Vegas Golden Knights: What If They Didn’t Have An Expansion Draft?

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 21: Ryan Miller
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 21: Ryan Miller /

The NHL changed up its expansion draft a bit for the Vegas Golden Knights. This was done so the Vegas Golden Knights would be competitive from the start. Today though, lets see how the Vegas Golden Knights would look if the team didn’t get an expansion draft and had to rely 100% on the NHL free agency.  

Now for this we have a few things to keep in mind.

  • Vegas has a lot of cap space to spend and as a result, will have to overpay sometimes
  • Attracting players to a team made up of other free agents will be a challenge.
  • Most top free agents like Joe Thornton won’t come to Vegas
  • This is for fun so enjoy and be thankful the Vegas Golden Knights get an expansion draft.


Jiri Hudler – Mike Ribeiro – Devin Setoguchi

Viktor Stalberg – David Desharnais – Brian Gionta

Lauri Korpikoski – Derek Ryan – Teddy Purcell

Drew Miller – Andrew Desjardins – Bobby Farnham

Extra: Connor Brickley

Yeah again be really, really, really thankful for the expansion draft.

A lot of these players are former NHL regulars who are looking to prove they still have it. Hudler, Setoguchi, Ribeiro, Desharnais, Miller, Desjardins, Korpikoski, Gionta, Stalberg, and Purcell are all players who will probably end up on low cap one year deals or tryouts this offseason. They would easily jump for a chance at good money and guaranteed minutes.

Derek Ryan, Bobby Farnham, and Connor Brickley are the exceptions to that.

I believe Vegas will want an enforcer, so Farnham. Furthermore, you could honestly pick any free agent enforcer there is nothing special about Farnham.

Derek Ryan could be a very late bloomer. The 30 year old Center, went undrafted out of the Western Hockey League. Ryan has unexpectedly climbed up the hockey ladder. This year in 57 games with the Carolina Hurricanes, he has 24 points.

Connor Brickley is one I would actually advocate for the Vegas Golden Knights to sign even with the expansion draft. The Vegas Golden Knights are going to have a generational gap on the team. Connor Brickley is only 25, was a former 2nd round pick, and can play in the NHL.


Dmitry Kulikov – Michael Del Zotto

Kyle Quincey – Fedor Tyutin

Philip Larsen – Dylan McIlrath

Extra: Jakub Kindl

Its not great, but I kinda like it.

I feel most of these players never got their fair shot or were used right. Del Zotto and McIlrath are especially true for this. Tyutin is good vet who knows what it is like to play for an expansion team after playing with Columbus for so long.

Due to the offense lacking scoring, I think this defense could help. Del Zotto and Larsen should be able quarterback the power plays. Kulikov is a complete wild card.


Ryan Miller

Darcy Kuemper

Matt Hacket

Ryan Miller wants to be close to California and he still wants to start, so Vegas is really his only option.

Kuemper has sometimes looked like he could be starter and others an AHL goalie. Since Ryan Miller is going to be 37 next year, he will need some rest. Kuemper will get a fair share of starts while being a back up.

Finally, Matt Hackett is a former top goaltending prospect. He has quickly fallen from grace though and has only played 7 AHL games this year. He is 27, but for an AHL goalie, he might be worth a chance as a late bloomer.

Related Story: Who Will the Vegas Golden Knights Take From The Capitals?


Offense: C-

Defense: C

Goaltending: A-

Overall: C+