In today's edition of content we have surprisingly never done here at Vegas Hockey Now, we're looking back on the team that started it all. On June 19, 2017, the Vegas Golden Knights officially laid the groundwork for their team, taking 30 players in the expansion draft.
With the All-Star Break still technically active and not much to talk about with the VGK until they get back into games (other than the unfortunate Mark Stone situation), let's take a look back at the original picks by the VGK and assess where they are now.
We're going off the original 30 expansion draft picks only. So only Brayden McNabb (LAK), Will Carrier (BUF), Jonathan Marchessault (FLA), and William Karlsson (CBJ) count even though guys like Reilly Smith and Shea Theodore are original misfits.
Both Marchessault and Karlsson are tied for the all-time team lead in games played with 401. Marchessault leads in all-time points with 323.
Also in this category, technically speaking, is Deryk Engelland (CGY) who played three seasons with the Golden Knights before retiring and joining the team's front office.
Several instrumental members of the early Golden Knights left in free agency after a couple of strong seasons with the team.
James Neal (NSH) and David Perron (STL) both left the team after just one season as they were pending UFAs. Perron went back to the St. Louis Blues, won a Stanley Cup, and is now with the Detroit Red Wings. Neal is retired.
Tomas Nosek (BOS) lasted four years in Vegas playing before he walked in free agency and signed with the Boston Bruins, his current team.
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (PHI) spent two seasons as the Golden Knight's fourth-line center before signing with the Colorado Avalanche. He is now with the Tampa Bay Lightning, which means PEB has played in two Stanley Cup Finals but has never won one.
Jason Garrison (TBL) never broke in with the Golden Knights playing in just eight games before leaving in free agency to sign with the Edmonton Oilers. Now he is in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves. Similarly, now-retired defensemen Luca Sbisa (VAN) played in 30 VGK games before leaving to sign with the New York Islanders.
Another veteran defenseman, this one still active with the Minnesota Wild, Jon Merrill (NJD) played three seasons with the Golden Knights before walking.
Two players, Chris Thorburn (WPG) and Jean-Francois Berube (NYI) were selected in the expansion draft as unrestricted free agents and never signed with the VGK. Berube is with the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL. Thorburn, who won a Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues in 2019 and is now retired.
To avoid controversy, let's just speed through these ones.
Colin Miller (BOS) played two seasons for the VGK before he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres. He is now with the Dallas Stars. Nate Schmidt (WSH) was a cap causality and was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in 2020 after three years with the team. He is still in the NHL and plays for the Winnipeg Jets.
Cody Eakin (DAL) played three seasons with the VGK before he was traded to the Winnipeg Jets. He is now playing in Switzerland. Erik Haula (MIN) has been traded three times in his career. One of which sent him out of Vegas after two seasons for a prospect, fifth-round pick, and Nicolas Roy. Haula is currently a Bruin.
Oscar Lindberg (NYR) was traded to the Ottawa Senators in the Mark Stone deal and is now playing in Switzerland. Brendan Leipsic (TOR) played 44 games with the Golden Knights before he was traded to the Vancouver Canucks. He is now in the KHL.
Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT) was infamously traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2021 where he finished the season before signing with the Minnesota Wild.
The Golden Knights also flipped several of their assets acquired in the expansion draft for other players and draft picks. Among these were David Schlemko (SJS), Alexei Emelin (MTL), Marc Methot (OTT), Calvin Pickard (COL), and Trevor van Riemsdyk (CHI).
TVR, is currently with the Washington Capitals, Pickard with the Edmonton Oilers, and Emelin is in the KHL. The others are retired.
Never Broke In
Connor Brickley (CAR) never played in the Golden Knight's system and has since retired. Teemu Pullkinen (ARZ) and Griffin Reinhart (EDM) only ever played for the Golden Knight's former AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. Reinhart is retired and Pullkinen is currently playing in the KHL. An unfortunate career-ending injury disallowed Clayton Stoner (ANA) from ever playing a game for the VGK.
Where are they now?
NHL: Brayden McNabb (VGK), Will Carrier (VGK), Jonathan Marchessault (VGK), William Karlsson (VGK), David Perron (DET), Tomas Nosek (BOS), Erik Haula (BOS), Pierre- Edouard Bellemare (TBL), Colin Miller (DAL), Nate Schmidt (WPG), Marc-Andre Fleury (MIN), Calvin Pickard (EDM), Trevor van Riemsdyk (WSH), Jon Merrill (MIN)
Elsewhere: Teemu Pullkinen (KHL), Alexei Emelin (KHL), Brendan Leipsic (KHL), Cody Eakin (Swiss), Oscar Lindberg (Swiss), Jean-Francois Berube (AHL/FLA), Jason Garrison (AHL/CAR).
Retired/Inactive: Deryk Engelland, James Neal, Connor Brickley, Griffin Reinhart, Chris Thorburn, David Schlemko, Marc Methot, Luca Sbisa, Clayton Stoner.