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Expansion Draft and Awards Show in Vegas

27 June 2017

For one historic week, the Vegas Golden Knights were takers.

The Edmonton captain claimed the award as the NHL's most valuable player Wednesday night at the league's postseason awards show at T-Mobile Arena, the new home of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

They could attempt to re-sign Johnson on July 1 - if he hasn't already inked a deal with the Coyotes, whom acquired his rights in the Smith trade and are protecting him in the NHL Expansion Draft - or find a suitable back-up like Mike Condon, Jonathan Bernier or Anders Nilsson.

"I've seen some good things", said Brannstrom, smiling.

That transition to the desert will be easier for some Golden Knights: Deryk Engelland has lived in Las Vegas in the off-season for a decade. He played in parts of five seasons with the Ice, scoring 50 times and adding 126 assists in 258 games.

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The Golden Knights are required to take exactly one player from each team and a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders in the expansion draft.

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Vegas Golden Knights' Deryk Engelland poses for photographers Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Las Vegas. The Penguins visit the Chicago Blackhawks on October 5 in a matchup of the only teams to win the Cup three times in the salary-cap era. The three-time Cup victor lost his starting job with the back-to-back champion Penguins, but he'll get to start over in the desert with two years on his contract.

The Golden Knights passed on 23-year-old defensemen Slater Koekkoek and Jake Dotchin in exchange for 32-year-old defenseman Jason Garrison, a 2017 second-round pick and a 2018 fourth-round pick from the Lightning. McPhee and Foley announced each pick while sitting at a table on stage at the award ceremony.

He picked up 10 draft picks from 2017 to 2020 to stay away from players teams wanted to keep. Vegas was able to add 45 goals of production for a fourth-round pick. "I try to model my game after the big guys like (Tampa Bay's) Victor Hedman". Vegas shipped defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk and a seventh-round pick next year to Carolina for Pittsburghs second-round pick this year, and then traded David Schlemko to Montreal for a fifth-round pick in 2019.

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It has been 17 years since the NHL had an expansion draft when the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild entered the league. That format didn't enable them to protect very many forwards, so Snow gave McPhee what amounted to a king's ransom to select 25-year-old goaltender J-F Berube, a pending unrestricted free agent who the Islanders kept on the roster all of last season for fear of exposing him to waivers.

While about half of the picks at forward look good, the defence is another story. Goaltenders selected in the sixth round have just a 3.8 percent chance of playing 82 or more games in the National Hockey League.

Colorado goaltender Calvin Pickard was the first player announced for the Golden Knights and Neal, who helped the Nashville Predators reach the Stanley Cup finals this season, and Fleury also highlighted the Knights' new roster. With so many picks to use this draft, expect Vegas to stock up on franchise talent for the future. Defensemen Matt Dumba and Marco Scandella plus centers Eric Staal and Erik Haula were all intriguing candidates, but Vegas settled for forward Erik Haula and a conditional 2017 or 2018 third-round pick, which probably won't be almost as valuable.

When that happens, the players most teams will be on the lookout for are the same ones they want in this and in every off-season: sturdy defensemen who can be relied on to eat up significant minutes and/or step in during a post-season run.

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Expansion Draft and Awards Show in Vegas