Stanley Cup-winning goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, defensemen Marc Methot and Alexei Emelin, 30-goal scorer Jonathan Marchessault and forwards David Perron and James Neal are among the veterans selected by the Golden Knights in the National Hockey League expansion draft Wednesday night.
Golden Knights owner Bill Foley and general manager George McPhee announced the selections during the NHLs annual postseason awards show at T-Mobile Arena, where Vegas will begin play in the fall.
From left, Vegas Golden Knights' Marc-Andre Fleury, Deryk Engelland, Brayden McNabb and Jason Garrison sit on stage during an event following the National Hockey League expansion draft, Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Las Vegas.
It had been a long 12 months for the Vegas Golden Knights general manager, who had spent the past year running countless mock expansion drafts in preparation for this moment.
Las Vegas officially has their first professional sports franchise with the conclusion of the Vegas Golden Knights' expansion draft.
Vegas emerged from the expansion draft with 15 defensemen, and McPhee alluded before the expansion draft to trading some of them. He was with the Anaheim Ducks, making the Golden Knights his third National Hockey League team.
DON'T SLEEP ON: If Vegas is indeed getting Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger, he's a nice depth player at 27, and Montreal's Tomas Plekanec, who is 34, satisfies a veteran component and could fit perfectly as the franchise's first captain.
A second round pick in 2008 with three years left on his contract ($3.86 million U.S. cap hit), Hamonic is coming off a troublesome, injury-plagued season with the Islanders, one that saw him play only 49 games while ranking last on the team with a woeful 44 per cent puck possession mark. "So, we're really happy with that".
Tolvanen is an undersized 18-year-old phenom from Finland with some of the most spectacular offensive skills in the draft class. The Golden Knights also made a series of trades with other teams to dissuade Vegas from picking particular players, allowing them to stockpile draft picks and more talent.
The Golden Knights will likely struggle in year 1.
"We like our team right now", McPhee said.
Klim Kostin, another Russian who topped the NHL's European rankings heading into the draft, slid to the Blues at 31st overall - the pick coming by way of a trade with Pittsburgh.
That transition to the desert will be easier for some Golden Knights: Deryk Engelland has lived in Las Vegas in the offseason for a decade.
In order to ensure the Golden Knights would take Fleury, the Penguins gave up a second-round pick in the 2020 draft.
"I think it'll be great", Engelland said. Vegas could use free agency to stock its top forwards, as it already has by signing Vadim Shipacyhov out of the KHL. Defensemen Matt Dumba and Marco Scandella plus centers Eric Staal and Erik Haula were all intriguing candidates, but Vegas settled for forward Erik Haula and a conditional 2017 or 2018 third-round pick, which probably won't be almost as valuable.
"I just trained really hard in the summer time and going into the year Portland gave me a tremendous amount of opportunity", Glass said on NBCSN about that improvement.
J-F Berube (New York Islanders) will be Vegas's third goalie. Justin Schultz finished 10th in the voting for the Norris Trophy for top defenseman. Via Cap Friendly, ten players selected will be unrestricted free agents after this season (including Neal and Marchessault). Grabovski, also 33, has one year and $5 million remaining on his contract and has not played since 2015-16 because of a concussion.
The team announced the medical update Wednesday, one that could have a significant impact on the veteran's career and the franchise's future.
Prior to his breakout season, Glass had not been projected as a first round pick.