Devils on the clock with No. 1 pick in NHL draft


The Golden Knights' biggest strength will be in net, where Fleury, who led the Penguins past the Blue Jackets in the first round of the playoffs, gives them team a solid No. 1 goalie to build around.

Golden Knights owner Bill Foley and general manager George McPhee announced their choices during the NHL's annual postseason awards show at T-Mobile Arena, where Vegas will begin play in the fall. Vegas sent defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk and a 2018 seventh-round draft pick to Carolina for a second-round selection on Saturday.

Chosen with the 18th pick in the first round in 2013, he has played only 54 National Hockey League games in his three-year professional career. At the beginning of the season, the team will be forced to place a handful of its expansion draftees on waivers, some of whom will be claimed while others will pass down to Vegas' AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves.

However this roster shakes out come the opening game of their inaugural season on October 6 against the Stars in Dallas - and then the first home-opener at T-Mobile Arena on October 10 against the Coyotes - it's clear his team has a good chance to have a better first season than any expansion team in history.

Formerly of the lowly Colorado Avalanche, Pickard was the first named Knight with selections revealed in reverse order of last season's standings.

Can they be the best expansion team ever? When you have one pick in the first round, you're looking for one guy. 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.

Vegas will play its first two games on the road, visiting Arizona on October 7 before the second leg of an early back-to-back for coach Gerard Gallant's club.

Later, Golden Knights top amateur scout Bobby Lowes was told of McPhee's compliment.

The Golden Knights passed on 23-year-old defensemen Slater Koekkoek and Jake Dotchin in exchange for 32-year-old defenseman Jason Garrison, a 2017 second-round pick and a 2018 fourth-round pick from the Lightning. Vegas was able to add 45 goals of production for a fourth-round pick. McPhee took a plethora of defenseman to corner the market on a prime position and will likely continue to stockpile draft picks for the future (see, Methot, Schlemko, and Emelin).

The New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning also opted for players with family ties to the National Hockey League.

McPhee took advantage of wide-ranging reluctance among clubs to lose valued contributors, adding promising defenceman Shea Theodore from Anaheim and first and second round picks from Columbus.

Suzuki is one of the best playmakers in this draft and his ability to read the game on a mental level is superb.

James Neal: The Knights are likely to struggle to score, and they'll need Neal, 29, to be the real deal.

After Foley paid $500 million to the league as an expansion fee, the Golden Knights were given favorable franchise-building terms explicitly created to give them a better chance to be competitive more quickly than the new teams of the previous 25 years.

This was a smart move by Buffalo. "That was insane. I'm obviously excited to get this started".

The franchises final selection in the first round was 17-year-old Swedish defenseman Erik Brannstrom, who plans to learn the National Hockey League game from a wide variety of veterans on the Golden Knights roster.

Defenseman John Moore, as I expected, made the final list, but Ben Lovejoy didn't, presumably because Shero deduced that the Golden Knights would go after a younger and cheaper exposed player than the 33-year-old defenseman, who has two more seasons on his contract at an AAV of $2.667 million.

Maksim Zhukov of Russian Federation became the first ever goalie drafted by the organization at 127th overall.

But it's hard to get over the lack of even strength production in the WHL from a top-10 pick, particularly given the other talent still available. But he had just two assists in 13 playoff games this spring and was criticized for his lackluster play.