Tonight, after days of deliberation, deal-making and flat-out extortion, the Las Vegas Golden Knights announced the players who would join Knights Legends Reid Duke and Vadim Shipachyov on their relentless bloodletting of the NHL en route to their first of a minimum seven consecutive Stanley Cups.
While these picks are being announced, it’s also right to bear in mind that Knights’ GM George McPhee will continue working the phones leading up to this weekend’s NHL draft. McPhee has to build the franchise from the ground up, and that means getting bodies to send to Chicago of the AHL and Quad Cities of the ECHL.
But tonight’s about getting NHL level guys. Who are those guys?
CALVIN PICKARD (G-Colorado) Actually a pretty solid pick. He had a .904 save percentage playing behind the dumpster fire that is the Colorado defense for 50 games.
LUCA SBISA (D-Vancouver) Uuuuuhhhhh..he’s big. No word on whether he lives on the second floor.
TEEMU PULKKINEN (F-Arizona) I honestly couldn’t have guessed which team he was on before the unprotected lists came out. He now faces his biggest challenge, which is how to be a healthy scratch on an expansion team.
JON MERRILL (D-New Jersey) Like Sbisa, he’s more of a stay-at-home type, and a shot blocker. Remember what I said about Pickard’s support last year? We’re 4 players in, and he’s already got better guys in front of him.
WILLIAM CARRIER (F-Buffalo) Every team needs that one guy who will always look like he can be a solid NHL power forward, he just needs to put it together. Carrier is that guy. Not much in the hands department, but he’s not shy about taking the body.
TOMAS NOSEK (F-Detroit) Surprise, Mrazek stays in Detroit. Nosek had a really good season in the AHL, helping Grand Rapids win the Calder Cup. He could wind up being another skilled center behind Shipachyov and…
CODY EAKIN (F-Dallas) Here was one of the guys I was really surprised to see unprotected. Sure, he had an off-year, but he’s still a guy who can handle one of the top two center spots. He’s also a guy who could maybe pull something nice in a trade down the road.
JONATHAN MARCHESSAULT/REILLY SMITH (F-Florida) I’ve always had a very healthy respect for Florida’s Dale Tallon as a hockey man who can build a team – he built the nucleus in Chicago that won 3 Cups in the pre-Knights era. But letting 40 goals a year walk for nothing? I’ve got nothing here. If Eakin centers these two, that’s a damn solid line.
BRAYDEN McNABB (D-Los Angeles) Another stay-at-home guy. The Knights don’t really have a puck-carrying Dman yet, but they are assembling quite the corps of bottom-pair guys.
CONNOR BRICKLEY (F-Carolina) He’s a pending RFA, but I don’t see anybody throwing an offer sheet at him, so he’ll be a Knight. He’s a fourth line guy.
CHRIS THORBURN (F-Winnipeg) He’s 34, he’s about to be a UFA, and he’s not a guy teams will knock down the door for. At some point we’ll hear what trade they made with McPhee to hang onto Marco Dano.
PIERRE-EDOUARD BELLEMARE (F-Philadelphia) A Donald.
JASON GARRISON (D-Tampa Bay) So far, the best defenseman chosen. He’s got a year left on his deal, so he can also be attractive on the trade market.
JEAN-FRANCOIS BERUBE (G-Islanders) The pick isn’t as important here as the haul they got from the Isles for not taking anybody actually…good. They got a first round pick for this weekend, a second rounder in 2019, D Jake Bischoff (recently signed out of college) and F Mikhail Grabovski. Grabovski has a $5 million cap hit, which is a boat anchor for a team like the Islanders who have been squandering away the prime years of John Tavares’ career and need to get him a winger. For the Knights? Five mildo is a drop in the bucket. This was some quality wheeling and dealing.
JAMES NEAL (F-Nashville) A veteran goal scorer with playoff experience. He will skate top six minutes if he ever wears a Knights sweater. There are rumors that he might be gone before Saturday Night Live airs this week.
DERYK ENGELLAND (D-Calgary) They somehow managed to pass on Brandon Bollig for the veteran defenseman who they immediately signed…giving them their first Las Vegas native.
BRENDAN LEIPSIC (F-Toronto) He’s a young guy that Toronto couldn’t keep. He’s got the potential to be a contributor down the road, after getting almost a point a game in the AHL. He could be a guy for down the road.
COLIN MILLER (D-Boston) He’s a decent guy who might be able to rack up 20 points playing the point here.
MARC METHOT (D-Ottawa) He skated top pair with Erik Karlsson on the Senators team that made the Eastern Conference Final, so he’ll be top pair here.
DAVID SCHLEMKO (D-San Jose) He’ll be next to Methot.
DAVID PERRON (F-St. Louis) He should be good for 20-25 goals here. The Blues protected Ryan Reaves instead. Reaves could have traded in his dumpster behind the Purina Building for a nice one behind the Bellagio, but Perron can give the Knights some scoring depth.
OSCAR LINDBERG (F-Rangers) He got 20 points in 65 games after missing the first 6 weeks with an injury. He’s a solid 4th liner.
GRIFFIN REINHART (D-Edmonton) He was the 4th overall pick 5 years ago, and has never happened. So he’s Cam Barker.
ALEXEI EMELIN (D-Montreal) He’s got a year left, and might be another guy who could get moved at the deadline, if not sooner.
CLAYTON STONER (D-Anaheim) He came with D Shea Theodore in his hip pocket. Stoner is another stay-at-home guy – which figures, nobody wants to part with puck moving DMen. Theodore came as insurance that McPhee took Stoner.
ERIK HAULA (F-Minnesota) No Eric Staal here, but Haula gives them another guy who can occasional goal and he’s young and plays a solid game.
WILLIAM KARLSSON (F-Columbus) He’s another bottom six guy who could be OK for about 20 points a season.
TREVOR CAN REIMSDYK (D-Chicago) He’s been the source of a lot of frustration among Blackhawks fans, but the fact is that he’s still a young developming defenseman who already has a Stanley Cup on his resume. When he’s good, he’s good. When he’s bad, he’s abysmal.
MARC-ANDRE FLEURY (G-Pittsburgh) Here you go, the face of the franchise. He’s the starting goaltender with a mittful of Stanley Cup rings. He got a huge ovation when he was announced, and he’ll keep the Knights competetive.
NATE SCHMIDT (D-Washington) The closest thing the Knights have to a puck mover.
Well, there you have it…so far. There will be more trades, and there’s the possibility that the first round pick that might be able to dent the roster. But at least there are names and faces attached to the boss sweaters.
Fro is the worst.