By Scott Cullen – The Vegas Golden Knights present a unique challenge when trying to compile an Off-Season Game Plan.
They don’t have a current roster, so the real starting point is trying to project who they might select in the Expansion Draft. I completed a mock expansion draft (on Cap Friendly) for the recent Ottawa Hockey Analytics Conference, so I’ll go through the roster and explain the decisions involved.
First off, I wanted my budget to be as close to the floor as possible. Vegas can put together a competitive roster on a budget and don’t need to saddle themselves with bad contracts right off the start.
Secondly, this only includes proposed expansion selections. My expectation is that there will be opportunities for the Golden Knights to deal, particularly from an excess of NHL-calibre defencemen that should be available to them.
Third, a few of the players that were selected for my team are highly unlikely to make it to expansion. For example, if you’re Anaheim and Josh Manson is a wildly popular right shot defenceman, would you not prefer to trade him elsewhere – and get some value in return – rather than lose him for nothing? Of course. (Same goes for Vladislav Namestnikov and Matt Dumba, among others.)