Vegas Golden Knights: Mock Draft and Roster Projection, Final Edition

Vegas Golden Knights: The Playoffs are Almost Over! And With 12 days Left Until the Expansion Draft, We Bring You A Whole New Mock!

Welcome to a brand new Vegas Golden Knights mock draft, the season has ended and the playoffs are nearing completion meaning a new perspective on exposed players is now available. So who would the following 30 teams protect and leave exposed? Well, you’ll have to look to find out.

May 16, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Anaheim Ducks right wing Jakob Silfverberg (33) reacts after a goal by Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59) during the third period in game three of the Western Conference Final of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

In this mock I’m going to be using two protection plans, the 7-3-1 scheme which covers seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie. And a 4-4-1 scheme which covers four forwards, four defensemen and one goalie. I also have a few players waiving their NMC’s (no movement clause) in order for teams to protect someone younger and more influential players on the team. At the bottom, I’m going to post the full roster and possible depth chart.

Anaheim Ducks:
Protection Plan: 4-4-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Jakob Silfverberg

Protected Players:
Corey Perry (NMC), Ryan Getzlaf (NMC), Ryan Kesler (NMC), Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen, Cam Fowler, Kevin Bieksa (NMC), John Gibson

Best Exposed Players:
Jakob Silfverberg, Andrew Cogliano, Antoine Vermette, Simon Despres, Clayton Stoner, Josh Manson, Jonathan Bernier, Dustin Tokarski, Logan Shaw, Emerson Etem, Patrick Eaves.

Anaheim is in a tough position moving forward, whichever plan they go with they are going to lose someone good in my 4-4-1 plan I atleast having them save four important defensemen and offenseman. With the condition pick some like Josh Manson can be protected.

Arizona Coyotes:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Louis Domingue

Protected Players:
Tobias Rieder, Anthony Duclair, Josh Jooris, Jordan Martinook, Teemu Pulkkinen, Peter Holland, Alexander Burmistrov, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Goligoski (NMC), Connor Murphy, Mike Smith

Best Exposed Players:
Jamie McGinn, Brad Richardson, Shane Doan, Jeremy Morin, Luke Schenn, Kevin Connauton, Zbynek Michalek, Jarred Tinordi, Jamie McBain, Louis Domingue, Radim Vrbata

Luckily for the Coyotes the bulk of their youth and success is automatically exempt. So if the Knights want to target someone with long term upside, their best bet is Louis Domingue.

Boston Bruins:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Matt Beleskey

Protected Players:
David Krejci (NMC), Patrice Bergeron (NMC), Brad Marchand, David Backes, Jimmy Hayes, Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak, Torey Krug, Kevan Miller, Colin Miller, Tuukka Rask

Best Exposed Players:
Matt Beleskey, Riley Nash, Tim Schaller, Drew Stafford, Adam McQuaid, Zdeno Chara (NMC Waived), Joe Morrow, John-Michael Liles, Anton Khudobin, Malcolm Subban

With the imminent retirement of Zdeno Chara coming, the Bruins would be able to protect three solid defenseman and their top seven forwards. They could use a conditional pick to protect Malcolm Subban though, which leaves Vegas open to choosing someone like Matt Beleskey.

Buffalo Sabres:
Protection Plan: 4-4-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Nicolas Deslauriers

Protected Players:
Ryan O’Reilly, Kyle Okposo (NMC), Evander Kane, Tyler Ennis, Rasmus Ristolainen, Zach Bogosian, Jake McCabe, Dmitry Kulikov, Robin Lehner

Best Exposed Players:
Nicolas Deslauriers, Matt Moulson, Marcus Foligno, Johan Larsson, Zemgus Girgensons, Brian Gionta, Josh Gorges, Cody Franson, Anders Nilsson, Linus Ullmark

Buffalo has a lot of defenseman that need protection since it’s their biggest weakness, so the only plan would be a 4-4-1 scheme. This plan though would still leave some quality forwards on the table, which is okay since the team has a lot of young forwards ready to take over. Now the best selection due to cap space would be someone like Nicolas Deslauriers.

