Vegas Golden Knights – Expansion Mock Draft

Paul Zwambag


The Expansion Draft is a difficult thing to predict, not only do you have no idea how each of the 30 teams and GMs are planning to use their protection list, but also how Vegas is going to build their team. There’s also the matter of side deals, where George McPhee (Vegas GM) can make promises to teams that he will leave an unprotected guy alone and draft someone else from the team. I believe McPhee and Kelly McCrimmon (Vegas asst. GM) have a target list for every team and once they get the protected lists they will scratch their guys off the list. In the following exercise I kind of did the same thing, before I knew what players were being protected I made a list of 3-5 players who I thought would be worth drafting from each team. As the protection lists were made I then scratched off players from my target list and started to build my roster from there.

A couple of key notes, Vegas is allowed to draft 2017 UFA’s and RFA’s, but they must draft at least twenty 2017-18 contracts, so that leaves you with the maximum of ten UFA and RFAs, but can be a minimum of zero.

The next thing I determined was deciding if Vegas would be a Cap ceiling team or a team with a capped budget. In my mind an expansion team isn’t going to spend to the Cap in their first two to three years so they have flexibility when the UFA market is right for them and they can also sign bigger free agents for a little more money than their competitors.

With all that said, DobberProspects protection lists for each team were filed by their respective writers/scouts who cover the Prospects and the teams much more closely than if I did it myself. It also opened up having many different “managers” selecting what would be best for their “team”. Below is the full list of protected players from each team and small write-ups explaining the “GMs decisions they made with their lists.


*in alphabetical order*


Forwards: Corey Perry (NMC), Ryan Getzlaf (NMC), Ryan Kesler (NMC), Rickard Rakell, Jakob Silfverberg, Andrew Cogliano, Antoine Vermette

Defensemen: Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler, Kevin Bieksa (NMC)

Goalie: John Gibson

GM Lucas Main – “In this format I have not including any of the "what-ifs" meaning Bieksa has to be protected leaving Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson available on defense. One of these two guys would be selected under this format, Vatanen being the coveted right-handed, puck moving defenseman and Manson being the big, physical right handed defenseman. However, I feel Bieksa will move his NMC for the expansion draft which would set up this second scenario.”


Forwards: Shane Doan, Tobias Reider, Alexander Burmistrov, Radim Vrbata, Tyler Gaudet, Anthony Duclair, Jordan Martinook

Defensemen: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Goligoski (NMC), Connor Murphy

Goalie: Mike Smith

GM Keith Duggan “The Coyotes most likely make a few trades before the expansion draft since they only had 3 forwards that meet the requirements for draft selection. This made selecting 7 forwards somewhat difficult. Two forwards I selected to protect (Doan and Vrbata) are UFA's and one is a RFA they might not even tender an offer (Gaudet). Rieder was the only forward I protected that met the requirements. Goalie was the hardest spot to make a decision on. I went with Smith though because he helps the Coyotes h