Today’s NHL is all about parity, so much that they want the Las Vegas expansion team to hit the ice skating. You’ve probably heard that Las Vegas will be a pretty good team. The Creator believes the team will be challenging for a playoff spot right away. ESPN’s Craig Custance said NHL general managers “expect this to be the best expansion team ever put together.”
Custance told TSN that Las Vegas’ GM selection “will be the biggest hire” suggesting he would bring in George McPhee. Darren Dreger mentioned former Arizona GM Don Maloney. We’re interested in the situation with Dale Tallon. NBC’s Pierre McGuire said The Creator will have a “very significant search.”
Well whoever gets the gig, they’ll only have three days (June 17th to June 20th, 2017) to analyze 100’s of NHL players. Just imagine the Starbucks they’ll be blowing through when the management team presents the league with their roster selections on June 20th.
Obviously, they’ll have some idea of players that will likely be unprotected. However, according to TSN’s Ray Ferraro, trades will be made right up until June 17th 2017.
Does this timeline of only three days impact Las Vegas’ expansion selections? In the end probably not, but we’ll likely never know. 2017’s unprotected players will be significantly better than the crop of unprotected players from previous expansion drafts. Particularly, with goaltenders and defenseman. No matter what goalie is exposed Las Vegas will be guaranteed at least one very good netminder, and probably two. Defensively, Vegas should be solid as well. Names like Shea Weber, Paul Martin, Niklas Kronwall, and Johnny Oduya are projected for the expansion draft. Keep in mind defenseman seem to play forever.
Expectations are high for the league, The Creator, and the fans. NHL scouts are optimistic about the talent that will be available to Las Vegas. The team doesn’t need to make the postseason to be successful, but it would be exciting, and looking at the projections, one could even say it might be likely. But hey, no pressure Las Vegas, it’s not like half the media is rooting against you.