We’ve got to think of a good nickname for Sunday morning.
With all respect due to Father’s Day, for hockey fans, Sunday is all about the expansion draft and inevitably overreacting to the protected lists NHL teams will be revealing.
After months of speculating, guessing, and building our own rosters on sites like CapFriendly, we are all going to learn how right or, more likely, wrong we were about how NHL general managers value certain players.
And for as much fun as it’ll be to make roster selections and do another level of mock drafts for the Vegas Golden Knights, we still won’t know which players are actually protected by side deals that have already been agreed upon. Those side deals won’t be announced until Wednesday night, leaving almost a full four days of pondering and guessing why Player A is exposed or why Player B was protected.
Some reports have trickled out, and there have been musings from well-connected media members that Vegas may already have as many as three first-round picks in it’s back pocket. The number of entry draft picks will likely go up once the list of exposed players is released, and Vegas general manager George McPhee’s amatuer scouting staff will gets lots of facetime during the NHL Entry Draft in Chicago.
And in the end that’s what the expansion draft is all about for Vegas, we have to remember that. Any success in Year 1 is gravy, while the larger goal is building through the draft and being competitive in three or four years.
If you can draft a player in the expansion draft that could be later flipped for draft picks (perhaps a Dan Hamhuis type from Dallas), more power to the Golden Knights.
For the Stars, the protection list has it’s obvious inclusions. We know that the likes of Jason Spezza, Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Radek Faksa, Valeri Nichushkin (yes, he’ll be protected), John Klingberg, and Esa Lindell are virtual locks to be protected.
But what happens with Antoine Roussel, Brett Ritchie, and Cody Eakin? And what about Dan Hamhuis or Stephen Johns? Are the Stars going to chance it and leave one of them exposed, or has general manager Jim Nill already swung a deal to give Vegas a draft pick to protect an extra player?
I know what I would do, and millions of other armchair GMs have their ideas, but what will the Stars do?
And what about the other teams? Is there a player that another team leaves exposed that the Stars will acquire from Vegas? And how much more would that cost the Stars?
The moral of the story? On a day we hoped for answers, there will only be more questions.
In the meantime let’s figure out a good nickname for Sunday.
The Day of Discontent?
Follow Sean Shapiro on Twitter @SeanShapiro.