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Expansion Draft Trade Targets

Now that the Cup has been awarded, the next item on the NHL calendar is the Expansion Draft. The Golden Knights head into this monumental event beginning on July 18th in a unique position, as the only team that will not participate. Being exempt from this draft placed Vegas in a great spot to either poach players off existing teams as they navigation their protection lists or strike a deal with Seattle once the players are selected by the Kraken.

The Golden Knights pulled off 15 trades before, during, and shortly after their Expansion Draft and it’s to be expected Seattle looks to do something similar. Here are five players that could be exposed who might make sense for the Golden Knights next season and beyond.

Mason Appleton, Winnipeg Jets
$900k (1 year)

Appleton is the type of player the Golden Knights are usually after. A right-handed center with a high hockey IQ, plays in all situations, and has shown some offensive upside to his game. He scored 12 goals in 56 games with the Jets this year and did it while being one of the teams more relied upon defensive centers. He’s under $1 million against the cap this season and will be an RFA when the 2021-22 season ends. The Golden Knights have been awesome finding gems hiding down the depth charts on other teams; William Karlsson, Chandler Stephenson, Erik Haula, just to name a few. Mason Appleton could be the next one.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Chris Tierney, Ottawa Senators
$3.5m (1 year)

Recently I suggested the Golden Knights might be wise looking for a defensive option as opposed to more scoring. The idea would be to create a shutdown defensive line that could free up the top-six to do what they’re all paid to do, which is score. Tierney’s move to Ottawa hasn’t really worked out on the stat sheet (shocking), but his defensive usage numbers certainly make him an interesting candidate for VGK. He’s started almost 70% of his shifts in the defensive zone last year in Ottawa and playing under Pete DeBoer he was a 60% D-Zone start guy in San Jose in 2016-17. There’s history with the coach, he absolutely possesses the ability to score if playing with the right guys, and he’s accustomed to a defensive role. Vegas might have to bribe Ottawa or Seattle to eat a portion of that salary which could cost a nice asset but the player himself shouldn’t be too pricey on the trade market either pre or post Expansion Draft.

Jordan Greenway, Minnesota Wild
$2.1m (1 year)

You might remember Jordan Greenway from him dominating portions of games against the Golden Knights in the First Round. He and linemates, Joel Eriksson Ek and Marcus Foligno, were a handful for Vegas, especially in front of the goal. He’s a massive guy standing 6’6″ 230 pounds and one of his best skills is winning battles in front of the net. The Wild’s situation calls for them to be forced to protect both Ryan Suter and Zach Parise due to their NMCs which could make things sticky, much like they were in the Vegas Expansion Draft. The cap hit is manageable and he remains under control beyond just the one year as an RFA. It might cost about a 2nd round pick, but he’d be well worth it.

Alex Kerfoot, Toronto Maple Leafs
$3.5m (2 years)

It’s no secret the Golden Knights could use some help at center. The same reason the Golden Knights are in the situation they are in now is that the Expansion Draft is not set up to be ripe with center talent. However, Kerfoot could be the odd-man out on that loaded Maple Leafs forward group. He was relied upon much more heavily for offense in Colorado and he produced, posting back-to-back 40-point seasons with 15 and 19 goals. The numbers have dipped a bit in Toronto, but that’s to be expected playing a bit further down the lineup. No, Kerfoot is not the elite #1 center everyone would love to see VGK add, but he’d certainly be an upgrade if added to the group VGK have right now.

Andreas Johnsson, New Jersey Devils
$3.4m (2 years)

Johnsson had a miserable year in New Jersey (shocking) and suddenly looks like he’s massively overpaid. Because of it, there’s a real chance he’s left unprotected by the Devils. This is a player who scored 20 goals just two seasons ago and finished 8th in Calder Trophy voting. He’s 26-years-old, can skate like the wind, and added excellent defensive value in his best year in Toronto. Put him on the same line as Alex Tuch or even with a couple of Misfits and he’s likely to return to being a 20+ goal guy. If he’s left exposed or if the Devils want to maneuver their way around the Expansion Draft before the 18th, Vegas should absolutely be in on Johnsson.

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27 Comments

  1. Ahmed

    Terrible rule

    • Tell that to the guy who is NOT getting his $17 million check from the new team.

      • Ahmed

        Ken,

        You tell that to a team that’s been struggling for 20 or more years to win a cup but needs to give up a player

  2. THE hockey GOD

    VGK needs more Russians on the team

    too bad GG hated them.

  3. Tim

    I assume everyone is waiting to see who will be exposed by the 30 teams. Then I would also assume GM’s will be trying to make deals with Seattle. I would think our first and the New Jersey pick might be in play for the right player. The question is is there a right player? Ken’s listed some possibilities but they’ll just keep us status quo. If you’ve woken up to reality dick along make a few tweaks and end up with the same results a good team with no heart when the going gets tough. Our leadership group once again didn’t show up in prime time so thats how we roll. This year won’t be any different enjoy the games but block out the fake news.

  4. Daniel

    When do we find out who gets protected and who gets exposed by their teams?

