A year after the NHL welcomed owner Bill Foley’s 31st franchise into the league, the Golden Knights finally have the core of the team they’ll put on the desert ice this fall — 37 players in all, one from every existing NHL team and seven more acquired through trades and signings. Less than a day later, the expansion draft has triggered a deluge of trades and rumors promising more wheeling and dealing ahead.
To keep hockey fans up to date, we’ve rolled up the latest from the expansion draft fallout, including expansion draft results, the ensuing trades around the league and rumors of deals to come.
A first look at the Vegas Golden Knights
The Golden Knights didn’t just walk away with a collection of current players Wednesday night. Thanks to side deals arranged during the draft process to keep Vegas away from certain unprotected players, the Golden Knights now have three first-round picks — the sixth, 13th and 15th selections overall — and 12 total choices in Friday’s amateur entry draft. But the immediate prize was the players acquired Wednesday.
Here is a look at their expansion draft picks and trade acquisitions:
F Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (Philadelphia)
F Connor Brickley (Carolina) + 2017 fifth-round draft pick
F William Carrier (Buffalo) + 2017 sixth-round draft pick
F Cody Eakin (Dallas)
F Erik Haula (Minnesota) + F Alex Tuch + 2017 or 2018 third-round draft pick
F William Karlsson (Columbus) + F David Clarkson + 2017 first-round draft pick (goes to Winnipeg) + 2019 second-round pick
F Brenden Leipsic (Toronto)
F Oscar Lindberg (NY Rangers)
F Jonathan Marchessault (Florida) + F Reilly Smith
F James Neal (Nashville)
F Tomas Nosek (Detroit)
F David Perron (St. Louis)
F Teemu Pulkkinen (Arizona)
F Chris Thorburn (Winnipeg) + 2017 first-round draft pick + 2019 third-round draft pick
D Alexei Emelin (Montreal)
D Deryk Engelland (Calgary)
D Jason Garrison (Tampa Bay) + F Nikita Gusev + 2017 second-round draft pick + 2018 fourth-round draft pick
D Brayden McNabb (Los Angeles)
D Jon Merrill (New Jersey)
D Marc Methot (Ottawa)
D Colin Miller (Boston)
D Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton)
D Luca Sbisa (Vancouver)
D David Schlemko (San Jose)
D Nate Schmidt (Washington)
D Clayton Stoner (Anaheim Ducks) + D Shea Theodore
D Trevor van Riemsdyk (Chicago)
G J-F Berube (NY Islanders) + F Mikhail Grabovski + D Jake Bischoff + 2017 first-round draft pick + 2019 second-round draft pick
G Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh) + 2020 second-round draft pick
G Calvin Pickard (Colorado)
The official roster announcement was made during the NHL’s awards show, held fittingly, in Las Vegas. Many of those names above were expected, accurately projected by the media and even reflected in The Post’s mock draft, constructed with the help of all 30 team beat writers. But the side deals added an interesting wrinkle, and the Vegas Knights weren’t done.
The league’s trade freeze lifted Thursday morning, meaning Vegas can now complete additional trades set up earlier in the expansion draft process. And it’s already pulled the trigger on one, sending defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk and a seventh-round pick to the Carolina Hurricanes for a late second-rounder.
Full trade details as per @PierreVLeBrun: CAR sends 2nd round pick to VGK for Trevor van Riemsdyk and 7th round pick.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) June 22, 2017
There was discussion ahead of the expansion draft that Chicago and Vegas had worked a deal in which the Golden Knights would send the defenseman van Riemsdyk back to the Blackhawks in exchange for forward Marcus Kruger. But with Marian Hossa likely stepping away due to a medical condition, that deal seems to have fallen apart and Vegas shipped him to Carolina instead.
The Golden Knights also shipped out defenseman David Schlemko to the Montreal Canadiens, in search of blue-line help after the Golden Knights selected defenseman Alexi Emelin from the Habs Wednesday night. Montreal sent a fifth-round pick in 2019 to Vegas in return.
The New York Islanders made some curious additional concessions to Vegas in getting the Knights to select minor league goaltender J-F Berube. Among them were the team’s first-round draft pick in 2017 and its second-rounder in 2019. That also incentivized Vegas to take on the contract of injured forward Mikhail Grabovski. But by ditching Grabovski the Isles cleared enough space to acquire Edmonton forward Jordan Eberle for forward Ryan Strome.
Strome has not yet blossomed as the Islanders had hoped since drafting him fifth overall in 2011. Meanwhile the Oilers had been looking to divest themselves of Eberle’s $6-million per year contract that runs through 2019. Eberle performed very well when he played alongside Islanders captain John Tavares for Team Canada in the World Juniors, and this trade is clearly meant to help entice Tavares, who will become a free agent after the 2017-18 season, to stick around. To that end, the Islanders have also been rumored to be interested in acquiring Colorado center Matt Duchene, using some of the young players they paid so dearly to protect from Vegas.
Rumors, rumors everywhere
TSN’s Frank Seravalli believes the Toronto Maple Leafs were in discussions with the Golden Knights to obtain a top-four defenseman left exposed by another team and could the Marc Methot or Colin Miller, selected by the Knights from the Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins respectively.
This is the type of scenario that demonstrates the power wielded by McPhee during the expansion process. He has the ability to act as a middleman for other teams that covet a player left unprotected during the draft process. Essentially, the Knights would select that player, like Methot or Miller above, then auction him off to other teams.
Those trades, like the van Riemsdyk and Schlemko trades, will continue to be revealed Thursday. So just because a player was selected by the Knights Wednesday, it doesn’t mean he’ll be in the desert to start next season. And then there are teams like the Washington Capitals that now must fill holes in their core lineup left by the expansion draft. That sets the table for even more speculation, which began in earnest Thursday.
So now we see who VGK flip over the next few days. TVR, Schlemko, Methot, Emelin, among those who could go.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 22, 2017
Here’s a quick roundup of the key players and teams to watch:
Washington seems like they need defensive help
After the selection of Nate Schmidt by Vegas, the Capitals need to fill a slot in the top-four of their defense corps if they hope to contend for a Stanley Cup this coming season. Whether they can work out something with Vegas to reclaim Schmidt, or will target another defenseman on the trade or free agent market remains to be seen.
There are several appealing names reportedly on the trading block, including Minnesota’s Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba and Marco Scandella, though the asking price for each would vary, per McKenzie.
MIN has to figure which D it's going to trade. Brodin will fetch best yield but my sense is he is D the Wild least want to part with.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 22, 2017
I also believe MIN is leery of moving Dumba this soon into his career, so perhaps Marco Scandella is most likely candidate to move.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 22, 2017
The Panthers gave up two talented goal-scorers and got …
What exactly? Exposing an affordable, productive forward like Jon Marchessault was curious enough. But then sending Reilly Smith to Vegas for a fourth-round draft pick made zero sense at the time. It’s likely the logic will be revealed between now and the end of the weekend’s entry draft, as the Panthers attempt to upgrade a roster that reached the playoffs in 2016, but missed the postseason in 2017.
More on the expansion draft