Since 1991 there have been six expansion drafts ushering in nine new teams to the NHL. Three such drafts had a single team drafting their players from the available pool like Las Vegas is set to do beginning on June 17th. Four of those nine general managers, and one (Waddell) who drafted in the similar situation as Vegas faces, offered up some advice to George McPhee via NHL.com.
In our case, we wanted hardworking, high-character people. You have to score goals, but scoring wasn’t going to be a high priority at the start, because no NHL team is going to give you their scorers in an expansion draft, so you build from hard workers and character and team players. -Bobby Clarke, Florida Panthers first GM
We were looking for players with good character and hardworking players. You are trying to create the culture, or at least start it off with a good footing. I don’t think there was anyone that year that questioned the work ethic of the Ottawa Senators. -Mel Bridgman, Ottawa Senators first GM
Patience always is important. There’s no reason to go out and spend millions of dollars on older players because you have to be honest and truthful about the first few years, which are going to be tough years. The patience of not getting caught up in these bidding wars that occur is critical. -Don Waddell, Atlanta Thrashers first GM
I get a sense that there’s a rush to be a playoff team, and in my opinion, that will hurt them in the end. There are no shortcuts in the NHL. My advice for them would be to hit singles instead of trying to hit home runs. -Doug MacLean, Columbus Blue Jackets first GM
There are two re-occuring themes from the men who have been there before. Patience and hard work.