Whether it means making great selections and developing those players into NHL stars or trading picks/prospects for NHL-ready players, the Draft is the most important tool for a GM to consistently improve his team.
Through three seasons, the Golden Knights have made 28 selections in the Entry Draft. Four have played in NHL games but just two have appeared for the Golden Knights. That being said, Vegas used the selections of the two that didn’t, Erik Brannstrom and Nick Suzuki, to acquire Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty.
So, it’s a bit too early to judge how well they’ve drafted as a team, but there’s no questioning they’ve already been able to utilize the Entry Draft to improve to what ended up being the best roster ever constructed from an Expansion Draft. The future of the franchise will continue to hinge on the successes and failures in the Entry Draft.
During the NHL Pause, NHL.com has been conducting “NHL Redrafts” in which they go back over a previous year’s Entry Draft and reselect them using what we know now. They’ve completed eight years, from 2005 to 2012, which consists of a majority of the players playing in the league right now.
When those eight drafts occurred, George McPhee was the GM of the Washington Capitals. He had 10 1st round picks yet managed to select 13 players that wound up being 1st rounders in NHL.com’s Redrafts. Here’s the full rundown of how McPhee did…
(Click each year for a link to that Redraft)
1st Round Pick (14) – Sasha Pokulok (Not Drafted in Redraft)
1st Round Pick (4) – Nicklas Backstrom (#3 in Redraft) UP 1
1st Round Pick (23) – Semyon Varlamov (#8 in Redraft) UP 15
2nd Round Pick (34) – Michal Neuvirth (#27 in Redraft) UP 7
1st Round Pick (5) – Karl Alzner (#28 in Redraft) DOWN 23