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Mock Draft: OTF Takes On Vegas

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We tried our best to build a decent hockey team from the available options.

Las Vegas NHL Franchise Reveals Team Name And Logo Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In just over three months, the Vegas Golden Knights will draft a hockey team. They will be the 10th expansion team in the league since the dawn of rapid expansion in the early 90’s. It should be fun. Stressful for Calle Jarnkrok fans, but fun nonetheless.

Every NHL GM will submit a protection list to the league on June 17th and then by June 21st those selections will be made public. There’s been some talk about GMs not releasing the list of their protected players, which would be dumb, but hey it’s the NHL. They do dumb things.

Expansion drafts are cool. It’s not every day that you get to see a team built from the bottom up. With that, we figured it would be fun to mock draft this Vegas team.

We rounded up OTF’s best and brightest to generate a Vegas team through CapFriendly’s Expansion Draft Tool. This tool is a good time waster if you ever need to kill an hour, plus it gives you the chance to build your very own hockey team.

We only had a couple rules that everyone followed. One, use the “quick protect” option to generate the protection lists. It would take a while to hand-protect all the NHL teams and, not knowing all the ins and outs of each team’s roster situation, it would be probably be more trouble than it was worth. Two, protect Viktor Arvidsson instead of Craig Smith for the Predators, though the “quick protect” option already did that for us (it’s crowd-sourced, after all). And with that we were off.

So here is OTF’s first ever mock draft for the Vegas Golden Knights!

Bobby

Forwards: Jakub Silfverberg (ANA), Jimmy Hayes (BOS), Nicolas Deslauriers (BUF), Matt Stajan (CGY), Blake Comeau (COL), Riley Sheahan (DET), Mark Letestu (EDM), Colton Sceviour (FLA), Jason Zucker (MIN), Calle Jarnkrok (NSH), Beau Bennett (NJD), Shane Prince (NYI), Kevin Hayes (NYR), Alexandre Burrows (OTT), Dale Weise (PHI), Jannik Hansen (SJ), Nail Yakupov (STL), Matt Martin (TOR)

Defensemen: Luke Schenn (ARI), Justin Faulk (CAR), Trevor Van Riemsdyk (CHI), Stephen Johns (DAL), Brayden McNabb (LAK), Brandon Davidson (MON), Luca Sbisa (VAN), Brooks Orpik (PIT), Mark Stuart (WPG)

Goalies: Joonas Korpisalo (CBJ), Matt Murray (PIT), Peter Budaj (TB)

Alex

Forwards: Matt Stajan (CGY), Blake Comeau (COL), William Karlsson (CBJ), Mark Letestu (EDM), Colton Sceviour (FLA), Calle Jarnkrok (NSH), Devante Smith-Pelly (NJD), Shane Prince (NYI), Zack Smith (OTT), Michael Raffl (PHI), Tom Kuhnackl (PIT), Jannik Hansen (SJ), Dimitrij Jaskin (STL), Vladsislav Namestnikov (TB), Markus Granlund (VAN), Jay Beagle (WAS)

Forwards: Josh Manson (ANA), Luke Schenn (ARI), Kevan Miller (BOS), Justin Falk (BUF), Justin Faulk (CAR), Trevor Van Riemsdyk (CHI), Stephen Johns (DAL), Jonas Brodin (MIN), Kevin Klein (NYR), Martin Marincin (TOR), Adam Lowry (WPG)

Goalies: Jimmy Howard (DET), Jeff Zatkoff (LAK), Al Montoya (MON)

Marya

Forwards: Jakub Silfverberg (ANA), Jimmy Hayes (BOS), Freddie Hamilton (CGY), William Karlsson (CBJ), Darren Helm (DET), Jujhar Khaira (EDM), Tim Bozon (FLA), Dustin Brown (LAK), Jason Zucker (MIN), Craig Smith (NSH), Beau Bennett (NJD), Taylor Beck (NYR), Dale Weise (PHI), Scott Wilson (PIT), J.T. Brown (TB), Brendan Leipsic (TOR), Nathan Walker (WAS), Marko Dano (WPG)

