No team was busier at the NHL draft this weekend than the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.
Armed with 13 draft picks thanks to their dealings in the expansion draft, the Golden Knights began the process of building the real future of their team. It started on Friday night when they kept all three of their first-round selections and used them to select a pair of centers along with a puck-moving defenseman. They continued the process on Saturday with the remainder of their picks.
A quick look at the selections indicates McPhee tried to begin by building his roster down the middle by selecting six centers, two defensemen and a pair of goalies.
“We accomplished a lot of things in this draft,” McPhee said, via Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review Journal. “We got some skill, we got some size and we got some goaltending.”
Their entire draft haul ended up as follows
1 (6) — Cody Glass, center
1 (13) — Nick Suzuki, center
1 (15) — Erik Brannstrom, defense
2 (34) — Nicolas Hague, defense
2 (31) — Jake Leschyshyn, center
3 (65) — Jonas Rondbjerg, right wing
4 (96) — Maksim Zhukov, goalie
5 (127) — Lucas Elvenes, center/right wing
5 (142) — Jonathan Dugan, left wing
6 (158) — Nick Campoli, center
6 (161) — Jiri Patera, goalie
7 (189) — Ben Jones, center
Along with those picks, they also traded one of their second-round picks (No. 45 overall) to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for prospect Keegan Kolesar, a 6-2, 223-point forward that is ready to make the jump to pro hockey after averaging a point-per-game the past two seasons in the Western Hockey League.
Size did seem to be a common trend with their picks as eight of their selections were listed as 6′ or taller, including Hague, a 6-5, 207-pound defenseman.
While the inaugural Golden Knights roster will be made up primarily of players taken in the expansion draft this past week, most of them will not be with the team for more than a year or two as the organization begins to take shape.
Some of them probably will not even begin the season on the team as McPhee continues to wheel and deal.
This weekend is where the real building of the organization started.