Calgary Flames:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Matt Bartkowski

Protected Players:
Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Troy Brouwer, Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett, Micheal Ferland, Curtis Lazar, Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, T.J. Brodie, Brian Elliott

Best Exposed Players:
Michael Frolik, Matt Stajan, Lance Bouma, Hunter Shinkaruk, Freddie Hamilton, Kris Versteeg, Matt Bartkowski, Tyler Wotherspoon, Dennis Wideman, Deryk Engelland, Michael Stone, Chad Johnson, Brandon Bollig, Alex Chiasson

Vegas only gets one pick which means a lot of the Flames exposed players won’t be going anywhere so there isn’t much to worry about, but out of them all the best choice is Matt Bartkowski who has a low cap hit and is still quite useful.

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Apr 12, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Cam Atkinson (13) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in game one of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 3-1.Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Hurricanes:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Cam Ward

Protected Players:
Jordan Staal (NMC), Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask, Elias Lindholm, Joakim Nordstrom, Teuvo Teravainen, Justin Faulk, Klas Dahlbeck, Ryan Murphy, Scott Darling, Andrej Nestrasil

Best Exposed Players:
Lee Stempniak, Jay McClement, Cam Ward, Eddie Lack, Philip Di Giuseppe, Connor Brickley, Brock McGinn

When Carolina acquired Scott Darling from the Blackhawks this left options open regarding Eddie Lack and Cam Ward. Now with Carolina and cap space, Cam Ward is the best option moving forward for the Knights and this also gives them a solid A/B starter.

Chicago Blackhawks:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Trevor van Riemsdyk

Protected Players:
Patrick Kane (NMC), Jonathan Toews (NMC), Marian Hossa (NMC), Artem Anisimov (NMC), Marcus Kruger, Richard Panik, Ryan Hartman, Brent Seabrook (NMC), Duncan Keith (NMC), Niklas Hjalmarsson (NMC), Corey Crawford (NMC)

Best Exposed Players:
Jordin Tootoo, Andrew Desjardins, Tomas Jurco, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Brian Campbell, Johnny Oduya, Ville Pokka, Viktor Svedberg, Michael Latta, Dennis Rasmussen

Chicago has a ton of players with NMC’s but on the flip side they have the option to replace whoever the Knights pick from within, and Vegas’ best option is Trevor van Riemsdyk.

Colorado Avalanche:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Blake Comeau

Protected Players:
Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Carl Soderberg, Erik Johnson (NMC), Tyson Barrie, Nikita Zadorov, Calvin Pickard, Sven Andrighetto, Matt Nieto, Mikhail Grigorenko

Best Exposed Players:
Joe Colborne, Blake Comeau, Rocco Grimaldi, Rene Bourque, Francois Beauchemin (NMC Waived), Mark Barberio, Cody Goloubef, Fedor Tyutin, Patrick Wiercioch, Duncan Siemens, Eric Gelinas, Semyon Varlamov

If Francois Beauchemin waives his NMC the Aves can protect three promising defenseman. Which leaves the Knights with a solid choice in depth winger Blake Comeau.

Columbus Blue Jackets:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Cam Atkinson

Protected Players:
Brandon Saad, Brandon Dubinsky (NMC), Nick Foligno (NMC), Boone Jenner, Matt Calvert, William Karlsson, Alexander Wennberg, Seth Jones, Jack Johnson, David Savard, Sergei Bobrovsky (NMC)

Best Exposed Players:
Scott Hartnell (NMC Waived), Cam Atkinson, Lukas Sedlak, Ryan Murray, Scott Harrington, Joonas Korpisalo, Anton Forsberg, Oscar Dansk, Josh Anderson, Sam Gagner, Daniel Zaar

Columbus had a terrific year that seen a lot of the young players rise to the occasion, one player they would be willing to let go of would be Cam Atkinson since they’ll likely protect Lukas Sedlak with a conditional pick.

