With NHL teams submitting their unprotected lists this past Saturday, the Vegas Golden Knights and NHL fans can finally start to crystal ball what the expansion team roster may look like come the start of the 2017-2018 season.
The full unprotected lists can be found here on Sportsnet.ca
There are some unusually big names (and big contracts) on the unprotected lists and that is leading many people to claim that Vegas will be the most competitive expansion team in year one that the league has ever seen. Many expansion teams look to anchor their teams in between the pipes and established names such as Marc Andre Fleury, Roberto Luongo and Ryan Miller have all been left exposed to the Golden Knights.
The quality does not stop in-goal, as there are also many capable NHL defenseman available to build a solid blue line as well. Anaheim could lose one of their young up and comers in either Sami Vatanen or Josh Manson. Other solid d-men out there include; Dimitri Kulikov, Dan Hamhuis, Niklas Kronwall and Calvin de Haan.
Forwards James Neal and Bobby Ryan have just come off very good playoff runs with their respective teams and both could be Golden Knights come the next week. How about a back to back cup winner to lead your group of forwards? Penguins Chris Kunitz, Nick Bonino and Carl Hagelin are all available.
Here is my projected Vegas Golden Knights roster:
Goalies (3) – Marc Andre Fleur (Pit), Philip Grubauer (Wsh), Michael Neuvirth (Phi)
Defenseman (9) – Josh Manson (Ana), Trevor Van Riemsdyk (Chi), Xavier Ouellette (Det), Matt Dumba (Min), Brandon Davidson (Mtl), Calvin de Haan (NYI), Marc Methot (Ott), Andre Sustr (TB), Ben Chariot (Wpg)
Forwards (14) – Jimmy Hayes (Bos), Cody Eakin (Dal), Troy Brower (Cgy), David Perron (StL), Jamie McGinn (Ari), Lee Stempniak (Car), William Karlsson (Cbj), William Carrier (Buf), Kerby Rychel (Tor), Jonathan Marchessault (Fla), Colton Scissons (Nsh), Oscar Lindberg (NYR), Mikhail Grigorenko (Col), Brendan Gaunce (Van)
The goaltenders and defenseman made available to the Golden Knights will provide the opportunity for George McPhee and his staff to ice the best first year expansion team in league history. Not unlike many teams before them, they will have a very hard time scoring goals.