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How George McPhee Used The Expansion Draft To Yield Mark Stone And Max Pacioretty (And Still Has Assets To Burn)

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When the Expansion Draft was over and the dust had settled a bit, the Golden Knights walked away with much more than just the 30 players made up of one from each team.

By July 5th, George McPhee had “harvested” (his word, not mine) a bushel of assets that were expected to help reach the stated goal of reaching the playoffs by year three and lifting the Cup by year six. Here’s the full list of what the Golden Knights were sitting on a little over two weeks after the Expansion Draft.

Acquired
2017 1st round pick (Nick Suzuki)
2017 1st round pick (Erik Brannstrom)
2017 2nd round pick (Jake Leschyshyn)
2017 5th round pick (Jack Dugan)
2017 6th round pick (Jiri Patera)
2018 4th round pick (Paul Cotter)
2018 5th round pick (Brandon Kruse)
2019 2nd round pick
2019 2nd round pick
2019 3rd round pick
2019 3rd round pick
2019 5th round pick
2020 2nd round pick
2020 2nd round pick
Shea Theodore
Reilly Smith
Alex Tuch
Jake Bischoff
Keegan Kolesar
Dylan Ferguson
Nikita Gusev

Gave Up
2017 2nd round pick (Alexandre Texier)
2018 3rd round pick (Connor Dewar)
2018 4th round pick (Jack Gorniak)
2018 7th round pick (Riley Hughes)

Since then, things have changed a bit. The Golden Knights started out on fire and it’s never really slowed down. They won the Pacific Division, the Western Conference, and are in line to make the playoffs again in year two. Since July 5th, 2017, the Golden Knights have made nine more trades.

Acquired
Mark Stone
Max Pacioretty
Ryan Reaves
2018 4th round pick (Slava Demin)
2018 6th round pick (Peter Diliberatore)
2019 5th round pick
Tobias Lindberg
Zachary Leslie
Tye McGinn
Philip Holm

Gave Up
Brendan Leipsic
Calvin Pickard
Oscar Lindberg
Brad Hunt
Nick Suzuki (2017 1st round pick)
Erik Brannstrom (2017 1st round pick)
2018 1st round pick (Joe Veleno)
2019 2nd round pick
2019 2nd round pick
2019 6th round pick
2020 2nd round pick
2021 3rd round pick
Jimmy Oligny
(Tomas Tatar was acquired and then traded so he does not appear on either side of this list.)

Here’s the craziest part, look what happens if you add up all the picks.

 AcquiredTradedNet
1st23-1
2nd54+1
3rd220
4th21+1
5th40+4
6th21+1
7th01-1

McPhee acquired Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, Ryan Reaves, Shea Theodore, Alex Tuch, Reilly Smith and a six draft picks while giving up just Brendan Leipsic, Calvin Pickard, Oscar Lindberg, Brad Hunt, a 1st, and a 7th round pick.

Are you kidding me with this?!?

Oh yeah, Pacioretty, Stone, Theodore, Tuch, and Smith are ALL extended through at least the 2021-22 season, and the Golden Knights are not missing a single pick inside of the first five rounds in any future draft (by aggregation).

The plan was originally to pull out as many assets as physically possible from the Expansion Draft and then let them all grow into a Cup contending team. Instead, the Cup contending team was already there, so McPhee opted to use many (not all, he’s still got a net of seven picks to work with) of them to supplement the team right away.

There’s still a lot to figure out, and at this time the Golden Knights only have two of the wrong types of banners in the rafters, but anyone worrying about how much McPhee has given up to make all these trades can step off the ledge.

The NHL roster is terrific, with a chance to get better (Gusev), the depth in the prospect pool is exactly where it should be, and the Golden Knights still have extra picks in the upcoming drafts.

The Creator was screaming “dynasty” at anyone who would listen this offseason. After yesterday, I might just join him.

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11 Comments

  1. Toddster

    Why is Stastny not listed anywhere?

  2. Nick R

    Not every acquisition is going to work out on the ice, but if you can make moves where you keep coming out ahead what does it matter? GMGM and his supporting staff get paid a lot of money to think about the big picture. This is very enlightening, great job Ken and Jason. Ignore the haters, you are the best media outlet for VGK.

  3. sf

    This is incredible.