Dallas Stars:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Antoine Roussel

Protected Players:
Jamie Benn (NMC), Jason Spezza (NMC), Tyler Seguin, Cody Eakin, John Klingberg, Stephen Johns, Esa Lindell, Ben Bishop (NMC), Brett Ritchie, Mark McNeill, Radek Faksa

Best Exposed Players:
Antoine Roussel, Curtis McKenzie, Jiri Hudler, Patrick Sharp, Ales Hemsky, Dan Hamhuis, Greg Pateryn, Patrik Nemeth, Jamie Oleksiak, Kari Lehtonen, Antti Niemi, Travis Morin, Matej Stransky, Valeri Nichushkin

Ben Bishop was recently acquired which means one of the two past goaltenders is on their way out, now Dallas could likely use a pick to protect Lehtonen to be a backup since Niemi isn’t what he used to be. So with that in mind the best player the Knights could take from Dallas is Antoine Roussel.

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Mar 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon (46) against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Red Wings:
Protection Plan: 4-4-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Riley Sheahan

Protected Players:
Henrik Zetterberg, Frans Nielsen (NMC), Gustav Nyquist, Anthony Mantha, Danny DeKeyser, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Nick Jensen, Petr Mrazek

Best Exposed Players:
Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, Riley Sheahan, Drew Miller, Tomas Tatar, Mike Green, Ryan Sproul, Dylan McIlrath, Jimmy Howard, Jared Coreau, Andreas Athanasiou

With the rise of Nick Jensen this season the Red Wings have to go with a 4-4-1 plan. Now with all of the solid players the Red Wings still have left over the Knights can only pick one player and there best choice is Riley Sheahan who is still young with top six potential.

Edmonton Oilers:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Mark Fayne

Protected Players:
Jordan Eberle, Milan Lucic (NMC), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Mark Letestu, Leon Draisaitl, David Desharnais, Andrej Sekera (NMC), Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, Cam Talbot (NMC), Zack Kassian

Best Exposed Players:
Benoit Pouliot, Patrick Maroon, Iiro Pakarinen, Tyler Pitlick, Matt Hendricks, Mark Fayne, Griffin Reinhart, Kris Russell, Laurent Brossoit

Edmonton is another team who had a surprising year, especially in the playoffs. This put a huge target on Mark Letestu which means the Oilers have to protect him, but in doing so this leaves someone decent exposed. Now due to cap reasons the best choice for the Knights would be Mark Fayne.

Florida Panthers:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Jason Demers

Protected Players:
Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Reilly Smith, Vincent Trocheck, Nick Bjugstad, Colton Sceviour, Jonathan Marchessault, Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle (NMC), Alex Petrovic, James Reimer

Best Exposed Players:
Jussi Jokinen, Derek MacKenzie, Jason Demers, Mark Pysyk, Jakub Kindl, Roberto Luongo, Thomas Vanek, Jaromir Jagr

Some of the defenseman the Panthers picked up via free agency didn’t quite step up to the plate but are ready for a rebound next season this makes Jason Demers intriguing to the Knights making him a solid choice.

Los Angeles Kings:
Protection Plan: 4-4-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Brayden McNabb

Protected Players:
Anze Kopitar (NMC), Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, Kyle Clifford, Drew Doughty, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin, Derek Forbort, Jonathan Quick

Best Exposed Players:
Dustin Brown, Marian Gaborik, Trevor Lewis, Jordan Nolan, Nic Dowd, Nick Shore, Jarome Iginla, Brayden McNabb, Jeff Zatkoff, Jack Campbell, Tanner Pearson, Teddy Purcell

Los Angeles had some solid defenseman step up for the team last season which leaves them with a 4-4-1 plan. Now out of Pearson, Purcell, Brown, Nolan, and Shore one will likely be saved with a conditional pick which leaves defenseman Brayden McNabb or one of those five open for the pickings.