  5. Thg – close only counts in horse shoes. They didn’t and don’t have the essential attitude for SC champions.

    • THE hockey GOD

      agreed , nor the right ice, they need rock solid hard ice, not the type you get by walking down the hall, putting the bucket under the chute, and hitting the button with all the chips falling out. Then walking back to your room, and forgetting you left the key in the room, and you have to walk all the way to the elevator , to the front lobby in your underwear and robe to get a new key.

  6. sb

    Stop wasting value cap money on mediocre talent. VGK’s are already strapped with too many unproductive bottom 5 forwards. MGT has done a terrific job building the defense and netminders at the expense of forwards. Vegas has only one problem – the lack of scoring. But it only takes one more player to get that scoring and the PP straightened out. Bring in a hi-end 1st line center – Eichel, Kopitar – who is an assist man for Stone and Pac. Move Stephenson to Tuch/Roy. Now there are three scoring lines which is what’s required to win Cups.

    • Tim

      sb like the rest of us you come up with good posts but I’ve got to disagree with you on Jack Eichel. With his neck injury, 10 million salary , and give 4 or 5 assists I can’t understand your logic. There is no logic to that post.

  7. sb

    The idea that was pushed yesterday by this site, to get rid of one of the top 6 and move Tuch up, that’s nuts! That proposal makes zero sense. VGK right now have a top 7 with Tuch on the third line. Is Vegas better off with a top 6 or top 7? A top 8 or 9 or top 6? Two scoring lines or three scoring lines? To win the Cup, a team must have three scoring lines and a PP scoring above 20%. Seven, eight and nine top forwards are always better than six.

  8. Ahmed

    Ken,

    You tell that to a team that’s been struggling for 20 or more years to win a cup but needs to give up a player

  9. Alex Reyes

    Navigate* ?

  10. Mike StG

    Ken – good suggestions Obviously you wouldn’t go for all of them, so my preference would be two (max), in this order:

    1) Appleton. Good replacement for 4C. Better offensively, reliable on D.

    2) Either Johnsson or Greenway, pref Andreas. Speed, scoring ability. LW on L3 as you suggest with Roy centering. Also in the age range Vegas could use more players. Greenway adds net front as you say. Would prefer him over AJ if they added a top 6 C like Johansen or Monahan, and moved Stevie to C3.

  11. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    Nothing left to say. Ya’ll got this shit figured out.

    I’m sure!

  12. Knows hockey

    We need finesse and grit not another faceless disappointment. Get rid of our underachievers, find young studs and stop wasting time on Glass

  13. Michael Verner Smith

    9 days until the protective list come out. 13 til the expansion draft.

  14. Tom Mccarthy

    Get rid of Deboer will help the
    KNIGHTS

  15. THE hockey GOD

    what more important in the FINALS
    PP or Center ?

    Stats show center , at least for TB. TB PP was 2 for 17 in final series.

    That shows that PK is more important than PP.

    However, throughout the entire play offs TB had a very good PP until they reached
    the PK of the HABS. So the HABS PK is what did in VGK also.

    Just pointing out the stats, and facts. JACK, don’t go all nuclear on ThG

  16. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    Bad PP!

    Good PK!

    Great 5 on 5!

    Bad Ice? (wow)

    Bad Coach?

    A new coach and a new building will fix all, right? (holy cow)

    • THE hockey GOD

      speaking of bad ice, even the NBC announcers referred to it several times in the finals with comments like “we’ll get a fresh sheet of ice to begin the period” (said more than once), and “the ice is chippy out there, you can tell because the players are having a hard time keeping the puck on their sticks”.

      I just presented the PP stats for TB and a question about what is more important in the finals a no. 1 center or a good PP ?

      And you didn’t answer the question. The stats show that all you whiners about PP , PP , PP ,PP and PP turned out not to hold back the TB with their 2 for 17 stat on PP from winning the SC. But no. 1 center was bigger factor. Their centers and top players actually BODY CHECKED , more than once, in the series. While our top players were skating like it was the ICE CAPADES out there. They played the game, ours did not. Enuf said, call ED.

      U R NOT FOCUSING DOC, stay focused, spinning out is not helpful

      are you part of the problem or part of the solution ?

      • DOC (Go Knights Go)

        What the hell you talking about?

        I’m quoting all the shit ya’ll been saying!

        And bad ice …… come on dude. Most ridiculous thing, to blame a series on, I have ever heard.

        All you are doing is just blowing your self-important hot air along to sound knowledgeable!

        • THE hockey GOD

          still avoiding the question, still not focusing.

          and BIM

          bad ice matters

          • DOC (Go Knights Go)

            I never avoid anything, that makes sense. Plus, WHAT question am I avoiding?

            In all the hockey games I played in, BOTH teams played on the SAME ice. Same conditions.

            Just anther nonsense thought, you are known for!

  17. Jake

    Vegas can use some forwards who have a “scoring touch” rather than firing the puck into the chest or glove of a goalie.

  18. THE hockey GOD

    I never avoid anything, that makes sense. Plus, WHAT question am I avoiding?

    Boy you didn’t even read the posts, twice. MY OP , that is original post asked a question, and it was not about BAD ICE. You completely spun out and ignored it.
    The question is right there in the first paragraph ! PUT YOUR GLASSES ON

    >>
    THE hockey GOD

    what more important in the FINALS
    PP or Center ?

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