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“Good Chance A Third Of The Roster Won’t Be There In October”

Now it’s no secret you come to because you’re sure there’s no one on the Internet more informed about the Golden Knights than us. Knowing this, you take everything we say as Gospel. You then spend much of your day preaching what you read and hear on this site to the rest of the valley spreading our wealth of knowledge and making Las Vegas a better place. But… sometimes it’s nice to hear someone much more famous than us say exactly what we’ve been spewing for the past two years to remind you of why you still come here and read this s**t these articles.

Well that someone else just so happens to be the venerable, Pierre LeBrun. In an interview with WGR 550 in Buffalo, which I highly recommend you listen to in its entirety (or at least start at 8:30 when they talk about Vegas), LeBrun spits some hot fire about the upcoming Expansion Draft. And as it turns out, especially if you listen to the Podcast, it’s stuff you’ve probably heard before.

Here’s the reality, Vegas is not necessarily going to take the best player available and that’s where everything gets skewed. The reality is, George McPhee is going to do a number of side deals. (Don’t take player X in return for an asset) -Pierre LeBrun

LeBrun wouldn’t put a number on how many he expects to come out of the Expansion Draft, but did mention on multiple occasions that McPhee’s phone has been lit up in the recent weeks and will likely stay that way for the next month.

Once you see the roster remember something else, there’s a real good chance maybe up to a third of those players you see on that list on June 21st aren’t even with Vegas come October. There’s going to be a lot of flipping I think. -LeBrun


When their picks are announced on June 21st the instant reaction on Twitter, and I can’t wait to see it, is going to be, “Is George McPhee out of his mind, why didn’t he take (player) X.” Well he didn’t take him because over the next week you’ll see something else announced. -LeBrun

He even elaborated on the little tweet rant we covered two weeks ago.

Vegas has a UFA window and there are teams that have told me they are thinking of reaching out to Vegas and saying “if you can go out and sign that guy on our behalf, we’ll give you this asset.” The reason Vegas would actually contemplate this is with a team where they say they don’t like any of the guys that are available. That’s the team where they might go to another team and accept a UFA, and flip him. -LeBrun

Finally, he made one of the coolest predictions about the Expansion Draft we’ve heard yet.

The levels and the layers to all of this is just unbelievable. I think the period from about June 15th to July 2nd could be the busiest in the 100 year history of the National Hockey League in terms of news and player movement. -LeBrun

All in all, that LeBrun guy is pretty darn smart and I’d recommend you listen to a lot of what he said here. Just remember, don’t freak out about the players the Golden Knights did or did not select, and never forget, no one’s goal is to win in 2017-18. They want to be in the playoffs in 2021 and win the Cup in 2024, and every move they make will reflect it.

So when you see the picks on June 21st, and start a tweet “@SinBinVegas Is George McPhee out of his mind. I can’t believe he…” stop, and think, Pierre said I was going to do this. Then don’t do it.


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  1. R.J.

    June 15th can’t get here fast enough. Looking forward to seeing what fireworks the VGK will cause this Summer!

    Onward Knights!

  2. 006

    Even if the Knights moved 0 players between the Expansion Draft and Opening Night, the NHL’s roster limit of 23 means that only 76% of the players selected would be on the team for the first game. Factor in the decent chance that the 1st round draft choice makes the team, and that percentage drops to 73%.

    The vast amount of player movement in June will be fun to watch (and expected), but the most interesting thing for me is to see if any Expansion Draft player ends back up on the team that exposed them. I think there might be 1 or 2 guys that this happens with.

    • This is an incredibly valid point and really makes that 1/3rd number seem kind of unreal. However, I’ll take Pierre’s prediction one step further and tell you I think it’s possible only 1/3rd is left. I could easily see 20 of the picks on June 21st not on the roster come opening night. I can really see at least 20 of the picks not being there the day after the trade deadline.

      I also agree that the player movement might be a bit overblown. There will be a bunch of deals with McPhee, but my guess is the number of deals prior isn’t going to be anything astronomical like he’s predicting.

  3. PhiSig 150

    This is exactly why I remain unconvinced the Knights are making the playoffs in 3. Most of these “assets” will be draft picks and future picks that I don’t see helping us make a playoff run in year 3. Which is fine. I still haven’t seen a game plan that makes us a playoff team that quickly.

