Expansion Draft Preview: Who Goes to Vegas?

The clock is ticking, and tomorrow night, we will have the full roster of the NHL’s much anticipated, spankin’-new franchise south of the border: The Vegas Golden Knights.

But before the actual roster is revealed, us here at 6Side Sports have put together the most realistic Vegas Golden Knights roster possible through a state-of-the-art expansion draft simulation presented by CapFriendly.com. To make this roster as feasible as possible to the real-life Vegas management group, CapFriendly has already defaulted all the terms and conditions that apply to this expansion draft, including the protected players, min. cap space, max. cap space, the number of 2017-18 contracts required, etc.


Ladies and gents, I present you the 6Side’s Vegas Golden Knights’ full roster:

Vegas expansion 1Vegas expansion 2


Now, here would be the 2017-18 Vegas Golden Knights lineup, with all of the players currently signed with contracts:


James Neal – Eric Staal – Bobby Ryan

Matt Moulson – Carl Soderberg – Michael Grabner

Benoit Pouliot – Marko Dano – Reilly Smith

David Perron – Brendan Gaunce*/Seth Griffith* – Dale Weise

Healthy Scratch: Lee Stempniak          



Jack Johnson – Sami Vatanen

Thomas Hickey – Trevor van Riemsdyk

Kevin Connauton – Brayden McNabb

Healthy Scratch:  Jamie Oleksiak*



Marc- Andre Fleury

Phillip Grubauer* (backup)

Aaron Dell (minor callup)




Now that we’ve laid out next year’s potential roster for the Golden Knights, we might as well give you a one-sentence analysis of each player selected:

Bobby Ryan – A top-six forward with an elite skillset that eats a huge chunk of cap.

James Neal – A top-line winger with one crazy shot and a big frame.

Reilly Smith –  A well-rounded top-six forward with a knack for scoring goals.

Matt Moulson – A dependable power forward on the second line.

Carl Soderberg – A big, skilled centre that hasn’t yet reached his top-six ceiling.

Benoit Pouliot – An experienced scorer that can rotated around your top nine.

David Perron – He’s had his ups and downs, but it’s safe to say that Perron can consistently contribute and play both ends of the ice on the third line.

Eric Staal – After having a hell of a comeback last season, he can definitely produce as a first-line centre for Vegas next season (or at least as a second-line centre).

Lee Stempniak – Sometimes, you don’t know which Stempniak you’re going to get, but he will be in the lineup if he pushes himself at both ends of the ice.

Dale Weise – That tough-as-nails grinder you need in the bottom-six.

Michael Grabner – He gets like six breakaways a game, so if he can actually score every now and then on those six breakaways a game, Grabner will be a steal.

Marko Dano – I honestly don’t get why Winnipeg left him unprotected, but this kid has got some top-six potential with his skillset.

Brendan Gaunce – If signed, he could be a solid fourth-line centre with some previous NHL experience in that role.

Seth Griffith – If he puts his best foot forward on every shift, he won’t be juggled around by management like he was with his previous three teams.

Sami Vatanen – An elite defenseman who is still on the rise, and would probably be the biggest steal in this draft.

Jack Johnson – An offensive defenseman who can quarterback the power play and eat up minutes on the first line.

Thomas Hickey – A reliable two-way defenseman to have in the top four.

Brayden McNabb – A solid fifth or sixth man on your blueline.

Kevin Connauton – Hypothetically speaking, if Vegas signed Jamie Oleksiak as an RFA, which would probably be the case, Connauton would be D #7.

Trevor van Riemsdyk – A skilled blueliner who has yet to reach his ceiling.

Jamie Oleksiak – He started to finally show his potential last season, but for now it’s safe to say he’s a top-six D with a big frame to push bodies around.

Marc-Andre Fleury – I really don’t have to tell you how great he is.

Philipp Grubauer – He would be signed as an RFA, and if so, would be a decent backup for Vegas next season.

Aaron Dell – Got some playing time with the Sharks last season, but for now, he’s still a minor-league call-up with a potential NHL future as a full-time backup.


And there you have it! A look at a pretty decent and feasible Vegas Golden Knights roster that could hit the ice in a couple months. Now, some of you might ask: Why so many veterans? Well, let’s be honest. Despite all hockey analysts out there saying that Vegas should pick up cheap players and load up on draft picks, that is a flawed managerial approach for two reasons: 1) The first thing you want to do in your first season in a league is FILL UP SEATS! And you need ACTUAL players with talent right now to do so. 2) There is no McDavid or Matthews type players lined up in this draft, and the 2017 draft has been critiqued as one of the weaker ones coming up in the last decade.


If you want to draft your very own Vegas team, click on this link:


It’s a ton of fun to do this – if you got the time.


That’s it for now. Ciao.


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