November 9, 2016 | 11:25am ET
Everything you need to
know about the expansion draft and what to expect from Vegas Hockey.
By Hannah Spraker
ANAHEIM, CA -- Sin City gains a Sin Bin, and I could not think of a
better city for the NHL to expand to. Las Vegas is full of excitement,
energy and so many eager fans. The first expansion since 2000, and the
Vegas community has been even more receptive than expected.
The #vegaswantshockey movement swiftly turned to #vegasishockey after
the June 22 announcement by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Not only
that, but season ticket holder deposits reached nearly 15,000 after
the official announcement.
T-Mobile Arena is completed and a gorgeous venue placed right between
the New York New York and Monte Carlo hotels. Fans flocked to Las
Vegas for Frozen Fury in October to witness the Los Angeles Kings play
the Dallas Stars. The home ice of the new franchise is currently being
used for miscellaneous events and concerts.
This Las Vegas Hockey Club, owned by Bill Foley, has been having some
trademark issues when it comes to settling on a name, but we can
expect an official announcement on November 22.
The expansion draft will be here before you know it, and every hockey
fan in wondering which players will be protected and which are heading
to Sin City. Before you hit the panic button on your favorite player,
I offer a rundown of how things are expected to go down.
What are the Expansion Rules?
Contracts, no-trade clauses, no-movement clauses, drafts, experience,
it can all get confusing. Here's what you need to know:
What Vegas Needs to do:
The team must select 1 player from each of the 30 teams
Minimum of 14 forwards, 9 defensemen, and 3 goaltenders
Minimum of 20 players under contract through 2017-18
The players must account for 60-100% of the salary cap
No buyouts until after their first season is complete
What all other NHL teams must do:
These teams have one of two options:
1. Protect 7 forwards, 3 defense, and one goaltender
2. Protect 8 skaters, either forwards or defense, and one goaltender
What about players with a NMC?
Players with a no-movement clause must be protected, unless the player
agrees to waive their NMC.
These players must count against the quota.
What about young guns?
Unsigned draft picks are not eligible
Players who are in their first or second year in the NHL are not
BUT, these younger guys do not count against the quota
Who else is not eligible?
Players with possible career ending injuries. Basically players who
have missed 60+ consecutive games due to injury
Pending UFAs for 2017-2018
Fine print: ***Vegas will be given a 48 hour window to talk to pending
free agents if they are not yet signed by June 17th. IF a free agent
decides to sign with Las Vegas, then Vegas will not select a player
from the team that the free agent came from.***
So who qualifies for draft exposure from each team?
Two Forwards & 1 Defensemen, who are under contract through 2017-18
season, and played 40+ games last season OR a total of 70+ games in
the past two seasons.
One Goaltender, who is under contract through 2017-18 season OR will
be an RFA prior to the 2017-18 season.
If teams do not meet these requirements, there will be penalties,
perhaps loss of draft picks.
When is this all going down?
All teams must give their list of protected players by June 17, 2017.
Vegas must give a list of selected players by June 20, 2017.
Official announcement of the Vegas roster will follow on June 21,
Why all of the rules?
The NHL wants Vegas to be a competitive team right off the bat.
Limiting rookies and limiting UFAs is going to help Vegas have the
most competitive team possible without causing too much disruption
What about the NHL Draft?
Glad you asked... the Vegas team will go into the draft lottery with
the odds of the team that finishes 3rd to last in points.
As a result, they will have a guarantee of no lower than a No.6 pick
in the first round, and third pick each of the following rounds.
Vegas, show me what you’ve got
George McPhee, former GM of the Washington Capitals, was named the
first General Manager of this Las Vegas hockey club.
Now, to understand what kind of team we might see out of Vegas we need
to take a look into what kind of GM McPhee is, and how he builds his
McPhee spent 17 seasons as GM of the Capitals, longer than any other
GM in Capitals history. He was fired after the 2013-14 season and
spent his time since then in New York where last season he worked as
Senior Advisor of the Islanders.
Under McPhee, the Caps never won a Stanley Cup and while his methods
may have caused him his job, maybe it was just the timing.
There is no doubt that the game is changing. We hear this almost
daily. The game is getting much faster and the tempo has picked up
rapidly. We've seen Connor McDavid named the youngest Captain in NHL
history at 19. We are seeing more rookies on top lines than ever
before, and these kids are rapidly becoming core players.
The NHL has changed, and while some teams are struggling to adjust,
others are ahead of the curve, bringing an explosive game with
incredible speed, skill, and grit.
McPhee really put an emphasis on building a roster that was fast and
could out-skate the opposing team when he was with the Caps. When he
deviated from this signature style, it cost him his job. No doubt he
will be taking what he learned in his time with the Caps and applying
it to building a stellar hockey club in Las Vegas.
Expansion Draft Exposure
Keeping in mind that teams are going to bend over backwards to keep
their best players, here are some eligible players who may be
attractive for the 2017 Vegas expansion draft:
Josh Manson - Anaheim Ducks
Benoit Pouliot - Edmonton Oilers
Jack Johnson - Columbus Blue Jackets
Rick Nash - New York Rangers
Colin Wilson - Nashville Predators
Alec Martinez - Los Angeles Kings
Philipp Grubauer - Washington Capitals
Malcolm Subban - Boston Bruins
McPhee is a GM who is a win-now kind of guy. He does not want to waste
any time. While he will be looking to the expansion draft for key
players, the NHL Draft will be just as important, if not more.
McPhee has done exceptionally well when it comes to first round draft
Alexander Ovechkin - 2004
Nicklas Backstrom - 2006
Semyon Varlamov - 2006
Karl Alzner - 2007
Marcus Johansson - 2009
Evgeny Kusnetsov - 2010
Filip Forsberg - 2012
Tom Wilson - 2012
If you've been keeping up with current prospects, you know that Nolan
Patrick will be the first to go in the 2017 Draft, but who are the
other front runners? It still may be too early to tell, but for the
Kailer Yamamoto (C/LW) had 19 goals and 52 assists in 57 games with
the Spokane Chiefs
Gabriel Vilardi (C) had 17 goals and 21 assists in 62 games with the
Maxime Comtois (LW) had 26 goals and 34 assists in 62 games with the
Eeli Tolvanen (LW) had 17 goals and 21 assists in 49 games with the
Sioux City Musketeers
Callan Foote (D) had 8 goals and 28 assists with the Kelowna Rockets
As if you needed another excuse to go
If there's one thing we can expect from this team it's a competitive
lineup with a considerable amount of speed and some promising
I don't know about you, but I'm willing to bet that next season's
Vegas team will have the best home record in the NHL.
Hannah Spraker is the Anaheim Correspondent and a Columnist for The Fourth Period. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.