Vegas Golden Knights Expansion Draft Summary

Colorado Avalanche: Calvin Pickard, G

Calvin Pickard was the first pick of this year’s expansion draft. The 25 year old goaltender from New Brunswick was selected in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft and spent multiple years in the AHL. With the injury of starting Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov, Pickard received most of the starts for the Avs, starting a career high 50 games. He posted a 2.56 GAA and a .922 SVS% behind a crippled defense. The Golden Knights certainly hope Pickard will be the player between the pipes a few years down the road.

Vancouver Canucks: Luca Sbisa, D

Luca Sbisa is a veteran two way defenseman from Italy and a key addition for the Golden Knights. His fourth NHL team, Sbisa has skated alongside All Stars such as Claude Girioux, Ryan Kesler, and Henrik Sedin. He has had to adapt to many different systems and will be a core part of the defense for the Golden Knights. Expect Sbisa to start shooting the puck more as a new offense is created in Vegas. He has always had a sharp shot, but often is reserved to use it.

Arizona Coyotes: Teemu Pulkkinen, F

Teemu Pulkkinen is a forward the Golden Knights are looking to develop into a nice role player. He spent most of last year in the AHL with the Iowa Wild, scoring 36 points in 47 games. He has NHL experience with the Red Wings, but played little time. Teemu should be a very offensive winger for Vegas this year.

New Jersey Devils: Jon Merrill, D

Jon Merrill is entering his fifth year of his NHL career and his first with a new team. Merrill is a true defenseman and rarely gets involved in the offense. He is a two time gold medalist in the U18 WJC, in 2009 and 2010. Merrill should be a core part of the Vegas defense.

Buffalo Sabres: William Carrier, F

William Carrier is a young player, picked in the 2nd round of the 2013 NHL Draft by the Blues. He played limited time with the Sabres, only netting 8 points in 41 games. Carrier is a part of this large young core the Vegas front office has created. He has a high ceiling and should be a major component of the offense in the future.

Dallas Stars: Cody Eakin, F

Cody Eakin has played consistently in the NHL since 2011. He has been a bottom six forward most recently for the Dallas Stars. Eakin played 60 games last year and registered only 9 points. The 26 year old is another solid player with experience that will benefit the young Golden Knights.

Detroit Red Wings: Tomas Nosek, F

Tomas Nosek is a 24 year old winger from the Czech Republic who was recently signed by the Detroit Red Wings in 2014. Nosek has spent most of his career in the AHL, putting on a stellar performace in the AHL playoffs last year for the Grand Rapids Griffins. Nosek scored 22 points in 19 games with 10 goals and 12 assists. Nosek is a versatile young player that will develop quickly with the ice team he’ll garner in Vegas.

Florida Panthers: Jonathan Marchessault, F

Jonathan Marchessault is a 26 year old winger from Quebec. He had his best career NHL season last year with the Florida Panthers, scoring a career high 51 points in 78 games. He has been written off many times in his career for his small size, but his ability to score makes up for it. Marchessault should be a strong winger for the Golden Knights this season.

Los Angeles Kings: Brayden McNabb, D

Brayden McNabb is a 26 year old big bruising defensemen from Saskatoon. Standing at 6’4, McNabb was a part of the Kings core defense for most of the 2016/17 season. He will certainly be a top defenseman for the Golden Knights and will most likely be on one of the penalty kill unit.

Carolina Hurricanes: Connor Brickley, F

Connor Brickley is looking to return to the NHL after spending the majority of the last two years in the AHL. Brickley has only played in 23 career NHL games, so he is certainly looking to draw on the experience other veterans will bring to the team. Brickley registered 26 points in 69 games this year for the Charlotte Checkers.

Winnipeg Jets: Chris Thorburn, F

Chris Thorburn is one of the oldest Golden Knights drafted at 34 years old. He’s been in the league since 2005, playing for the Sabres, Penguins, and the Thrashers/Jets. Thorburn is not much of a scorer but enjoys racking up penalty minutes, with 95 PIM in just 64 games. Thorburn will be a veteran enforcer for Vegas.

Philadelphia Flyers: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, F

Bellemare comes from the physical Philadelphia Flyers and truly embodied the team. He is a quick winger who has a blue collar play style, constantly finding open space and being a nuisance for the opposing team. While he won’t consistently register points, Bellemare is solid on the penalty kill and has a strong work ethic.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Jason Garrison, D

Another veteran defenseman, the 32-year-old Garrison looks to bring experience to the mostly young Vegas team. He has been in the league since 2008 and has played for three different teams. He is a defensive defenseman with size and a quick stick. The veteran will help anchor this defensive unit.

New York Islanders: J.F. Berube, G

The second goaltender selected in the draft, JF Berube had a rough year as the Islanders back up. He started just 14 games and posted a 3.42 GAA with a .889 SVS%. Berube is still young and will be competing with Pickard for the backup goaltender spot.

Nashville Predators: James Neal, F

James Neal is one of the highest profile picks of this expansion draft, and for good reason. Neal is a high octane scorer and will be looking to lead the Golden Knights in goals this year. He was an essential part to the Stanley Cup run the Predators put together, so it will be interesting to watch how Neal takes on the new environment. In the past, Neal has been considered a problem for teams. There were many rumors that the Pittsburgh Penguins parted with him in 2014 because he was a locker room cancer. Neal’s contributions to the Golden Knights will be a top storyline to follow this season.

