Say what you will about all the outdoor games the NHL has planned; in Chicago, fans are clearly excited for the Blackhawks-Penguins contest at Soldier Field on March 1 (on NBC). The league announced today that the game sold out in less than 24 hours after tickets went on sale Wednesday morning.
–As you’ve probably heard, the Vegas Golden Knights put their roster together last night. The Score looks at three takeaways from their initial roster. Landing Nikita Gusev from Tampa Bay was a nice acquisition for GM George McPhee. (The Score)
–Sportsnet’s Luke Fox put together his observations of last night’s NHL Awards ceremony. Mike Babcock just can’t buy a Jack Adams Award, Connor McDavid left with a lot of hardware and actor Jacob Tremblay took a little shot at the Canucks. (Sportsnet)
–Sean McIndoe looks at the five best goalies that have ever been exposed in an expansion draft (prior to last night). People forget, but the Sabres left Dominik Hasek unprotected in the early 90s, but the Anaheim Ducks and Florida Panthers opted not to select him. (The Hockey News)
–Former hockey player Denna Laing suffered a devastating injury on the ice that left her paralyzed. Yesterday, she had the honor of presenting an award and getting a standing ovation. (NBC Sports)
–Wild forwards Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund were both up for NHL Awards yesterday, so they got to spend some time together in Vegas. The two Finns have quite the bond. “When you’re around Mikko, you’re always a little bit intimidated. I still get that feeling. No … just kidding. Mikko made it easy for me. He was a huge help. Same with [former Wild goalie Niklas] Backstrom. Mikko still is.” (Minneapolis StarTribune).
–Sportsnet did a great feature on top draft prospect Nolan Patrick. Here’s a look at how Patrick became the player he is today:
The Vegas Golden Knights suddenly have 15 defensemen.
Just don’t expect all 15 to remain Knights for long.
“We’re going to have to move some defensemen,” general manager George McPhee said Tuesday, “because we’re going to claim a bunch.”
So, who might get flipped?
A few others could be on the move, too, but we’ll have to wait to find out which ones.
Here’s the full list of d-men that officially became Vegas property today:
Trevor van Riemsdyk
The Vegas Golden Knights are taking shape.
After completing a cavalcade of trades, the Knights picked 30 players from each existing NHL team in today’s expansion draft. Vegas was obligated to select at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goalies.
The players were announced in reverse order from last season’s standings.
From the Avalanche: Calvin Pickard (G)
From the Canucks: Luca Sbisa (D)
From the Coyotes: Teemu Pulkkinen (F)
From the Devils: Jon Merrill (D)
From the Sabres: William Carrier (F)
Trade: Vegas acquires 2017 sixth-round draft pick
From the Red Wings: Tomas Nosek (F)
From the Stars: Cody Eakin (F)
From the Kings: Brayden McNabb (D)
From the Hurricanes: Connor Brickley (F)
Trade: Vegas acquires 2017 fifth-round draft pick
From the Jets: Chris Thorburn (F)
Trade: Vegas acquires 2017 first-round draft pick and 2019 third-round draft pick, Jets get 2017 first-round pick (acquired by Vegas from CBJ)
From the Flyers: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (F)
From the Lightning: Jason Garrison (D)
Trade: Vegas acquires Nikita Gusev (F), 2017 second-round pick, 2018 fourth-round pick
From the Predators: James Neal (F)
From the Flames: Deryk Engelland (D)
Signing: Engelland gets one-year contract with AAV of $1 million
From the Maple Leafs: Brendan Leipsic (F)
From the Bruins: Colin Miller (D)
From the Senators: Marc Methot (D)
From the Sharks: David Schlemko (D)
From the Blues: David Perron (F)
From the Rangers: Oscar Lindberg (F)
From the Oilers: Griffin Reinhart (D)
From the Canadiens: Alexei Emelin (D)
From the Blackhawks: Trevor van Riemsdyk (D)
From the Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury (G)
Trade: Vegas acquires second-round draft pick in 2020
From the Capitals: Nate Schmidt (D)
ROSTER BY POSITION
Trevor van Riemsdyk
On Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena, the Las Vegas Golden Knights took form.
But there’s no denying this team will really take shape at the next couple of entry drafts.
That was the big storyline this evening, as Golden Knights GM George McPhee introduced his 30-man roster, almost in the shadow of an unprecedented stockpiling of draft picks from rival clubs.
“[The objective] was to acquire prospects and surplus draft picks that can help draft our way to success,” McPhee explained. “Time will tell if we met those objectives, but we’re certainly delighted with the way that it went.
“It was a fascinating experience.”
We’ll get to see the fruits of McPhee’s labor shortly. When the dust settled this evening, he and the Golden Knights emerged with three top-15 picks in Friday’s first round of the draft — the sixth, which Vegas won in the lottery, the 13th, acquired in a trade with Winnipeg, and the 15th, acquired from the New York Islanders.
In addition to that, the Golden Knights also received:
• Buffalo’s sixth-round pick on Friday (as part of drafting William Carrier)
• Carolina’s fifth-round pick on Friday (as part of drafting Connor Brickley)
• Tampa Bay’s second-round pick on Friday, and the Bolts’ fourth-rounder in 2018 (for laying off the club’s young d-men, and taking Jason Garrison)
• The Islanders’ second-round pick in 2019 (for taking on Mikhail Grabovski, in addition to the first-rounder listed above)
• Winnipeg’s third-round pick in 2019 (for taking Chris Thorburn instead of Tobias Enstrom, and also in addition to the above deal)
• Pittsburgh’s second-round pick in 2020 (as part of drafting Marc-Andre Fleury)
Add it all up, and the Knights now have 12 picks at the upcoming draft in Chicago, with five of them coming in the first two rounds. It’ll result in a huge influx of talent and, given the relatively thin nature of the active roster, a real chance for the kids selected on Friday to have a shot at NHL minutes in the fall.
But remember — until these picks have been used, they’re assets. And that’s worth mentioning, because the league-wide trade freeze lifts at 8 a.m. ET Thursday morning.