Minnesota Wild:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Jared Spurgeon

Protected Players:
Zach Parise (NMC), Mikko Koivu (NMC), Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker, Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Suter (NMC), Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella, Devan Dubnyk, Erik Haula, Mikael Granlund

Best Exposed Players:
Jason Pominville (NMC Waived), Eric Staal, Chris Stewart, Tyler Graovac, Jared Spurgeon, Matt Dumba, Gustav Olofsson, Christian Folin, Darcy Kuemper, Martin Hanzal

Minnesota is in a very tough position, they impressed all year and had great scoring from every single line. Now the question is who do they protect? A 7-3-1 plan is the best idea in my opinion since a lot of that scoring is just going to get better. However, this means a solid defenseman, or two, will be left exposed. And which one would fit the Knights? I would have to say Spurgeon he’s the most skilled out of him and Dumba with the most upside.

vegas golden knights

Apr 30, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators center Calle Jarnkrok (19) looks to pass the puck against the St. Louis Blues in game three of the second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Montreal Canadiens:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Brandon Davidson

Protected Players:
Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty, Andrew Shaw, Brendan Gallagher, Phillip Danault, Shea Weber, Jeff Petry (NMC), Alexei Emelin, Carey Price (NMC), Stefan Matteau, Alex Galchenyuk

Best Exposed Players:
Brandon Davidson, Jordie Benn, Zach Redmond, Nathan Beaulieu, Nikita Nesterov, Andrei Markov, Al Montoya, Daniel Carr, Charles Hudon, Dwight King, Alexander Radulov

Luckily for the Canadiens the best exposed players are mostly fringe players that would be hard to move in the first place. This is good news because whoever they lose can easily be replaced, and I have the Knights selecting defenseman Brandon Davidson who is cheap and has upside.

Nashville Predators:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Calle Jarnkrok

Protected Players:
Filip Forsberg, James Neal, Colton Sissons, Austin Watson, Pontus Aberg, Viktor Arvidsson, Ryan Johansen, P.K. Subban, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Pekka Rinne (NMC)

Best Exposed Players:
Craig Smith, Colin Wilson, Calle Jarnkrok, Miikka Salomaki, Mike Ribeiro, Mike Fisher, Mattias Ekholm, Matt Irwin, Anthony Bitetto, Yannick Weber, P.A. Parenteau, Vernon Fiddler

Nashville is another team that’s in quite the predicament, they’ve made it to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in franchise history and a lot of that has to do with the talent spread throughout their four lines. Now if you see who I have protected and what sort of scheme I used in order to do so you would also see five solid players are unfortunately exposed, now with a conditional pick the Preds could save defenseman Mattias Ekholm which would leave the Knights with a solid player in Jarnkrok.

New Jersey Devils:
Protection Plan: 4-4-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Dalton Prout

Protected Players:
Taylor Hall, Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, Adam Henrique, Andy Greene, John Moore, Jon Merrill, Damon Severson, Cory Schneider

Best Exposed Players:
Kyle Palmieri, Devante Smith-Pelly. Jacob Josefson, Beau Bennett, Ben Lovejoy, Keith Kinkaid

Another team that doesn’t really have much to worry about in regards of who to choose and what plan to go with since all of their exposed guys are fringe players anyways. This leaves the team with a solid 4-4-1 plan to protect what’s important at the moment leaving the Knights with a depth pick in Dalton Prout.

