The expansion Vegas Golden Knights will have a surplus of defensemen following tomorrow’s Expansion Draft, and will look to trade some of them, according to Vegas General Manager George McPhee.
George McPhee: "We're going to have to move some defencemen because we're going to claim a bunch."— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 20, 2017
Vegas is smart to focus on the blueline, given the availability of quality defensemen compared to other positions on the league’s protected lists.
Now, how does this affect the San Jose Sharks? I think this all but confirms the obvious: the Sharks will most likely lose a defenseman in tomorrow’s expansion draft.
Our readers voted for Vegas to select Mikkel Boedker in our Expansion Draft Extravaganza, and I’ve written about Aaron Dell’s cheap contract making him an intriguing option in the crease, but the Golden Knights’ best choices among its unprotected players are on defense.
For starters, Brenden Dillon, 26, is signed for the next two seasons at a manageable $3.27 million cap hit, and his partner, 29-year-old David Schlemko, is signed for the next three seasons at $2.1 million. Dylan DeMelo’s played sparingly over the last two seasons, but has showed promise and his extension won’t require much more than the $650,000 he will be paid this season.
Even the oldest and most expensive option, 36-year-old Paul Martin, is only signed for the next season, and would provide veteran leadership to a young organization. Plus, that’s a contract Vegas should be able to flip at the trade deadline, if not this offseason.
Our new friends over at Knights on Ice think Vegas will select a defenseman from San Jose, too. Each of the site’s mock drafts has the Golden Knights picking Brenden Dillon, and two of SB Nation’s three NHL writers. selected defensemen. So did three of four Puck Daddy writers, the Sporting News, and one of TSN’s, among others.
Of course, this consensus isn’t necessarily a peek into George McPhee’s thinking, but his statement today certainly is. We’ll see which of today’s Sharks will become an ex-Shark tomorrow night, when the Expansion Draft results are broadcast during the NHL Awards.