Defensemen: Luke Schenn (ARI), Trevor Van Riemsdyk (CHI), Stephen Johns (DAL), Brandon Davidson (MON), Thomas Hickey (NYI), Jyrki Jokipakka (OTT), Brendan Dillon (SJ), Robert Bortuzzo (STL), Luca Sbisa (VAN)

Goalies: Linus Ulmark (BUF), Eddie Lack (CAR), Semyon Varlamov (COL)

Austin

Forwards: Jakub Silfverberg (ANA), Nicolas Deslauriers (BUF), Matt Stajan (CGY), Joe Colbourn (COL), William Karlsson (CBJ), Mark Letestu (EDM), Colton Sceviour (FLA), Dustin Brown (LAK), Jason Zucker (MIN), Calle Jarnrok (NSH), Beau Bennett (NJD), Michael Raffl (PHI), Tom Kuhnackl (PIT), Jannik Hansen (SJ), Vladsislav Namestnikov (TB), Brendan Leipsic (TOR), Lars Eller (WAS), Marko Dano (WPG)

Defensemen: Luke Schenn (ARI), Kevan Miller (BOS), Trevor Van Riemsdyk (CHI), Stephen Johns (DAL), Thomas Hickey (NYI), Kevin Klein (NYR), Jyrki Jokipakka (OTT), Robert Bortuzzo (STL), Luca Sbisa (VAN)

Goalies: Jimmy Howard (DET), Al Montoya (MON), Eddie Lack (CAR)

Hayley

Forwards: Jakub Silfverberg (ANA), Jimmy Hayes (BOS), Freddie Hamilton (CGY), Blake Comeau (COL), William Karlsson (CBJ), Mark Letestu (EDM), Colton Sceviour (FLA), Dustin Brown (LAK), Jason Zucker (MIN), Calle Jarnrok (NSH), Beau Bennett (NJD), Taylor Beck (NYR), Michael Raffl (PHI), Jannik Hansen (SJ), J.T. Brown (TB), Matt Martin (TOR)

Defensemen: Luke Schenn (ARI), Justin Falk (BUF), Justin Faulk (CAR), Trevor Van Riemsdyk (CHI), Stephen Johns (DAL), Jordie Benn (MON), Thomas Hickey (NYI), Jyrki Jokipakka (OTT), Robert Bortuzzo (STL), Luca Sbisa VAN), Kevin Shattenkirk (WAS)

Goalies: Jimmy Howard (DET), Matt Murray (PIT), Ondrej Pavelec (WPG)

Michael

Forwards: Jakub Silfverberg (ANA), Michael Ferlund (CAL), Matt Calvert (COL), Riley Sheahan (DET), Benoit Pouliot (EDM), Colton Sceviour (FLA), Calle Jarnkrok (NSH), Beau Bennett (NJ), Oscar Lindberg (NYR), Nail Yakupov (STL), Vladislav Namestnikov (TB), Kerby Rychel (TOR), Lars Eller (WAS), Marko Dano (WPG)

Defensemen: Luke Schenn (ARZ), Dmitry Kulikov (BUF), Justin Faulk (CAR), Trevor Van Riemsdyk (CHI), Stephen Johns (DAL), Brayden McNabb (LA), Jonas Brodin (MIN), Jordie Benn (MON), Calvin De Haan (NYI), Jyrki Jokipakka (OTT), Ian Cole (PIT), Brendan Dillon (SJ), Luca Sbisa (VAN)

Goalies: Malcolm Subban (BOS), Semyon Varlamov (COL), Steve Mason (PHI)


Where would your team finish in the Pacific next season?

Bobby: This would likely be a bottom feeder team. Nobody is really in their prime; everyone is either young or old. That 26-31 year old demographic is largely absent.

Alex: They *might* finish above the Coyotes. But that's only if they make a solid free agent signing in July. And even then, it will be tough.

