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Three Years Later, Still Hard To Find Expansion Draft Mishaps

In 2000, both the Wild and Blue Jackets passed over Martin St. Louis. He went on to score 391 goals and put up over 1,000 points before being elected into the Hall of Fame. In 1993, Dominik Hasek was there for the Ducks and Panthers. He went on to win six Vezina trophies, two Hart trophies, two Stanley Cups, and become one of the best goalies ever before he was elected into the Hall.

In every Expansion Draft through the history of sports, there’s at least one. One big name that slipped through the cracks and would have changed everything for the new team that didn’t take him.

It’s been just over three years since the Golden Knights announced their expansion roster dealing with the best rules any expansion team had ever seen. They amassed tons of extra picks, selected multiple diamonds in the rough like William Karlsson and Nate Schmidt, and they even got themselves a superstar in Marc-Andre Fleury.

There were misses though. Ranked in order, here are the most influential misses from the 2017 Expansion Draft. (I ranked them in order from most to least influential.)

Colorado Avalanche
VGK Pick: Calvin Pickard (traded for Tobias Lindberg and 2018 6th Round pick which became Peter Diliberatore)
Exposed: Carl Soderberg

Since not being selected in the Expansion Draft, Soberberg has amassed 86 points in 159 games. Only four Golden Knights have reached at least 86 points in the two-year history of the team (Marchessault, Karlsson, Tuch). Soderberg also received Selke votes in 2018-19. The $4,750,000 cap hit would have been a bit tricky on the Golden Knights, but a player like Soderberg certainly seems exponentially more valuable than what Vegas got out of Pickard.

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Abnormal Team With Abnormal Goalie Situation

Remember when goalie depth was widely considered to be the best asset the Golden Knights got from the Expansion Draft? When Marc-Andre Fleury was the starter and Calvin Pickard was set to back up him. That’s changed a bit, huh?

But before we get into what’s going to happen moving forward, and a bit of what’s happened already, let’s dispell a rumor that has already popped up to this point.

This team isn’t normal. That’s kind of why theyir 6-1. Embrace it. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights are not likely to make a trade to acquire a “starting” goalie. For proof of this, think back to the timeline of the backup goalie thus far. Three days before the season began George McPhee claimed Malcolm Subban. The next day he waived Calvin Pickard in somewhat a surprising move, but just another in a long line of focusing on the future rather than the present for the Vegas front office.

That move left the Golden Knights one moment away from having to put in a 23-year-old goalie, who was waived by the Bruins, into the net for good, and they were comfortable with that because this season’s not about winning. Four games later, that moment came, as Fleury took a knee to the face and suffered his third (maybe fourth) career concussion.

They didn’t run out and make a trade. Not because they believed so much in Subban, because they still, despite the record, aren’t focused on winning this season. They simply put Subban in the net, and called up another backup (Maxime Lagace at the time). Now, Subban is hurt, and Oscar Dansk appears to be the temporary starter, and just like before, they probably aren’t going to panic and make a move.

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Calvin Pickard Comes Out Of Hiding

We couldn’t believe it either Calvin. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

While Vegas fans were getting to know the presumed back-up, and possible future goaltender, George McPhee’s continued quest for assets abruptly sent him packing. Former Golden Knight Calvin Pickard spoke with TSN’s Kristen Shilton about the trade and his affection for Las Vegas.

It was definitely a shock for me, didn’t see that one coming. I thought I was going to be there. It’s a big business and you can never control those things. I understand that and I’m definitely over it. I’m really excited to be a part of [this] and it’s nice to feel wanted here. -Calvin Pickard, Toronto Marlies goaltender

Shilton brought up the all touchy subjects. His expectations with the Golden Knights, renting a house, and the fan-selected goalie mask. Which, he still wears.

I’m still wearing the mask. I have no plans for it… it’s a pretty cool mask, so I might keep it. -Pickard

It’s not surprising to hear Pickard say he was caught off guard, we all were too. That being said, we all were a bit naive to assume he was the goalie of the future here, because as we’ve been preaching, everyone’s an asset.

It was certainly a wake-up call to the 25-year-old though. It’s a lesson for fans as well, be careful when you spend $275 for a custom jersey.

It was a tough 24 hours just kind of waiting around and playing the guessing game. I didn’t know if I was going to get picked up or not, I didn’t think so because it was right around the time when rosters were being set. [The trade] happened pretty much right away when I cleared. -Pickard

We’ll never find out why Pickard was moved. Maybe, the organization valued Malcolm Subban that much. Or team was simply seeking a mid-level prospect like Tobias Lindberg. Either way, both sides have moved on. Well, sorta.

