With the Vegas Golden Knights coming into existence just over a week ago and signing the first player in franchise history, prospective fans are combing through rosters to see who could be taken at the upcoming expansion draft. The roster will be released in a televised event on June 21st, and with it a generation of new fans will meet the first iteration of their new favorite team.
Expansion drafts are funny things, changing over the decades to include or exclude various player types—this time, the overpaid, underachieving veteran seems to be on the menu for the Golden Knights to pick from—but there have always been interesting names available. Back in 2000 when the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets came into the league, they were fighting each other to try and get the best mix of youth and experience to make their team’s viable right from the start.
If Vegas had been coming into the league then they could have gone for a different approach. With all the lights and excitement of the gambling town, why not assemble a group of the greatest careers available, regardless of where they were in them or how much they had left in the tank. Since the league did make the exposure lists public back then, we can take a look to see what they might have selected. If name recognition and all-star appearances were first and foremost, I present to you the 2000 expansion team.
Mark Messier (1756 GP, 1887 P)
Doug Gilmour (1474 GP, 1414 P
Wendel Clark (793 GP, 564 P)
Martin St. Louis (1134 GP, 1033 P)
Martin Gelinas (1273 GP, 660 P)
Ed Olczyk (1031 GP, 794 P)
Dave Andreychuk (1639 GP, 1338 P)
Shayne Corson (1156 GP, 693 P)
Claude Lemieux (1215 GP, 786 P)
Kevin Dineen (1188 GP, 760 P)
Rick Tocchet (1144 GP, 952 P)
Greg Adams (1056 GP, 743 P)
Rob Brown (543 GP, 438 P)
Stephane Richer (1054 GP, 819 P)
Marty McSorley (961 GP, 359 P)
Sure, the team is a little light on defense and heavy on forwards, but they sure could sell tickets. The team has 16617 career points, 50 All-Star appearances, 28 Stanley Cups, 4 Conn Smythe awards and 3 Hall of Fame members. Sure, most of that happened before the draft took place but it is an impressive group.
The Blue Jackets and Wild might not have been very good had they taken this team, but then again they weren’t very good anyway. It took the Blue Jackets eight seasons to post a winning record and make the playoffs, and though the Wild had earlier success it was mostly on the back of their superstar draft pick Marian Gaborik. Wouldn’t it have been fun to see him line up with Messier and Gilmour?
At any rate, Vegas Golden Knights should be extremely excited for what’s to come. A team only gets one shot at this draft, and it could likely determine what kind of team they are for years to come.