Calgary Flames: Deryk Engelland, D

A Vegas native, Engelland is one of the most popular Golden Knights on the team. He made a name for himself back in 2012/13 with the Penguins. He has since been with the Flames and has been an upper tier defenseman for Calgary. Engelland also does not shy away from the penalty box, with 85 PIM last year in 81 games. Another bonus to Engelland is that he is rarely injured, starting a majority of games across his entire career.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Brandon Leipsic, F

Brandon Leipsic is a 23 year old winger from Manitoba. He played in the AHL all of last year and has not seen much NHL action. He is considered a better prospect that the Golden Knight’s selected, so expect to hear more about Leipsic in the coming years.

Boston Bruins: Colin Miller, D

Colin Miller is a 24 year old defenseman from Ontario. He has spent the last few years on the Boston Bruins. Miller is another player with a high ceiling who will take a few years to develop. He scored 13 points in 61 games, so it’ll be interesting to see if his game becomes more offensive on this Vegas team.

Ottawa Senators: Mark Methot, D

Yet another veteran defenseman, Methot was a part of the stellar defense led by Erik Karlsson that took the Senators to the Eastern Conference Final. Methot was extremely effective in shutting down key star players in the playoffs, so look for him to have an impressive year for the Golden Knights. Jason Garrison seems to be a good opposite to him, so expect those two to be paired when the season starts.

San Jose Sharks: David Schlemko, D

Schlemko has jumped around teams the last few years, but was a solid force for the Sharks in the 2016/17 season. He had a career high 16 assists in 62 games played. Schlemko has great vision and knows when to make the right pass, making him a very effective two-way defenseman. Expect him to be paired with Engelland this fall.

St Louis Blues: David Perron, F

David Perron has had an extremely consistent career, perennially delivering for whatever team he seems to be on. He developed his skillset with the Blues from 2007-13, before jumping around to the Oilers, Penguins and Ducks. He averages roughly 45 points a season and is considered one of the better passers in the game. Perron should be paired with a scorer on the opposite wing this season.

New York Rangers: Oscar Lindberg, F

Oscar Lindberg is a 25 year old center from Sweden. While he is not known for his scoring, Lindberg is a great team player who is defensively strong and offensively sound. He is a great passer and will most likely be placed on Neal’s line. He is also strong at faceoffs. Lindberg should be a top 6 forward for the Golden Knights this year.

Edmonton Oilers: Griffin Reinhart, D

Griffin Reinhart was the #4 overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft but hasn’t really been able to break into the NHL. With short stints here and there, Reinhart has spent most of his career in the AHL. Reinhart will benefit from the veteran defensemen on the team and should be looking to have a breakout year in the 2017/18 season.

Montreal Canadians: Alexei Yemelin, D

Yemelin has spent his entire career in the NHL with the Canadiens, so moving to Vegas should be quite the new experience for him. Another veteran defenseman, Yemelin is considered to be extremely physical, even to the point where is can get him in trouble sometimes. He’s quick for a defenseman however and rarely gets outskated.

Anaheim Ducks: Clayton Stoner, D

Clayton Stoner has played for the Wild and the Ducks and is mostly a spot defenseman. He played just 14 games last year, but mostly due to a lower body injury that kept him out most of the year. Stoner is looking for a bounce back year with a new setting and new team.

Minnesota Wild: Erik Haula, F

Erik Haula is a quick winger who is known for his creative ability. Haula had 26 points in 72 games but is capable of scoring a higher amount as he gets more ice time. Haula is also a strong defender for a forward, making him a valuable asset to any line he’s thrown on. With his versatility, expect him to be moved throughout the lines all year.

Columbus Blue Jackets: William Karlsson, F

This 24 year old Swedish center has a very high ceiling and will be a major part of the Golden Knight’s future plans. He’s a quick player with strong hands who loves to have the puck on his stick. Karlsson creates a lot of scoring opportunities with his puck handling ability and speed. He scored 2 goals and had 1 assist in the 5 playoff games Columbus had this season.

Chicago Blackhawks: Trevor van Riemsdyk, D

Trevor van Riemsdyk is a young defenseman from Chicago and has had exceptional years. He had 16 points in 58 games last year with a +/- of 17. He is expected to rise to the occasion with the increased workload and should round out this defensive core. A good season for van Riemsdyk would have him making his way to the top defensive pairing by the end of the season.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury, G

The most popular pick of the draft, the Golden Knights were benefitted by the Penguins’ incredible goaltender situation. Fleury carried the Penguins through the first two rounds of the playoffs, eliminating arch rivals Columbus and Washington. Fleury will most certainly be the starting goalie for the Golden Knights, bringing his acrobatic saves and strange superstitions out West. He is one of the most respected and loved players in the league and should bring a positive presence to the locker room.

Washington Capitals: Nate Schmidt, D

Nate Schmidt has spent the last few years full time on the President’s Trophy winning Washington Capitals and has been a core part of their defensive efforts. He is a strong passer and is known to create chances from the blue line. Schmidt is only 25 and is incredibly gifted at his position. He will be a major part of the Golden Knight’s defense.


The Vegas Golden Knights laid out a strong foundation for a franchise in Wednesday’s expansion draft. The majority of the picks were under 25 years old meaning the franchise is looking to build on a young core. Big name veterans like James Neal, David Perron and Marc-Andre Fleury will be essential voices in the locker room for the young players in the Golden Knights hope to experience any kind of success in the 2017/18. Overall, Vegas had a strong draft and it will be interesting to see how all these players mesh together.