Toronto Maple Leafs: Redrafting The 2017 Vegas Expansion Draft

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 13: Members of the Vegas Golden Knights pose with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Florida Panthers to win the championship in Game Five of the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena on June 13, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 13: Members of the Vegas Golden Knights pose with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Florida Panthers to win the championship in Game Five of the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena on June 13, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs were fresh off their first playoff appearance in what seemed like forever in the 2016-17 season.

It created a sense of optimism for the future of the Leafs organization.

It was also the year of the Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft and before sitting down and actually reading how it worked, I feared that one of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, or William Nylander would be taken away from the youthful Toronto Maple Leafs team.

Then once I realized that was not the rules, I was relived.

 Redrafting The 2017 Vegas Expansion Draft

This created so much excitement for me to watch. I have never seen something like this during my years as a hockey fan. Going back and looking at who was available during the 2017 expansion draft it was a true blast from the past seeing players like Shane Doan, Patrick Sharp, the Sedin twins all still in the NHL.

One thing I noticed when it came to researching who was available and who was protected during the expansion draft was how much the Anaheim Ducks and Florida Panthers helped the Knights build the squad that helped them go to the Cup Final in their inaugural season. Reilly Smith, Johnathan Marchessault, and Shea Theadore were all key players on this squad, and were part of the reason that they ended up winning the Stanley Cup this past season.

Another thing of note, the Knights didn’t do their best work when it came to drafting in the expansion draft, rather, their trades were what made them a good team as they were in their first season in the league.  Some teams like the Arizona Coyotes really had slim picking when it came to who they left unprotected, then you have teams like Florida, Anaheim, and Minnesota who had fantastic talent available to be taken for free (info for original draft).

It is quite hard to redraft a team that was practically flawless. A group of misfits coming together and going all the way to the final was unheard of. Unfortunately for Vegas, they fell short of to the Washington Capitals who won their first ever Stanley Cup.

Now it’s time for me to put my GM hat on and go back to 2017 and see what picks I would have made in the 2017 expansion draft. I want to make it clear that this will be picks only, therefore in this scenario there are no trades made like there was on the actual expansion draft night

Anaheim Ducks

My Pick: Josh Manson

Original Pick: Clayton Stoner

Arizona Coyotes

My Pick: Louis Domingue

Original Pick: Teemu Pulkkinen

Boston Bruins

My Pick: Colin Miller

Original Pick: Colin Miller

Buffalo Sabres

My Pick: William Carrier

Original Pick: William Carrier

Calgary Flames

My Pick:Brett Kulak

Original Pick: Deryk Engelland,

Carolina Hurricanes

My Pick: Joakim Nordstrom

Original Pick: Connor Brickley

Chicago Blackhawks

My Pick: Trevor van Riemsdyk

Original Pick: Trevor van Riemsdyk

Colorado Avalanche

My Pick: Carl Soderberg

Original Pick:Calvin Pickard

Columbus Blue Jackets

My Pick: William Karlsson

Original Pick:William Karlsson

Dallas Stars

My Pick: Jamie Oleksiak

Original Pick: Cody Eakin

Detroit Red Wings

My Pick: Tomas Nosek

Original Pick: Tomas Nosek

Edmonton Oilers

My Pick: Laurent Brossoit

Original Pick: Griffin Reinhart

Florida Panthers

My Pick: Jonathan Marchessault

Original Pick: Jonathan Marchessault

Los Angeles Kings

My Pick: Brayden McNabb,

Original Pick: Brayden McNabb,

Minnesota Wild

My Pick: Matt Dumba

Original Pick: Erik Haula

Montreal Canadiens

My Pick: Alex Radulov

Original Pick: Alexei Emelin

Nashville Predators

My Pick: James Neal

Original Pick: James Neal

New Jersey Devils

My Pick: Jon Merril

Original Pick: Jon Merril

New York Islanders

My Pick: Ryan Strome

Original Pick: Jean-Francois Berube

New York Rangers

My Pick: Jesper Fast

Original Pick: Oscar Lindberg

Ottawa Senators

My Pick: Mark Borowiecki

Original Pick: Marc Methot

Philadelphia Flyers

My Pick: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Original Pick: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Pittsburgh Penguins

My Pick: Marc-Andre Fleury

Original Pick: Marc-Andre Fleury

San Jose Sharks

My Pick:Barclay Goodrow

Original Pick:David Schlemko

St.Louis Blues

My Pick: David Perron

Original Pick: David Perron

Tampa Bay Lightning

My Pick: Yanni Gourde

Original Pick:Jason Garrison

Toronto Maple Leafs

My Pick: Brian Boyle

Original Pick: Brendan Leipsic

Vancouver Canucks

My Pick: Luca Sbisa

Original Pick: Luca Sbisa

Washington Capitals

My Pick: Nate Schmidt

Original Pick: Nate Schmidt

Winnipeg Jets

My Pick: Ben Chiarot

Original Pick: Chris Thorburn

Next. Former Leafs Defenseman Signs PTO. dark

Now, obviously, the Knights are coming off a Stanley Cup, and so it would be hard for them to do better than they did, even with the power of hindsight.  This is, therefore, just an interesting exercise and not meant to re-write history.