  4. suzy

    Gallant with ridiculous line combos today. He refuses to break up that marchessault line, which has been a dismal failure this season.

    and he puts Carpenter, a RW , coming off a bad concussion, on LW, and moves Tuch to the 3rd line, and benches one of the few scoring weapons the team has in Pirri, who can blast the PP one timer like no other Knight

    so I guess Ryan Carpenter is Gallant’s MVP, and Marchessault is his teacher’s pet

  5. Nick R

    Suzy, has the first line been under performing this season? If you compare it to last, well of course. This being said three of the top four points earners on the team this season (not counting Mark Stone of course) are already on this line. Yeah I think Gallant is hesitant to break up this line. I would be too. Dismal failure? Not anywhere close to being that. Karlsson is tracking to have his 2nd best season in the NHL points production wise, same with Marchessault. Reilly Smith is having an average to slightly below average season in points production and if you look at the numbers that’s mostly in the goals column, his assist numbers are tracking to be above average for the season. Remember that the rest of the NHL had never seen this line before last season and opponents are likely doing more to suppress this line’s effectiveness. The VGK power play has been bad to terrible lately and all three of these guys are missing points from the lack of PP production. While the lines that are being reported are not exactly what I expected I can see how they make sense:

    1. Stone is a very similar type player to Tuch size and attribute wise, and is already what we want Tuch to develop into. Plugging him in here makes sense.
    2. Tuch has been in a funk lately and has not looked great.
    3. Eakin has been great, maybe moving Tuch here will spark him.
    4. Having Stone on the second line could take some heat off the first.
    5. Pirri is a defensive liability, and in my opinion a bench depth player at the NHL level. Change my mind.

    I think the idea is to roll defensively sound lines with offensive threat and the least amount of shake up. All of this being said I’m sure we will see Stone on the first line at some point.

  6. the HOCKEY GOD

    “Since July 5th, 2017, the Golden Knights have made nine more trades”. then all these trades are listed showing net loss of 4 slots in the organization.

    In this trade process the knights gained three NHLers in form of #67, #61, and #73. The other players on the incoming list include Tobias Lindberg
    Zachary Leslie
    Tye McGinn
    Philip Holm
    all of which are unlikely to have an impact any time soon in NHL, if ever.

    Also on the incoming list are
    2018 4th round pick (Slava Demin)
    2018 6th round pick (Peter Diliberatore)
    high draft round picks probably having minimal NHL usefulness.

    That leaves the one unknown on the list a still outstanding 2019 5th round pick.
    Would have to be a pretty good pick to have lasting NHL impact.

    So ,in summary, since July 5th, 2017 the knights have picked up three NHL caliber players and have lost three organization slots in process (see outgoing list in article). In that outgoing list are three first round draft picks. The analysis is pretty simple : #67, #73, and #61 cost three first round draft picks (Velano, Brannwagon, and Suzuki) as well as losing four organizational slots. Conclusion: I don’t think that it’s worth it, it is far too much to give up with an organization that has a very deep hole in lack of any reasonable depth.

    I suppose the GMGM philosophy is to get no. 1 picks, talk them up, and then trade them for supposed, lasting high talent. But this is very much dependent upon luck , injuries, and probably not a good plan for the long haul.

    just saying, you have to look at the WHOLE picture.

  7. suzy

    Pirri +++plus 8– Marchessault Minus 7– that is 15 goals better ——who is the def liability?

    last season March-Karlson-Smith were combined plus 116. This season they are combined minus 13. That is 129 goals WORSE than last season. that is dismal failure in any book

    Pirri 10 goals in only 23 games. Smith 10 goals in 56 games.

    counting last season, Pirri has 13 goals in 25 games. if that is Nhl fringe, then that would make Smith far worse than fringe

    • Nick R

      You can’t just look at plus minus, such a flawed statistic. It’s not as if the team is giving up 129 more goals than they did last season, the guys on the first line just happen to be on the ice more often when a goal against occurs and are scoring fewer for. Stacking it like that is deceptive, it is redundant because you are counting the same goal in most cases 3 times. It also means they are spending a lot more time in their own end, which yes, drives me crazy. Pirri is much less often on the ice for defensive zone starts and when Turk shortens the bench he is not on the ice at all. Reilly Smith is a play maker, more than a goal scorer. Should he have about about 6-8 more goals right now, yeah. Smith has 25 assists in those same 56 games, Pirri has 5 in 23. If you are trying to say that Pirri is a better hockey player than Reilly Smith, pretty much no one is going to agree with you. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike Pirri, he has a great shot. All I am really trying to say is that compared to their career averages the first line has been…average. Last season was lights out, crazy +/- numbers and an inhuman sh% for Karlsson. This managing expectations. Give the first line 15-20 more goals at this point in the season and they are in great shape.

      If all three first liners were at their sh% from last season based on SOG right now goals would be:

      Karlsson: 30
      Marchessault: 23
      Smith: 18

      That’s 23 more combined than they have right now, adjust Karlsson’s sh% to something more realistic but excellent say 18% and that’s 16 more goals hmmmm.

  8. the HOCKEY GOD

    Perri lost his mojo, he needs to find it again.

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