The real star of the expansion draft wasn’t Marc-Andre Fleury or James Neal, it was George McPhee. The general manager’s draft has set Vegas up to be contenders sooner rather than later.
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The Vegas Golden Knights will be benefitting from expansion until 2020. That’s when they cash in on the last 10 draft picks they acquired during the run-up to the expansion draft.
They will add more assets once they start dealing some of the 13 defensemen they drafted.
Here are the biggest surprises of the expansion draft:
No goalie market: Most projections had the Golden Knights selecting four or five goalies and flipping two to other teams. They drafted three, and the only position that is settled is the No. 1 spot, to Marc-Andre Fleury.
Does this mean that the Winnipeg Jets will endure the inconsistency of Connor Hellebuyck? Does new Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill believe in Robin Lehner? What are the Philadelphia Flyers going to do? What is the Arizona Coyotes’ plan?
The expansion draft didn’t provide the answers we believed it would.
Defenseman Matt Dumba stayed in Minnesota: He isn’t Erik Karlsson, but he has scored 21 goals over the past two seasons.
The prediction was that the Golden Knights would draft Dumba to generate offense from the back end or to deal him to one of several teams desperately looking for young defenseman with some offensive pop.
The extraction of 2014 first rounder Alex Tuch from Minnesota to prevent Vegas from taking Dumba, Eric Staal or Marco Scandella was a fair price. He’s a 6-4 power forward with 25-goal potential.
But goal-scoring defensemen are not easy to find. Jason Garrison, if he stays, gives Vegas a booming shot from the point.
GM George McPhee found scoring: The hallmark of an expansion draft is that scorers are nowhere to…