New York Islanders:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Anders Lee

Protected Players:
John Tavares (NMC), Andrew Ladd (NMC), Casey Cizikas, Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome, Shane Prince, Johnny Boychuk (NMC), Nick Leddy, Ryan Pulock, Thomas Greiss

Best Exposed Players:
Nikolai Kulemin, Anders Lee, Cal Clutterbuck, Alan Quine, Jason Chimera, Travis Hamonic, Thomas Hickey, Dennis Seidenberg, Adam Pelech, Calvin de Haan, Jaroslav Halak, Jean-Francois Berube

Same with New Jersey, the Islanders are in much of the same position. The only players that pose a risk of being taken are Anders Lee, Jason Chimera, Alan Quine, Travis Hamonic, and Calvin de Haan. So now it comes down to who the Islanders would keep with a pick and my money is on a defenseman since they have the offensive pieces in the AHL. Which leaves Anders Lee a solid choice.

New York Rangers:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Kevin Hayes

Protected Players:
Rick Nash (NMC), Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello, J.T. Miller, Oscar Lindberg, Mika Zibanejad, Marc Staal (NMC), Dan Girardi (NMC), Ryan McDonagh, Henrik Lundqvist (NMC)

Best Exposed Players:
Kevin Hayes, Michael Grabner, Jesper Fast, Matt Puempel, Kevin Klein, Nick Holden, Steven Kampfer, Antti Raanta, Brandon Pirri

After a post-season that was rather mediocre, whoever gets chosen by the Knights isn’t that big of a deal for a team that will be doing a little shuffling around anyways. So with who is left over, the best option for Vegas is Kevin Hayes.

vegas golden knights

May 28, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) in goal at Penguins practice during media day before the start of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Ottawa Senators:
Protection Plan: 4-4-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Zack Smith

Protected Players:
Bobby Ryan, Derick Brassard, Mark Stone, Kyle Turris, Dion Phaneuf (NMC), Erik Karlsson, Marc Methot, Cody Ceci, Craig Anderson

Best Exposed Players:
Mike Hoffman, Clarke MacArthur, Zack Smith, Alexandre Burrows, Ryan Dzingel, Tommy Wingels, Chris Neil, Mark Borowiecki, Chris Wideman, Fredrik Claesson, Jyrki Jokipakka, Andrew Hammond, Chris Driedger, Mike Condon, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Viktor Stalberg

Another team who did surprisingly well in the post-season are the Senators and with a 4-4-1 plan they can hold onto their four biggest assets from front to back. However, if you see the exposed list you’ll notice some guys that are good and up for grabs. But if the Sens were to use a pick on anyone it would either be Mike Hoffman or Jean-Gabriel Pageau. And for the Knights this means grabbing up center Zack Smith.

Philadelphia Flyers:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Radko Gudas

Protected Players:
Claude Giroux (NMC), Jakub Voracek, Brayden Schenn, Valtteri Filppula (NMC), Sean Couturier, Wayne Simmonds, Nick Cousins, Brandon Manning, Shayne Gostisbehere, Michael Del Zotto, Steve Mason

Best Exposed Players:
Matt Read, Dale Weise, Michael Raffl, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Andrew MacDonald, Radko Gudas, Michal Neuvirth, Anthony Stolarz, Boyd Gordon, Jordan Weal, Scott Laughton

Good thing for Philly is they don’t have a lot of quality left exposed after a 7-3-1 plan. And with this year’s past Worlds where Gudas punched his captain in the face (Giroux), it wouldn’t be too surprising if he was moved anyways. So why not let him go to Vegas?

Pittsburgh Penguins:
Protection Plan: 4-4-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Marc-Andre Fleury

Protected Players:
Evgeni Malkin (NMC), Sidney Crosby (NMC), Phil Kessel (NMC), Bryan Rust, Kris Letang (NMC), Olli Maatta, Trevor Daley, Justin Schultz, Matthew Murray

Best Exposed Players:
Patric Hornqvist, Carl Hagelin, Tom Kuhnhackl, Scott Wilson, Matt Cullen, Chris Kunitz, Ian Cole, Derrick Pouliot, Mark Streit, Ron Hainsey, Frank Corrado, Marc-Andre Fleury (NMC Waived), Oskar Sundqvist, Nick Bonino, Brian Dumoulin

Regardless of plan or how the expansion goes or if the Pens win the Cup this year or not, they’re gonna have to rebuild which means some pretty decent players are left exposed or would have to be moved anyways. Now with Matt Murray once again pushing Fleury out of the net showing it’s his time in the igloo, Fleury could re-ignite himself as the Knights starter.

