Capitals vs Golden Knights: Analyzing NHL Expansion Changes

The Washington Capitals and the Vegas Golden Knights faced each other for the 2018 Stanley Cup championship and the team from America’s capital city  won for the first first time in its history, ending a long 44-year wait. For Vegas, even though runners-up, they had a great inaugural season. There has been a lot of talk about the amazing season the expansion team had so we thought we would compare the Caps first year and the Knights first year and what has changed over time.  In the end, its hard not to be amazed by the accomplishments of the team from the desert even though they lost to their new rivals. img_5288

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Noon Vegas Golden Knight Twitter Rumors Update

It’s real now!!

We are counting the hours down with everyone else. Here is what we have been hearing:

How it works: 

The good and bad news for Caps fans:

Checking Out Beagle: 2016/17 Season Photo Review

img_7524As we wait for the NHL Expansion Draft on Wednesday, we thought we would take a look back at Jay Beagle. There is something about Jay that endears him to all Caps fans. His lack of a social media presence always makes us giggle a little. He is such a clean-cut, hometown-guy next door kind of guy. He is a loving husband and devoted dad.

As a player he has been a pretty solid performer for the Caps. In 392 games he has recorded 44 goals and 50 assists. Not shabby for a bottom six player. 2016/17 was the first year he managed to play a full season–previously injuries have kept him off the ice. If you look at the numbers, this season appears to be his best year in the NHL with 30 points in 81 games.

Beagle, who has one more year on his Caps contract, was left exposed on the protection lists submitted to the Vegas Golden Knights. Rumors have been floating that GM George McPhee might pick him over Philipp Grubauer or Nate Schmidt. At 31, he still has a lot of play left in him and would be an asset to any team.

As the Caps consider how to round out the 2017/18 roster, we expect to see Jay playing with some younger new players. His experience and cool reserve could help guide them into their own successful careers. Any way you look at it, we have a thing for Beags and hope he will be back when the Caps take the ice next season.

Best NHL Expansion Draft Tweets


Sunday the NHL blogosphere was loaded with all kinds of tweets about the Vegas Golden Knights expansion team draft.  In the morning the NHL released all of the teams’ available and protected players. Twitter was alive with rumors and guesses about what GM George McPhee (GMGM) would do.

For his part, GMGM said there were no real surprises and that he had already begun to work with the teams. He is after all, the best negotiator in the business.

All day long the Golden Knights trolled the other teams about their lists. Follow them on twitter @GoldenKnights to keep up. One of our favorites was in response to Roberto Luango’s tweet in which he crossed through his own name on the Panthers’ list.

We would be remiss if we didn’t include our own tweet with the link to our post about former and current Caps players and where they ended up on each list.

There are all kinds of mock lists out there for your consideration. Almost all of them have Marc-Andre Fleury as starting goalie and either Philipp Grubauer or Nate Schmidt as the pick from the Capitals’ list.

At least Bailey is safe from the draft…

All teams have their favorite players they want to keep:

There is nothing easy about this process:

Musings about the Caps and who might be leaving:

At the end of the day, the Vegas Golden Knights explained what their day was like and what lies ahead:

Now they get down to the real work–ordering jersey’s with names! This is getting real folks!!

So now we wait for Wednesday night. In the meantime, we are sure there will be some leaks, ’cause we are all about the leaks now!

The NHL Awards and Expansion Draft show begins at 8 pm on NBCSN. It is a fast moving process with GMGM and his team having only 72 hours to complete their selection. Per the NHL rules: “The Golden Knights must submit their selections to the NHL by 10 a.m. Wednesday, roughly 72 hours after the protected lists went public.” There is a trade freeze in place now through 8 am on 22 June.

This morning he said that today is the last day that he will be talking to teams. He will finalize the list by Tuesday night and then sleep on it. He will submit the final list on Wednesday morning. He offered no hints…

A Note to GMGM About Capitals Schmidt

Dear George,

We know you have a lot to do the next few days. You have so many talented players available for you to select to join you in Las Vegas. Some of them are players you know very well and probably are thinking it would be nice to work with again.

One of those players is Nate Schmidt.

We here in the Washington DC area have come to adore, yes adore, Schmidty. He has that boyish grin that he flashes no matter what is going on. Some how he makes an loss easier just by speaking positively about the Caps.

Beyond being the kind of player with a wonderfully delightful personality,, he is really coming into his own. When given the chance during the playoffs, he showed his drive to succeed. He ended up with five points in 11 games which is pretty respectable.

The fans and bloggers all want him to stay with the Caps. We hope you will consider leaving him to continue to grow with this team while you build and develop your own new team.


