NHL expansion: What would a Las Vegas roster look like?

Ryan Kennedy
By: Ryan Kennedy
Aug 27, 2014

Stephen Weiss (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News


NHL expansion: What would a Las Vegas roster look like?

Ryan Kennedy
By: Ryan Kennedy
Aug 27, 2014

If the NHL held an expansion draft, some pretty decent veterans would likely be exposed. Here's a look at what a potential roster for Las Vegas might be if the team got to pick in the summer of 2015.

The online world was abuzz Tuesday night with various reports about NHL expansion, specifically Las Vegas as an initial destination. Personally, I think the league is fine at 30 teams and that contracting to 28 wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. But in the interest of fun, I started to put together a roster for a potential Las Vegas team and you know what? The options aren't that bad. I'm assuming that an expansion draft for the squad takes place in the summer of 2015 and that the players involved basically stay on their same career trajectories. Based on the last expansion draft in 2000, teams could protect one goalie, five defensemen and nine forwards, or two goalies, three defensemen and seven forwards. Players still on entry-level deals were excluded.

This does provide a few pickles out there. For instance, Ottawa just re-signed Craig Anderson, but there's no way the Sens leave Robin Lehner unprotected; meaning only three blueliners are behind the shield. Obviously Erik Karlsson is one and Marc Methot another. But is the third Chris Phillips or Jared Cowen? Do you assume Phillips would rather retire a Senator and that Las Vegas would know that? And you can't give up on Cowen this quickly, right?

And pity Boston, where the Bruins just have too many good defensemen (I'm also assuming pending free agents would stick with their current teams for the sake of this exercise). I tried to get up to the salary cap floor here, but I would think the NHL would be a little forgiving for the first season, so my 23-man roster comes in at around $50 million. The team was also given the third overall pick in the draft, since the rest of the league would riot if Vegas got Connor McDavid right off the hop. So here's what your 2015-16 Las Vegas team could look like:


James Reimer – TOR

Cam Ward – CAR


Adam McQuaid – BOS

Tom Gilbert – MTL

Noah Hanifin (draft)

Kevin Klein – NYR

Andre Benoit – BUF

Patrick Wiercioch – OTT

John Erskine – WSH


Stephen Weiss – DET

Vincent Lecavalier – PHI

Trevor Lewis – LA

Joe Colborne – CGY

Left Wing

Brenden Morrow – TB

Magnus Paajarvi – STL

Matt Martin – NYI

Patrick Bordeleau – COL

Right Wing

Martin Havlat – NJ

Kris Versteeg – CHI

Derek Roy – NSH

Matt Halischuk – WPG


Brian Gibbons – CBJ

Andrew Desjardins - SJ


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NHL expansion: What would a Las Vegas roster look like?