San Jose Sharks:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Melker Karlsson

Protected Players:
Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Mikkel Boedker, Joel Ward, Tomas Hertl, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Brent Burns, Paul Martin, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Martin Jones

Best Exposed Players:
Melker Karlsson, Jannik Hansen, Micheal Haley, Chris Tierney, Justin Braun, Brenden Dillon, David Schlemko, Aaron Dell

Great news for the Sharks is that after a 7-3-1 plan, they only have three guys worth picking up. Now Haley or Tierney will likely be protected with a conditional pick meaning Melker Karlsson is up for grabs.

St. Louis Blues:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Robert Bortuzzo

Protected Players:
Vladimir Tarasenko, Paul Stastny, Alex Steen, Jaden Schwartz. Patrik Berglund, David Perron, Dmitrij Jaskin, Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester, Joel Edmundson, Jake Allen

Best Exposed Players:
Jori Lehtera, Vladimir Sobotka, Ryan Reaves, Kyle Brodziak, Carl Gunnarsson, Robert Bortuzzo, Carter Hutton, Ty Rattie, Scottie Upshall, Nail Yakupov, Magus Paajarvi, Jordan Caron

Yet another team that doesn’t have much to worry about after they choose their plan. When you look at the leftover exposed list you can see there isn’t much to choose from, but rules are rules and the Knights must choose. So this is why I have them taking sixth/seventh defenseman Robert Bortuzzo.

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Mar 30, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning right wing J.T. Brown (23) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Detroit Red Wings during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: J.T. Brown

Protected Players:
Steven Stamkos (NMC), Ryan Callahan (NMC), Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Jonathan Drouin, Victor Hedman (NMC), Anton Stralman, Andrej Sustr, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson

Best Exposed Players:
Alex Killorn, Erik Condra, J.T. Brown, Cedric Paquette, Jason Garrison, Braydon Coburn, Slater Koekkoek, Peter Budaj, Kristers Gudlevskis

Out of Tampa’s left over choices Alex Killorn, Cedric Paquette, Slater Koekkoek, and J.T. Brown hold the most intrigue. Now if Vegas wants someone young and at a low cost who can fill a bottom six role, J.T. Brown is that guy.

Toronto Maple Leafs:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Martin Marincin

Protected Players:
Nazem Kadri, James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Leo Komarov, Matt Martin, Ben Smith, Connor Brown, Morgan Rielly, Jake Gardiner, Connor Carrick, Frederik Andersen

Best Exposed Players:
Joffrey Lupul, Eric Fehr, Kerby Rychel, Josh Leivo, Milan Michalek, Brendan Leipsic, Brooks Laich, Alexey Marchenko, Martin Marincin, Matt Hunwick, Steve Oleksy, Roman Polak, Antoine Bibeau, Garret Sparks, Seth Griffith, Brian Boyle

Toronto is in a tricky position with how much youth is left exposed in regards to the future with guys like Leipsic, Rychel, Leivo, Marincin, Marchenko, Bibeau, and Sparks. The question is will Vegas take one of these AHLers who has yet to stick with the big club or take someone who can help the team. My odds are on someone who can help the team, and while he’s been in the press box a lot for Toronto, Marincin is still a potential six or seven d-man.

