George McPhee’s reign as the most powerful man in hockey may have come to an end Wednesday morning, but the Vegas Golden Knights general manager did plenty of damage before the 10 a.m. deadline to submit his picks for the expansion draft.
The NHL’s newest franchise poached one player from each of the 30 other teams, the picks officially announced during the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas.
Through side deals McPhee acquired seven additional players and 10 drafts picks via trade and a little creativity, the Golden Knights came away with plenty of assets.
Vegas owns 12 picks in Friday’s entry draft, including three in the first round at Nos. 6, 13 and 15 overall. As far as roster anatomy goes, the Knights were required to pick no fewer than 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies with four extras. They wound up with 14 forwards, 13 defensemen and three goalies.
It’s expected that McPhee will flip at least some of the players listed on the initial roster when league-wide trading re-opens Thursday morning, so this is far from a finalized list you’ll see take the ice when Vegas opens its inaugural season Oct. 6 against the Stars.
Sure, a lot of words will be cynically spewed about how this is a relatively convenient way for the Blackhawks to get out from under the salary cap hell they currently reside in due to a series of short-sighted long-term contracts and no-movement clauses. And they wont be wrong. The timing on this couldnt be more advantageous to the only club currently over the salary cap in the NHL.