The National Hockey League’s newest team, the Vegas Golden Knights revealed the players that they selected in the 2017 Expansion Draft on Wednesday night during the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Throughout the night, Golden Knights owner, Bill Foley and general manager, George McPhee announced which players they selected from the other 30 teams. The players were announced from the reverse order of finish from the 2016-2017 NHL season.
The first player announced to the roster of the Golden Knights was Colorado Avalanche netminder, Calvin Picard. Luca Sbisa, of the Vancouver Canuks was the next player announced by the league’s 31st franchise.
Foley and McPhee alternated the announcing of the selections throughout the night. For the third player filling out the roster, Foley announced that they chose Teemu Pulkkinen, from the Arizona Coyotes. McPhee then let the crowd at their home arena know that New Jersey Devils defenseman, Jon Merrill was a member of the Golden Knights.
It was then announced that Buffalo Sabres forward, William Carrier was chosen in the expansion draft. Vegas also received a sixth-round draft pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Foley, then slipped up and announced that they selected Tomas Nosek, from the Detroit Red Wings instead of making the announcement of the player they chose from the Dallas Stars. NBCSports analyst, Kathryn Tappen, McPhee and Foley handled the mistake diplomatically as McPhee then let everyone know that they chose Cody Eakin, from the Stars.
Nosek helped the Red Wings American Hockey League club, the Grand Rapids Griffins capture the Calder Cup this past season. McPhee drafted Eakin in 2009, when he was general manager of the Washington Capitals.
From the Florida Panthers, the Golden Knights selected forward, Jonathan Marchessault. They also acquired via trade, Reilly Smith and the Cats’ 2018 fourth-round pick. Los Angeles Kings defenseman, Brayden McNabb was the next player to join the Golden Knights.
Connor Brickley of the Carolina Hurricanes was the next player to find out he would be an original member of the Golden Knights. Vegas also acquired Carolina’s 2017 fifth-round draft pick. The Winnipeg Jets then found out they lost forward, Chris Thorburn. Winnipeg also traded their 2017 first-round pick and 2019 third-round pick in exchange for the Golden Knights’ 2017 first-round pick (obtained from the Columbus Blue Jackets).
Philadelphia Flyers forward, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was the next player announced by the Golden Knights. Vegas then selected Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman, Jason Garrison. The Golden Knights also acquired the Bolts’ 2017 second-round, 2018 fourth-round and forward, Nikita Gusev.
In addition to the New York Islanders losing goaltender, Jean-Francois Berube as the selection in the expansion draft, they sent forward, Mikhail Grabovsky, defenseman, Jake Bischoff, a 2017 first-round and a 2019 second-round to Sin City. Western Conference Champions, Nashville Predators, then found out that they lost forward James Neal to the Golden Knights.
Former Las Vegas Wranglers, of the ECHL, defenseman Deryk Engelland, was the player the Golden Knights selected from the Calgary Flames. Toronto Maple Leafs forward, Brenden Leipsic, who spent most of the past season with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL was the next name announced by the Golden Knights.
Boston Bruins defenseman, Colin Miller was the next player selected by the newest franchise. Ottawa Senators defenseman and San Jose Sharks blueliner were the next two names announced to fill out the original roster in Las Vegas.
Forwards, David Perron of the St. Louis Blues and Oscar Lindberg of the New York Rangers will be headed to Sin City as members of the original Golden Knights. Edmonton Oilers blueliner, Griffin Reinhart, who spent much of the season in the AHL with the Bakersfield Condors was the next name the Vegas management announced on the night.
The Montreal Canadiens and Anaheim Ducks each lost blueliners to the newest franchise, as Alexi Emelin and Clayton Stoner were selected by the Golden Knights. In addition to losing Stoner, the Ducks also sent defenseman, Shea Theodore to Vegas.
The Golden Knights chose forward, Erik Haula from the Minnesota Wild. The Wild also sent Vegas, Alex Tuch in exchange for a third-round draft pick in 2017 or 2018. By choosing to select William Karlsson from the Blue Jackets, the Golden Knights received the contract of David Clarkson, a 2017 first-round pick and 2019 second-round draft pick.
The Golden Knights selected defenseman, Trevor van-Riemsdyk off the Chicago Blackhawks roster. With the emergence of goaltender, Matt Murray in Pittsburgh it was almost certain that repeat Stanley Cup Champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins would be losing Marc-Andre Fleury to the 31st franchise.
After the Golden Knights announced that they selected Fleury as their goaltender, he was given a standing ovation by the crowd at T-Mobile Arena. Vegas also received a second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft from the Penguins.
Fleury told Tappen, “I did not expect that. That is really crazy. Obviously, I am really excited to get this started.”
Back-to-back President Cup winner, Washington Capitals, was the final team to lose a player to the Golden Knights. That last player announced was defenseman, Nate Schmidt.
Teams will be able to begin discussions again with the Golden Knights, starting Thursday. Rosters were frozen on Saturday, June 17 to give Vegas the opportunity to complete their selections.
With the 2017 NHL Draft on Friday and Saturday, at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, some of the selections may be flipped for picks, or other assets that may help the franchise in their success.
The Golden Knights will open their inaugural season on October 6, against the Stars at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas. The home opener will take place on October 10 as the Coyotes help them open the T-Mobile Arena.