For one, this will be the first Expansion Draft conducted in the salary cap era. Because there is only one team selecting players this time around, it gives the Vegas Golden Knights, led by general manager George McPhee, tremendous leverage to build: A) a strong team that could compete immediately, or B) an opportunity to stockpile a large quantity of assets to build for the future. Of course, the Golden Knights’ path will likely fall somewhere in the middle.
Before diving into how the draft could affect the Wild, here are some basic ground rules regarding the draft itself, via NHL.com:
• The Las Vegas franchise must select one player from each presently existing club for a total of 30 players (not including additional players who may be acquired as the result of violations of the Expansion Draft rules).
• The Las Vegas franchise must select the following number of players at each position: 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders.
• The Las Vegas franchise must select a minimum of 20 players who are under contract for the 2017-18 season.
• The Las Vegas franchise must select players with an aggregate Expansion Draft value that is between 60-100 percent of the prior season’s upper limit for the salary cap ($73 million).
• The Las Vegas franchise may not buy out any of the players selected