Vancouver Canucks:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Sven Baertschi

Protected Players:
Henrik Sedin (NMC), Daniel Sedin (NMC), Loui Eriksson (NMC), Brandon Sutter, Derek Dorsett, Markus Granlund, Bo Horvat, Alexander Edler, Chris Tanev, Erik Gudbranson, Ryan Miller

Best Exposed Players:
Sven Baertschi, Anton Rodin, Jack Skille, Luca Sbisa, Jacob Markstrom, Richard Bachman, Brendan Gaunce, Michael Chaput

Like quite a few other teams on this list, Vancouver doesn’t have much in terms of who to take after a solid 7-3-1 plan. Now Markstrom has played solid and is likely to be protected with a conditional draft choice, so I have the Knights selecting depth winger Sven Baertschi.

Washington Capitals:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Taylor Chorney

Protected Players:
Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, Lars Eller, Jay Beagle, Andre Burakovsky, Evgeny Kuznetsov, John Carlson, Karl Alzner, Dmitry Orlov, Braden Holtby

Best Exposed Players:
Tom Wilson, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, Kevin Shattenkirk, Philipp Grubauer, Justin Williams, Daniel Winnik, T.J. Oshie, Brett Connolly

The players that bring the most worry of being taken when it comes to Washington is Tom Wilson, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, T.J. Oshie, and Philipp Grubauer. Now out of all of those guys I would use a pick on Oshie since the Caps need him, this leaves Vegas with a top nine forward or a top four defenseman if they make other moves and provide the cap space. However, if they cannot do so depth defenseman Taylor Chorney would work, he’s cheap and reliable.

Winnipeg Jets:
Protection Plan: 7-3-1
Vegas Draft Pick: Michael Hutchinson

Protected Players:
Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little, Mathieu Perreault, Joel Armia, Marko Dano, Dustin Byfuglien (NMC), Tyler Myers, Jacob Trouba, Connor Hellebuyck, Adam Lowry

Best Exposed Players:
Shawn Matthias, Andrew Copp, Anthony Peluso, Quinton Howden, Toby Enstrom (NMC Waived), Mark Stuart, Paul Postma, Michael Hutchinson, Ondrej Pavelec, J.C. Lipon

Winnipeg is yet another team that doesn’t have much to lose after they use the 7-3-1 plan. So who should Vegas take with what’s left over? Michael Hutchinson, let him develop in Chicago until Ward retires.

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May 21, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Ottawa Senators center Zack Smith (15) takes the ice for warm-ups before playing the Pittsburgh Penguins in game five of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Cap Hit: $72,250,000
Projected Cap Space: $750,000
Players Under Contract: 30/20

Roster:
Forwards:
Matt Beleskey, Jakob Silfverberg, Anders Lee, Cam Atkinson, Zack Smith, Kevin Hayes, Blake Comeau, Riley Sheahan, Calle Jarnkrok, Antoine Roussel, Melker Karlsson, Sven Baertschi, J.T. Brown, Nicolas Deslauriers.

Defense:
Jared Spurgeon, Jason Demers, Mark Fayne, Radko Gudas, Brayden McNabb, Dalton Prout, Brandon Davidson, Martin Marincin, Robert Bortuzzo, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Taylor Chorney, Matt Bartkowski.

Goalies:
Marc-Andre Fleury, Cam Ward, Michael Hutchinson, Louis Domingue.

Depth Chart

Matt BeleskeyZack SmithJakob Silfverberg
Anders LeeKevin HayesCam Atkinson
Blake ComeauCalle JarnkrokMelker Karlsson
Antoine RousselRiley SheahanJ.T. Brown

Jared SpurgeonJason Demers
Radko GudasTrevor van Riemsdyk
Dalton ProutRobert Bortuzzo

Marc-Andre Fleury
Cam Ward

Chicago Wolves

Sven BaertschiNicolas Deslauriers

Mark FayneBrayden McNabb
Brandon DavidsonMartin Marincin
Taylor ChorneyMatt Bartkowski

Michael Hutchinson
Louis Domingue

The Golden Knights are going to be competitive right out of the gate which is good because they won’t be getting thrashed game in and game out. But on the opposite side of that coin, isn’t better to build a team through hard work rather than picking players off other teams? Either way, next season is going to be a good one for the Knights.

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