30 IN 30 EXPANSION DRAFT PREVIEW
Our 30 teams in 30 days feature will dive into the upcoming NHL Expansion Draft on 20 June 2017 for the leagues newest franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights. We will be putting ourselves in the shoes of an NHL General Manager and deciding who makes each teams protection list, the negotiation factors present, and the best decision for the each expansion pick.
Year after year this team runs roughshod over the competition in regular season play, but fails to get past the Conference semi-finals. With late season acquisition Kevin Shattenkirk likely headed to an Eastern Conference rival this offseason and little in the way of rookie help on the way, Capitals GM Brian MacLellan could be in store for a busy offseason.
The much anticipated Marc-Andre Fleury chip has finally fallen in Pittsburgh...well at least partially. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford will have to scour the market for a return on the three-time Stanley Cup Champion. With little left to give after flower, could he instead use the draft to rid himself of a much-maligned defacement?
Toews, Kane & Associates may have captured top spot in the West, but spring time hockey has once again revealed the team's great undoing: a lack of depth. With roughly $63.0M attached to just 10 players, management will have to get creative to keep this team in the Stanley Cup conversation.
It would come as no surprise to see yet another year of success in Ohio from one of the leagues deepest rosters. But will this collection of forwards in the 40-60 point per season range take them over the top in the playoffs? Hard to say, for a team in the leagues toughest decision. All we know for sure, is that a team like Blue Jackets will be loosing an impact player through expansion.
A combination of aging vets and young RFAs will keep GM Chuck Fletcher busy this summer as he tries to evaluate which players give his team the best shot to win now, as well as keep the team competitive for years to come. No an easy task for a manager already starring down the barrel of the expansion gun. Does he have anything up his sleeve to prevent Vegas from pulling the trigger?
Anaheim's unprecedented success developing defencemen leaves them vulnerable for expansion. How they handle this period of roster uncertainty could well determine their chances at a Stanley Cup in the coming season and beyond. Can they rid themselves of the thorn that is Kevin Bieksa's contract?
After a disappointing 2015-16 campaign, the Canadiens managed to vault themselves to the top of the Atlantic division in 2016-17. Questionable trade tactics aside, this team continues to develop viable young talent internally. Could we see Marc Bergevin use this prospect depth to his advantage in the expansion process?
After capturing the Art Ross trophy in just his second year in the league, Connor McDavid has the Oilers on a rapid ascent to the top of the Western Conference. With his and fellow budding star Leon Draisatl's contract's a pressing concern, can the Oilers streamline their roster to make way for the future?
The Broadway Blueshirt's are strapped for cash heading into the offseason. Underperforming vets and a lousy draft history may soon be their undoing. Is letting go of Raanta the best move to preserve the remaining roster?
St. Louis will be singing the blues with their cap issues this summer. Their collection of overpaid mid-tier forwards has finally come to bite them in the ass. Can they dump a contract in order to re-sign a key defender?
This team surely only has two seasons left in it before a major overhaul is forced upon them. GM Doug Wilson has kept this team in contention since 2003, will he continue to go 'all-in' or begin to think about the future of this team without its perennial All-Stars in the lineup? Thankfully, if played correctly, expansion will allow Wilson to delay this decision a bit longer.
Boring hockey wins games. Well not always, but that's the mindset of Sens coach Guy Boucher. Ottawa surprised a lot of us and took Pittsburgh to the brink of elimination with a roster built around depth not star power. With so few protection spots, how do the Sens weave through the expansion process unscathed?
The Bruins were nearly dead in the water before a coaching changed the direction of this team. The usual suspects are for the most part all still their in Boston, but expansion might go picking at their depth. Could a famous name be on his way out of Beantown?
Love 'em or hate 'em, Austin Matthews is the real deal. Can him and his boy band of young offensive stars continue their ascent to the top of the Atlantic Division? Only time will tell, but snagging a top-four D-man in the expansion imposed chaos would always help.
The last few season's have had their ups and downs, but the crop of young talent in this forward group and the re-emergence of Dougie Hamilton on the back-end has this team setting their sights firmly atop the Pacific Division. Could expansion provide the Flames an opportunity to finally shore up the goaltending position?
This ride to the Stanley Cup final has been a fun one to watch. But with a roster reliant on depth, expansion presents a difficult task. Can the hard-line objective approach to management continue in Nashville or will other factors come into play?
I think we can all agree this Barclays Centre experiment needs to end as soon as humanly possible. Any rink that has an off-centre scoreboard, shoddy ice, and Deutsche-league style car in the corner should be deemed unfit for the NHL. Nevertheless, the Islanders keep trucking along. How does Garth Snow keep you focused watching the team on the ice and not on the ugly venue?
Although Filppula and Bishop were shipped out early, the Lightning appear to be caught over the limit of quality forwards. With contract's set to expire in abundance this summer, Steve Yzerman could have his hands full juggling the pieces of this lineup and deciding who stays, who goes.
Goaltending will always lie at the crux of the Flyers problems, but a new focus towards defensive depth could be on the way to help. With Expansion ahead Ron Hextall would love nothing more than to unload a contract like Andrew McDonald's onto the inaugural list. Sadly for him, this is a pipe dream. Instead the Broad Street Bullies will be waving goodbye to a more valuable commodity.
Despite goals aplenty this year, the Jets learned the hard way what bad goaltending and bad team defence can do to one's playoff hopes. Finishing second last in goals against kind of hurts your team's ability to win. Where do the Jets go from here with the roster?