In true Las Vegas fashion, teams gambled, and it appears the house, in this case the Golden Knights, won.
By the time the National Hockey League entry draft concludes Saturday afternoon in Chicago, numerous players and draft picks selected by the Knights on Wednesday will be sent packing to other teams as general manager George McPhee begins transforming an abundance of unprotected, unsigned and unproven players into a competitive, 23-man roster by the time the Knights open the season on October 6 in Dallas.
"He's certainly a guy that we've had our eye on for a while", Calgary GM Brad Treliving said.
James Neal: The Knights are likely to struggle to score, and they'll need Neal, 29, to be the real deal. Even expansion-draft rules that are generous to the team doing the selecting make it hard to assemble a roster with many impact players.
The Golden Knights were required to take at least one player from each team and a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defencemen and three goaltenders in the expansion draft.
Here's how the rest of the league fared in their attempts to protect their most precious assets from the league's expansion draft, starting with the best deals for Vegas and ending with the worst.
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As for the Golden Knights other first-round picks - assuming they keep them - a young goalie of the future could be one of the picks. Notable defensemen taken in the mid-first round include two-time Norris victor Erik Karlsson and top free agent Kevin Shattenkirk, but that's cherry-picking.
The Golden Knights even added local flavor by drafting and signing rugged defenseman Deryk Engelland, who has lived in Las Vegas ever since he played minor-league hockey there from 2003-05.
The team has been very active in trading players for draft picks and vice versa. They also took a goalie in the sixth round - Jiri Patera, 18, from the Czech Republic. So could some of the draft picks the Golden Knights did an incredible job harvesting.
For one historic week, the Vegas Golden Knights were takers.
Last season, he had an 18-10-7 record with a 3.02 goals-against average and a.909 save percentage in 38 games for Pittsburgh.
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The fourth-round pick could add even more value.
Fleury was long expected to be the man in net for Vegas, which also got a 2020 second-round pick from the Pittsburgh Penguins for the agreement to select the 32-year-old with three Stanley Cup rings. The only other time the franchise had the first pick was in 1979, when the then-Colorado Rockies selected Rob Ramage. And the first-round pick could turn into an everyday player, as could the second-round pick a few years from now. Perron played in six seasons for the Blues after being drafted by the club in the first round (26th overall) in 2007. And they took first-round picks, second-round picks and picks that they won't be making for another two years.
Montreal Canadiens: After Montreal traded for forward Jonathan Drouin before the expansion draft, the Canadiens had to leave 22-year-old winger Charles Hudon exposed.
This was a smart move by Buffalo. Fleury was picked by the team in the NHL hockey expansion draft.
"Most of the people saying that haven't watched a junior game this year", he said.
It was a lot to ask, especially when you considered that this was an underwhelming draft that many scouts and general managers believed had no defined order or generation-type talents.
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