It will be a busy week for NHL GMs in late June. The Las Vegas Expansion Draft takes place on June 21, a Wednesday. The NHL Entry Draft is two days later on the Friday and Saturday. I wanted to get a pretty good picture of which players will be available, which ones will be protected, and what kind of team the Las Vegas Golden Knights could put together. The best way to do that is to do my own Mock Expansion Draft using the tools provided by Cap Friendly.
Using the Cap Friendly tool and ‘forcing’ the protected lists (it’s a button you select), I then made the following adjustments. If a team isn’t noted, then it’s because the default protected list is obvious and no changes are worth considering.
ANA – I protect under the 7-3-1 rule rather than the 8-1 rule. Which means I choose to protect Jakob Silfverberg (plus Andrew Cogliano and Antoine Vermette as a bonus) rather than Sami Vatanen. Silfverberg is far too important to this team.
ARI – Here I protect under the 8-1 rule, because Arizona does not have a lot of forwards worth protecting. I also choose Mike Smith over Louis Domingue – Domingue is not that good. They can find another Domingue in their system pretty easily.
CAR – For some reason, the default didn't have Justin Faulk protected. That's obviously a no-brainer, protect him over Klas Dahlbeck.
COL – They have to keep four defensemen, which means they can only protect four forwards. But they’ll be happy to lose Carl Soderberg or Joe Colborne so that’s fine. They protect Mikhail Grigorenko over Sven Andrighetto or Matt Nieto.
DAL – I chose to protect Valeri Nichushkin over Brett Ritchie. I would consider protecting Ritchie over Cody Eakin, Radek Faksa or Antoine Roussel – but I picked Ritchie as the exposure. I chose Stephen Johns over Dan Hamhuis. The Stars would probably welcome freeing up the Hamhuis cap space. You protect Antti Niemi here because maybe you get lucky and lose the albatross Kari Lehtonen contract.
FLA – I protect Colton Sceviour over Reilly Smith because I’d be happy to get that $5 million cap hit off the books. I protect Alex Petrovic over Mark Pysyk – homegrown, drafted talent is usually favored over trade-acquired players. And you protect the younger, cheaper goaltender in James Reimer.
MIN – I protect