I keep tabs on [the Golden Knights] because I know a lot of the guys there, but it’s not my worry… I’m not there anymore and my focus is here for sure. -Pickard

$1,500? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

It’s alright Calvin, Vegas fans won’t forget you. You were an OG Golden Knight. You traveled to Montana, and you let fans design your badass goalie mask. So we’ll keep tabs on you as well.

Any way you would consider selling that mask to Subban?

Let’s Talk Pickard And Waivers

George McPhee made waves this morning when he placed backup goalie Calvin Pickard on waivers, allowing all 30 other teams the chance to pick him with no compensation to the Golden Knights.

The waves really started yesterday when the Golden Knights claimed in Malcolm Subban off waivers creating a surplus in the net. Subban was described as “not quite ready to play at this level” but McPhee confirmed he would remain on the NHL roster heading into the regular season.

So let’s break this all down.

Nice mask. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

First off, Pickard is now on waivers for the next 24 hours. During that time every team has the opportunity to claim him. If one claim is made, Pickard will become a member of that NHL team. If more than one claim him, he will go to the team who finished worst in the standings last season (identical to the draft order). In the event that he is claimed, the team who makes the move will be in an identical situation to which the Golden Knights were just in with Fleury, Pickard, and Subban, and they would subsequently have to waive another goalie themselves.

Or, none of the 30 teams place a claim on Pickard and he clears waivers. Officially he is then re-assigned to the Chicago Wolves. The likelihood he plays in Chicago is low as the Golden Knights have multiple goalies there already and are clearly higher on Subban than they are Pickard. Instead, if he clears a he would probably be traded. Once Pickard clears, his trade value goes up to every team in the NHL as the risk of losing him on waivers is removed. Pickard’s new team would be able to immediately assign him to their own AHL team and plenty of time to figure out what they want to do with the two goalies currently on their roster.

But let’s get to the big question, why would McPhee do this?

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Everything About Calvin Pickard’s Mask

The Golden Knights and Calvin Pickard held a contest to design the artwork on the former Avalanche goalie’s mask. Finally, after nearly a month of anticipation, the mask was revealed at an informal practice at City National Arena.

Later in the day the Golden Knights Instagram posted some up close photos of the new headgear.

Pickard also stopped by FOX 5 to chat with intrepid hockey reporter Vince Sapienza.

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When 65’s Not Enough: Golden Knights In Shootout

One of the most ridiculous, yet admittedly exciting, parts of regular season hockey is the shootout. When the game can’t be settled by playing hockey for 60 minutes plus a five minute 3-on-3 session, we head to the charade known as the shootout.

Last season, 99 games went to shootout. A total of 713 shots were attempted and 225 were made for a scoring percentage of 31.6% (save percentage 68.4%)

First, let’s take a look at the most important player in the shootout, the goalie.

PlayerSavesAttemptsPercentage
Marc-Andre Fleury (2016-17)81553.3%
Marc-Andre Fleury (Career)19926974.0%
Calvin Pickard (2016-17)3475%
Calvin Pickard (Career)141973.7%

Career wise, the Golden Knights netminders are virtually identical and both guys are significantly better than the league average.

Things aren’t as rosy when we flip the coin though.

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Advanced Stats For VGK Dummies: Goals Saved Above Average

After four advanced stats articles breaking down the prowess of skaters, it’s time to head to the crease and help you further examine goaltenders. The next stat up in our series of Advanced Stats for VGK Dummies is GSAA or Goals Saved Above Average.

For those who are baseball fans, this is essentially WAR (wins above replacement) for goalies. For those who aren’t baseball fans, smart thinking, baseball is boring.

Usually, we first try to explain what the stat is before we get into the formula of how it’s calculated, but this one is a bit convoluted when explained that way that we’ll start by simply saying, GSAA measures individual goalies against the league average goalie. That’s all you need to know, now follow through how it’s calculated.

First, we need to calculate the league average goalie. To do so, we take every save made by every goalie in the NHL and divide it by every single shot on goal over the course of a season.

To simply the numbers let’s use a hypothetical using just one game. Say the first game of the season there are 50 total shots on net, 25 by each team. A total of five goals are scored, so 45 shots are saved. Thus, the league average is 45/50=0.900.

Now, we take an individual goalies stats. Let’s say he gave up one goal on 25 shots, meaning he saved 24.

GSAA = [Shots against x (1 – league-average save percentage)] – goals allowed

So, our goalie faced 25 shots, he allowed 1 goal, and the league average is 0.900.

[25 x (1-0.900)] – 1
[25 x 0.1] – 1
2.5-1
GSAA = 1.5

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