Marya: Last or second to last

Austin: Winning the cup if I'm coaching, baby. But yes last place

Hayley: Dead last. I feel it's an expansion team right of passage, you can't be good from the start.

Michael: Above the Coyotes but several points behind the Canucks

What was your draft strategy?

Bobby: 1. Find talented RFA's. 2. Find value. 3. Find character guys.

Alex: Get value when possible (Manson, Jarnkrok). When value isn't there, overpay for veterans (Klein, Howard). No RFAs to deal with.

Marya: Personality, physicality, staying close to the cap requirments.

Austin: Tried to get a nice mix of younger players with upside and established veterans.

Hayley: Honestly, looking at who was the best available from each team, and then weighing the pros and cons of each against the cap requirements. Then there are a few that are those "sure why not" picks.

Michael: Skill, then age, then experience

What will be the strength of your team?

Bobby: Goaltending. While I picked Murray from the Penguins, I doubt they actually end up with him. Nevertheless, Joonas Korpisalo is going to be a phenomenal goaltender in this league. He's similar to Saros in many ways: young, Finnish, and extremely talented. Unlike Saros, Korpisalo is eligible for the expansion draft (no guys, for real, Saros can't be picked).

Alex: These Knights are built from the blueline up. Manson, Faulk, Brodin, and Klein make a solid top 4, though TVR and Miller could slot there as well. On offense, there are some playmakers in Namestnikov and Raffl, along with some two-way guys in Jarnkrok and Stajan. Maybe they are like a poor man's Wild? A very, very poor man's Wild?

Marya: There is a bit of underrated skill on the blue line, and goaltending could be sneaky good (or incredibly awful). If they manage to grind out a lot of Trotzhokkei type wins they could rack up a decent amount of points.

Austin: Jarnkrok will win the Selke.

Hayley: Las Vegas tourism and a really, really nice new arena...wait....what was the question?

Michael: Defense then speed. Having qualty defensemen like Brodin, Sbisa, McNabb, Johns and Schenn will help keep them in games.

Any concerns you have for your team?

Bobby: Similar to most Predator teams, this team is starting a second line as a top line. Goals won't come easily. Dump and chase, boys. #Grit.

Alex: Scoring, for sure. Also probably everything else. Why the hell did I go with Jimmy Howard, geez what a terrible pick.

Marya: They don't have a lot of skill up front, and goaltending is very boom or bust.

Austin: Depth down the middle is pretty atrocious.

Hayley: It's doubtful any team will be able to pry Matt Murray away from the Penguins, which doesn't leave much hope for goaltending.

Michael: Will they be able to score enough? The defense should be solid and the goaltending should be as well, but there weren't that many good offensive players available except for Silfverberg and Jarnkrok with maybe Namestnikov and Yakupov can point up some points.

Anything else? Anything you learned from the draft?

Bobby: I'm interested in how much money they'll ultimately spend. There are a lot of quality RFA players with contracts expiring after 2018. They'll need significant cap space to re-sign some of those younger players.

Alex: There are a lot of quality defensemen out there for grabs. This Vegas team shouldn't have a hard time filling out a solid blueline. Quality scoring will be tough to find.

Marya: A lot will depend on how much they're willing to spend. There are a fair number of overpaid veterans worth picking up, but they may just grab enough to reach the minimum and fill the rest of the roster out with entry level contracts.

Austin: It'll be interesting to see what they can acquire from teams who attempt to trade with them in order to avoid losing a player they couldn't protect.

Hayley: I'll be curious to see what their angle will be, if they'll take veterans over youth, and what their strategy will be on acquiring a solid starting goalie.

Michael: I really hope the Preds can convince Vegas to not take Jarnkrok. Needless to say, the draft over the first 2-3 years will shape this team. Thanks to the NHL, this team should have a better first season than most.

Check out the expansion draft tool for yourself. Feel free to post your team below and tell us why yours is better.