The Expansion Draft is Just Three Days Away, And With All 30 Teams Releasing Their Protection Lists, Puck Prose Brings to You Another Mock for the Vegas Golden Knights.
All thirty teams have released their protection lists, and one that caught me by surprise was the Islanders, they chose to protect only three forwards in order to protect most of their defensive crop. Now, this is a semi-smart move, and the reason I say this is because now the Isles have a ton of talent up front left for the picking and someone extremely skilled is going to go to the Vegas Golden Knights.
May 31, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA: General overall view of the T-Mobile Arena exterior and Toshiba Plaza on Las Vegas Blvd. on the Las Vegas strip. The facility will be the home of the NHL expansion franchise Vegas Golden Knights which will begin play during the 2017-18 season. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The rest of the teams followed the basic 7-3-1, and 4-4-1 plans, so here is all teams listed on who they have protected come the expansion draft. At the very bottom, I will have my picks as well as a potential depth chart.
Apr 8, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) in the second period of the game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
May 5, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) looks on against the Anaheim Ducks during the first period in game five of the second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 8, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban (76) looks on against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period in game five of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 11, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) skates with the puck against the Nashville Predators during the third period in game six of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 23, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) skates with the puck against the Washington Capitals in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Air Canada Centre. The Capitals beat the Maple Leafs 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 4, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Michael Cammalleri (13) looks to pass during the first period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports
Projected Cap Hit: $65,954,166 Project Cap Space: $7,045,834 Players Under Contract: 30/20
Now both Smith, Cammalleri, and Fleury give the Knights three players who make $5 million or more in the next few season, this definitely helps them reach the cap floor. With guys like Ericsson, Emelin, and Pouliot in the $4 million area provides a little more cushion as they make their way to the $73 million max cap hit allowed for next season. Cammalleri is the oldest at 35 years old while both Dumba and Dano are each 22 years old.
Now if the Knights look anything like this or come close to this, they are going to be extremely competitive right out of the gate and should make for a very interesting year one in the NHL. Myself being a die hard Leafs fan, I’m super excited to see what this team will look like come June 21st, and especially the jerseys, because who doesn’t love a beautiful looking sweater right?