NHL Writer: Las Vegas Won’t Be A Walk-Over Team

The NHL announced that it will release the names of players who will be available to the Vegas Golden Knights for the expansion draft. Originally, a list of names was not going to be made public.

Now it will be.

“Well, it’s great for fans,” NHL.com writer Dan Rosen said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “It allows fans to see so many different things. There’s going to be so many fan GMs about this because now they get to see who really is available to Vegas. They get to see who (general manager) George McPhee takes and doesn’t take (and second-guess him). It exposes the general managers. That’s what it does, and I think it’s great that it does that. It breeds more fan interest. It makes it more exciting. It gets more people talking about this. Because if it was just behind closed doors and nobody knew who was available, well, then it’s not all that interesting. I think it’s great for fans because it allows them to sink their teeth into this.”

A handful of quality players should be available, but make no mistake: McPhee will have work to do.

“I think they’ll be competitive, but to put them in the playoffs in their first year or their second year or maybe even their third year would be a pretty significant stretch,” Rosen said. “But they’ll be a competitive team. They’re not going to be a walk-over team. They’re not going to get a high-end center. They’re not going to get a No. 1 defenseman. Those guys are just not going to be available. But what they’re going to get is some depth. They’re going to get a lot of borderline second- and third-line guys, they’ll have a good fourth line. But what they’ll lack is a real high-quality first line, and they’re going to get a goaltender, most likely, who is unproven as a No. 1. That’s not a playoff team, but it’s a team that’s going to be able to compete, I think. It’s a team that’s going to be able to win some games and at least breed some more interest.”

Thus, the importance of the draft – and future drafts – cannot be understated.

“You have to draft well, and you have to develop some prospects and you have to build a franchise,” Rosen said. “I think the good thing about this is George McPhee has sort of done this already. After a little while in Washington, he tore the whole thing down. They ripped everything apart, bare bones and everything and they built it back up.”

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