    I still think the player movement predictions will end up being a bit overblown. It’s going to be much easier to deal with the Knights, who teams don’t view as threat, than another team that your are competing with and know you have no leverage. I just don’t understand why everyone seems to think other teams will be so so willing to do other clubs favors and go out of their way to screw over the Knights.

    • Dave H

      I dont think the moves are necessarily to screw VGK, but to save their own assets. If a team like Minnesota can flip one of their multiple defensemen who could be exposed for a 3rd round pick from another established team because VGK either doesn’t want to give better than a 3rd or, more likely, would rather draft the player or at least have them be exposed so they can draft and flip him, then Minny trades the d-man, protects their other assets and VGK is left cold. Its situations like that that will screw us in the long run, but there are only so many deals to be made so I think we will end up fairly well off. Also, remember that even if the 17-18 team is terrible, but we have dozens of extra picks, those picks can be traded for established players down the line, not just to pad the development side…

      But I agree the timeline is a too aggressive. I’ll be happy with “competitive” in 3 years. Playoffs in 5.

      • PhiSig 150

        But there’s a risk that Minn. is going to make another team more competitive and it might end up biting them in the playoffs. No one is realistically expecting (Las) Vegas to make it next year so no worries there. Also our team is going to value draft picks more than other teams as we build up our minor league system. Not to mention we still get to poach someone off their roster so it’s like Ken has pointed out in the past you’re trading young defensemen + player Knights select for 3rd round pick. So in almost all cases I have to think the better play is to make a deal with Vegas and control who we select and not trade with a team that holds all the leverage and might end up standing in your way for the Stanley Cup.

        • I’m mostly with PhiSig on this one. I don’t think you are correct in saying teams are looking to screw over one team or the other. Most don’t care about anything but making their own team better. That being said, deals with VGK seem much more streamlined than doing deals prior and then hoping your team is more equipped for the Expansion Draft. No matter how many deals you make before June 17, you are still losing a player to Vegas. So, look at a team like Anaheim. They have so many guys they are afraid to lose, but if they start shuffling guys before the draft they’ll end up losing 2 or 3 strong players rather than just bending over the proverbial Expansion Draft chair and taking their spanking losing one.

          • PhiSig 150

            I don’t necessarily mean the potential trade partner is trying to screw the other team over but why wouldn’t they try to exploit this unique situation and the ticking clock that deal needs to be completed under and try to get a good player while giving up as little as possible. Let’s use Dave’s example and say in a normal year Minn. might be able to get a 3rd round pick for whatever defensemen they’re worried about losing. So if I’m Edmonton or whoever my opening offer is a 5th rounder to see if you panic and bite. Maybe we settle at a fourth rounder instead. Why if I’m Minn. wouldn’t I just go to Vegas and agree to flip a 3rd to select a player I don’t care as much about. Or maybe even dump a salary attached to a 2nd. Vegas needs picks. Minn is win now mode and picks aren’t quite as important. Minn. keeps the player that makes their club better right now and a potential playoff match up doesn’t get stronger. Seems win-win to me.

          • Bill Agnew

            I agree you can’t deal 3 or 4 players just to lose a lesser asset to Vegas.

  4. RJ

    Lots of correct posts here that I agree with. I do think playoffs in three is possible without mortgaging our future, but it’ll require McPhee and McCrimmon to essentially be perfect and get every drop of value out of every asset they have. Ultimately, I’d be satisfied with a team that is clearly trying to win and build even if they can’t really do the win part.

    50 points year one, 70 year two, 90 year three and four. Those should be the benchmarks for Gallant’s contract in my mind.

    • Bill Agnew

      Your point totals are interesting. We don’t know the rosters but why would Vegas be much better in year 2? Vegas might spend more money in year 2 but I will take year 1
      plus 19.5 points.

  5. Willy702

    I just don’t see enough capital coming from picks past round 2. Firsts and Seconds make the NHL, everything past that is like a 10% chance of being an impact player, 20% chance of being suitable as a depth player and 70% chance of never making it or getting at best a cup of coffee in the NHL. Sure these odds go up if you are in an organization like VGK with more slots open, but it’s still not promising. So unless it’s one of these teams with a bunch of bad options to pick, no reason to take just some modest draft capital. Take guys who will play in the NHL and be open to trading them at future trade deadlines. Sure the 4th D on some teams doesn’t feel like much, but as the playoff hunt nears can always get some value from the market. If instead you take a lottery ticket 4th rounder and then agree to take someone who probably gets cut or sent to AHL, you don’t get such future opportunities for many years to come.

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