Golden Knights Can Skip Next Expansion Draft

The good news keeps coming for the Vegas Golden Knights.

As the NHL’s 31st franchise closes in on capturing a Pacific Division crown in its first year of existence, it’s being reported that the Golden Knights will not be subjected to losing a player if and when a new franchise is awarded to Seattle.

KeyArena Seattle NHL
Artist Rendering of renovated KeyArena in Seattle Washington. (Photo – Office of the Mayor, Seattle, WA)

That’s the trade-off for being left out of the sizeable payday the other 30 NHL franchises will cash in on. The price tag for bringing team thirty-two to the Pacific Northwest will run $650 million, up from the $400 million that Bill Foley paid to bring professional hockey to southern Nevada.

Foley won’t get a piece of the Seattle pie that will pay each franchise $21.67 million. But he also won’t have to worry about losing a key piece of a club that has this look of being a legitimate contender for a long time.

So maybe it’s not good news for owner Bill Foley’s pocketbook. But it’s certainly reason for fans to celebrate.

Seattle Will Play by Vegas Rules

Being unable to select a player from every franchise is the only change that Seattle would experience in the Expansion Draft, otherwise, they’ll benefit from the same arrangement the Golden Knights enjoyed last summer.

That means each team will protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and a goaltender, or they can swap out the seven and three arrangement for eight skaters regardless of position.

Certainly, you’re welcome to speculate as to who your team will be protecting leading up to the expansion draft, but don’t get too attached to any ideas. The soonest that even would take place would be following the 2019-20 season. So your list will change plenty.

While general manager George McPhee did a spectacular job constructing the inaugural squad in Golden Knights history, the savvy trades he orchestrated on expansion draft night have paid immediate dividends for Vegas. Those negotiations netted him Reilly Smith, Shea Theodore, and Alex Tuch, all of who have made significant contributions in season one.

NHL Entry Draft Will Also Go Unchanged

NHL Entry Draft rules would also remain the same for a Seattle franchise, though the odds of obtaining a high draft pick would be different.

Consistent with the procedure for the Golden Knights during the 2017 draft, the new club would have identical odds to the team finishing with the third-worst record in the NHL. For Vegas, that was the Arizona Coyotes. The Golden Knights ended up getting the sixth overall pick, the lowest they could have selected under the current rules.

George McPhee, Vegas Golden Knights, NHL
George McPhee and the Vegas Golden Knights have impressed as this year’s expansion team. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The odds that Vegas would obtain the top overall pick last year were 18%. At the conclusion of the 2017-18 season, the league’s worst team will see those odds jump to 18.5%. As of Mar 23 that lucky team is the Buffalo Sabres.

If the new franchise is able to achieve even a fraction of the success McPhee experienced in 2017, they’ll be off to a good start. While the sixth pick didn’t initially generate a lot of enthusiasm, the Knight first draft was eventually viewed favorably by many. Cody Glass was chosen with the first pick, followed by Nick Suzuki at 13 and Erik Brannstrom at 15.

Like Vegas, Seattle would select third in the second through seventh rounds of the draft.