UPDATE: It has been confirmed that the Golden Knights do NOT have a guaranteed place in the lottery. This rule was removed prior to the final Expansion Draft rules being submitted.
As the big day comes closer info about the Expansion Draft and Las Vegas’ positioning in the 2017 Entry Draft continue to leak at an alarming rate.
Two stellar NHL reporters, James Mirtle and Elliotte Friedman, were able to unearth a bunch of news which you can find here and here. Below is a little breakdown of each rule and how I think it’ll affect our brand new team. (Ranked from best for Las Vegas to worst)
- Same Entry Draft lottery odds as the team that finishes third to last in the NHL (approximately 11.5% to get first pick) and cannot pick later than 6th overall
- Giddy Up! Fighter’s chance to pick first and a very strong chance to pick top 3… we’ll take it. The odds of the team picking in the top 4 should be close to 70%.
- Guaranteed spot in the draft lottery for four years
- Oh, hell yes! Even if the new team wins the Stanley Cup, they’ll be in the lottery the following year with a chance (while very slim) to get up into the top three selections. More importantly, this completely takes away any thought that the team may tank the first few years in order to move up in the draft. Make the playoffs or not, Vegas will have some ping pong balls that could bring the next superstar.
- Note: We are questioning this rule a bit. Friedman is the only source on it, and while we normally believe him, it just feels too good to be true. If/when we get more info on it, there will be a full post dedicated to it.
- Expansion team can trade any player to any team except their originating team until January 1st, 2018.
- Wish they didn’t have the caveat about sending players back, but it was to be expected. Otherwise, this is a plus.
- Final value of the 30 players selected in the Expansion Draft must exceed 60% of the salary cap and cannot exceed 100%.
- The floor can be a slight problem as it will only leave a max of 40% of the cap available to work with after the Expansion Draft. They’ll be forced to take on a few bigger contracts to ensure they get to the number and will not be able to draft as many young players to stash in the minors. The fact that the team is allowed to hit 100% of the cap is a plus however. There have been salary ceilings for expansion teams before, it’s nice we won’t have to deal with that. All in all, rate this one as bad for the long term of the team, good for short term success.
- Expansion team will be required to select at least three goalies, nine defensemen, and 14 forwards.
- This probably would have happened anyway, but I’ll mark it as a slight negative, because any parameter that forces the team to do something is bad.
- Exceptions for injury may be granted for players with NMC’s
- Hopefully there aren’t too many of these. Vegas wants every player with an NMC to be forced to be protected.
- Teams can ask players to waive their NMC
- Also not good. Can’t see too many players doing this (why sign a contract with an NMC if you don’t want it), but there are scenarios where it may pop up.
- No buyouts until the end of the first expansion season
- Means Las Vegas will be even more hesitant to take on some bad contracts. This one isn’t good for us, but it shouldn’t be too debilitating.
All in all, it’s mostly good news for Las Vegas, but we are starting to notice some restrictions popping up.
In my opinion, the most important rule has yet to be addressed, expansion trades. Any restrictions on expansion trades will be devastating to the long term health of the Las Vegas franchise. Coming into the league alone will give the new GM hundreds of players to make deals with.
Think about it this way, any player who will not be protected can essentially be viewed as Las Vegas property until the player is not selected at the Expansion Draft. If a player is planned to be exposed, the Vegas GM will be able to make a deal, in exchange for future picks, as a promise not to pick him. If done right, and if the league doesn’t restrict the deals, Las Vegas could wind up with a boat load of picks over the next few drafts. The more picks you have, the more maneuvering that can take place at subsequent drafts. (I’ll have much more about this topic as we learn more)
Is it June 22nd yet!?! I’m ready to go baby!