from being exposed.

Consensus out there seems to be Korpisalo would be the pick by Vegas.  He’s a solid backup who can make up to 30 or so appearances.  He finished 2017 with 14 appearances, 2.88 GAA, and a .915 save %.  The young Finnish goalie would make a great backup and he’s only 23.  Eventually he could develop into a full time starter.

Image result for new jersey devils logoForwards they will expose:  RW Devante Smith-Pelly, C Luke Gazdic, C Jacob Josefson, Stefan Noesen, LW Mike Cammalleri, RW Shane Harper, C Carter Camper

Defensemen they will expose: Dalton Prout, Ben Lovejoy, John Merril

Goalies they will Expose: Keith Kinkaid

Vegas Selects: LW Mike Cammalleri

Image result for Mike cammalleri 2017

Nothing but trash to pick from the team that holds the #1 overall pick in this June’s NHL Entry Draft.  Couldn’t hurt Vegas to pry Cammalleri if he is exposed.  Once a gifted scorer, his goal totals declined as his age rose.  The Devils will look to expose him to relieve themselves of the $5 million dollar cap hit.  If not, look for the Devils to try and get a return for Cammalleri by trading him.

Image result for new york islanders logoForwards they will expose: LW Nikolai Kulemin, LW Jason Chimera, LW Shane Prince,  C Alan Quine, C Stephen Gionta, RW Cal Clutterbuck, C Bracken Kearns

Defensemen they will Expose: Dennis Seidenberg, Calvin De Haan, Ryan Pulock

Goalies they will Expose: Jaroslav Halak

Vegas Selects: D Ryan Pulock

Image result for ryan pulock

Pulock would be the pick of the draft for the Knights.  If he’s available, they will take him no questions asked.  The Isles are in a bit of a bind as they have to pick between Calvin De Haan, a good young defenseman, or Ryan Pulock, who is also a very talented young defenseman.  De Haan is more of a finished product, which is why I can see the Isles leaving Pulock exposed.  Should Vegas pick him up —  he has the potential to play top pairing minutes.

Image result for New York Rangers logoForwards they will expose: LW Matt Puempel, C Brandon Pirri, LW Taylor Beck, RW Michael Grabner, C Daniel Catenacci, C Chris Brown, LW Matt Hrivik.

Defensemen they will expose: Kevin Klein, Steven Kampfer, Nick Holden

Goalies they will expose:  Mackenzie Skapski

Vegas Selects: RW Michael Grabner

Image result for michael grabner rangers

Coming off a career year in 2016-17, Grabner would be a solid pickup for the Vegas squad.   Grabner netted 27 goals and 13 assists this season but don’t count on this type of production consistently. He is however, one of the fastest end to end skaters in the NHL.  He is a great Penalty Killer and a solid depth scorer.  Off season surgery to the Rangers’ Jesper Fast could mean Grabner is exposed.

Image result for pittsburgh penguins new logoForwards they will expose: LW Carl Hagelin, LW Scott Wilson, RW Josh Archibald, C Kevin Porter, RW Tom Kuhnhackl, LW Garret Wilson, RW Brian Rust

Defensemen they will expose: Derrick Pouliot, Tim Erixon, Cameron Gaunce

Goalies they will expose: Matt Murray

Vegas Selects: D Derrick Pouliot

Image result for Derrick Pouliot

The thought of snagging Matt Murray is quite tempting, but having a plethora of young mobile defensemen is far superior to goaltending.  Pouliot is a young offensive minded defenseman who will be great anchoring the Knight’s power play.

Image result for philadelphia flyers logoForwards they will expose: RW Matt Read, C Greg Carey, RW Dale Weise, LW Pierre Edouard-Bellemare, LW Michael Raffl, LW Colin McDonald, C Scott Laughton

Defensemen they will expose: Nick Schultz, Will O’Neill, T.J. Brennan

Goalies they expose: Michal Nuevirth

Vegas Selects: G Michal Nuevirth

Image result for michal neuvirth flyers

Vegas gets its starting goalie from the Flyers.  Mostly splitting time with Steve Mason Nuevirth has shown the ability to be a mid-level starter in the NHL.  Everything else Philly can offer leaves this one as a no-brainer.


Image result for washington capitals logoForwards they will expose: C Zach Sill, RW Garret Mitchell, RW Brett Connelly, LW Thomas Christian, LW Chris Bourque, C Daniel Winnik, C Liam O’Brien

Defensemen they will expose: Brooks Orpik, Taylor Chorney, Tom Gilbert

Goalies they will expose: Phillip Grubauer

Vegas Selects: G Phillip Grubauer

Image result for philipp grubauer

Grubauer rounds out the goalies for Vegas – solid backup but that’s about it.  Could either be a backup in Vegas or a starter down on the farm.


That wraps it up for the Eastern Conference — stay tuned for my western conference mock next week!

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