Fleury leads Vegas Golden Knights' expansion draft choices

James Neal helped lead Nashville to its first Stanley Cup final. And now he may be headed to Las Vegas.			John Russell  Getty Images

James Neal helped lead Nashville to its first Stanley Cup final. And now he may be headed to Las Vegas. John Russell Getty Images

The expansion draft affects every team in the league, so numerous stars convening in Vegas will be paying close attention to the names of the teammates they'll be losing to Sin City. He said that the league wants to do something uncommon like today's occasion to make the fans happy, especially the ones in Vegas. Marc-Andre Fleury and James Neal were among the few high profile picks, which were revealed Wednesday evening during the National Hockey League awards show in Las Vegas.

The NHL Entry Draft continues through the weekend with 8 News Now Sports Director Chris Maathuis providing coverage on the Golden Knights selections. The Penguins visit the Chicago Blackhawks on October 5 in a matchup of the only teams to win the Cup three times in the salary-cap era.

From left, Vegas Golden Knights' Marc-Andre Fleury, Deryk Engelland, Brayden McNabb and Jason Garrison sit on stage during an event following the National Hockey League expansion draft, Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Las Vegas.

Vegas ended up with 26-year-old forward Jon Marchessault, who was left unprotected after a 30-goal season, but it also received forward Reilly Smith in exchange for the Golden Knights' fourth-round pick in 2018.

Not by a long shot. Sorry, Marc-Andre, but everybody loves you, buddy. "I think this is by far the best expansion team ever".

None of the choices got louder approval from the home crowd than the 32-year-old Fleury, who lost his starting job during last season's playoff run with the back-to-back champion Penguins. 6-13-15 with two from Winnipeg and the New York Islanders.

"I didn't really see that as a hockey place when I went there, but now, with the new team and the fans and season tickets sold out, I think hockey will be unbelievable", Glass said.

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Side deals prevented the team from acquiring players such as Eric Staal and Matt Dumba. "I didn't have a team to look after this year, so I could find time to go out and watch players and be involved in it". But only Glass, who joins David Legwand (Nashville) and Rotislav Klesla (Columbus) and a limited group of others as the first picks of an expansion team, will have the distinction of being a trivia question. How about Luca Sbisa or Colin Miller? They announced a deal with former Calgary defenseman Deryk Engelland, who still lives in Las Vegas during the offseason after playing for the ECHL's Las Vegas Wranglers a decade ago.

It was a savvy move by McPhee, who made 10 trades leading up to the expansion draft. It remains to be seen what happens with Washington's Nate Schmidt, Ottawa's Marc Methot, Chicago's Trevor van Riemsdyk and San Jose's David Schlemko, any of whom could be traded as soon as Thursday.

Perhaps the biggest name of the night was the second to last announced, with picks revealed in reverse order of their originating team's 2016-17 record. Vegas submitted their list of with four minutes to spare before Wednesday's 10 a.m. ET deadline. They now have 13 draft picks for the upcoming draft, including three in the first and three in the second.

Vegas went young with most of the rest of its forward picks, including Oscar Lindberg from the Rangers and a few unproven players in Arizona's Teemu Pulkkinen, Carolina's Connor Brickley, Buffalo's William Carrier, Detroit's Tomas Nosek and Toronto's Brendan Leipsic.

With forwards Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome and Josh Bailey or restricted free agent blueliner Calvin de Haan available for the taking, the Islanders made Vegas an offer they couldn't refuse: a first-round pick in 2017 (15th overall) and a second-round pick in 2019 and defenseman Jake Bischoff so the Knights would take on minor-league goaltender J-F Berube and forward Mikhail Grabovski.

First-round picks always come with larger-than-life expectations.