Caps Fans Everywhere

NHL Expansion Draft: Goalie Watch

Now that the complete available lists are out, Caps fans are wondering if we might really lose Philipp Grubauer to George McPhee (GMGM). He has lots of  interesting  picks available to him.

If McPhee is looking for experienced starting goalies, there are some great players on the list. With the Pittsburgh Penguins releasing Marc-Andre Fleury following the playoffs, GMGM now has a goalie with Stanley Cup experience to add to his list of possible number one goalies. And then there is Robert Luango who could come in as a number two behind Fleury, although his is one of the oldest goalies in the league at 37.. Of course there is Michael Neuvirth who McPhee hired and fired so we don’t really see him as a viable pick given how much young blood there is on the available list.

GMGM can pull up to three goalies from the available list. We would think McPhee is going to go with a mix of experience and players who he and the coaching staff can groom over the next couple of years as they come together as a team. No one expects greatness right out of the gate, but if they even want to prove themselves contenders, they will need a strong goalie in the net who is ready to face down opponents in the Western Conference.


From our perspective, we think Grubauer really should be his number one choice but we expect him to go with Fleury. Picking Grubi means that Phoenix Copely is safe with the Caps and could become the back up goalie. Bottom line, the pool is wide open and George McPhee has been known to do the unexpected. Going with some veteran players might be safe, but we could all be surprised in the end.

Here is the list of now available goalies:

Dustin Tokarski – Ducks
Louis Domingue – Coyotes
Anton Khudobin – Bruins
Malcolm Subban – Bruins
Anders Nilsson – Sabres
Linus Ullmark – Sabres
Brian Elliott – Flames
TEddie Lack – Hurricanes
Michael Leighton – Hurricanes
Cam Ward (G)om McCollum – Hurricanes
Mac Carruth – Blackhawks
Jeff Glass – Blackhawks
Joe Cannata – Avalanche
Calvin Pickard – Avalanche
Jeremy Smith – Avalanche
Oscar Dansk –  Blue Jackets
Anton Forsberg Blue Jackets
Joonas Korpisalo Blue Jackets
Henri Kiviaho – Stars
Maxime Lagace – Stars
Kari Lehtonen – Stars
Antti Niemi – Stars
Justin Peters – Stars
Jared Coreau – Red Wings
Petr Mrazek – Red Wings
Edward Pasquale – Red Wings
Jake Paterson – Red Wings
Laurent Brossoit – Oilers
Jonas Gustavsson – Oliers
Reto Berra – Panthers
Sam Brittain – Panthers
Roberto Luongo – Panthers
Jack Campbell – Kings
Jeff Zatkoff – Kings
Johan Gustafsson – Wild
Darcy Kuemper – Wild
Alex Stalock – Wild
Al Montoya – Canadiens
Marek Mazanec – Predators
Keith Kinkaid – Devils
Scott Wedgewood – Devils
Jean-Francois Berube – Islanders
Christopher Gibson – Islanders
Jaroslav Halak – Islanders
Magnus Hellberg – Rangers
Antti Raanta – Rangers
Mackenzie Skapski – Rangers
Mike Condon – Senators
Chris Driedger – Senators
Andrew Hammond – Senators
Steve Mason – Flyers
Michal Neuvirth – Flyers
Marc-Andre Fleury – Penguins
Aaron Dell – Sharks
Troy Grosenick – Sharks
Harri Sateri – Sharks
Jordan Binnington – Blues
Carter Hutton – Blues
Peter Budaj – Lightning
Kristers Gudlevskis – Lightning
Jaroslav Janus – Lightning
Mike McKenna – Lightning
Antoine Bibeau – Maple Leafs
Curtis McElhinney – Maple Leafs
Garret Sparks – Maple Leafs
Richard Bachman – Canucks
Ryan Miller – Canucks
Pheonix Copley – Capitals
Philipp Grubauer – Capitals
Michael Hutchinson – Jets
Ondrej Pavelec – Jets



Lots of Former Caps on the Available List

Now that the NHL has released the complete list of players who will be protected from the expansion draft, we can also see who is up for grabs. We were a bit surprised by the number of former Washington Capitals’ players on the availbe list and equally surprised to see some who were protected.

Here are some of the notable former Caps players up for grabs should general manager George McPhee (GMGM) decide to rely on some picks from his past:

Jeff Schultz – Ducks
Troy Brouwer – Flames
Michael Latta – Blackhawks
Cody Eakin – Stars
Justin Peters – Stars
Matt Hendricks – Oilers
Jaromir Jagr – Panthers
Mike Ribeiro – Predators
Jason Chimera – Islanders
Jaoslav Halak – Islanders
Michal Neuvirth – Flyers
Joe Ward – Sharks
Eric Fehr – Maple Leafs
Brooks Laich – Maple Leafs
Steve Oleksy – Maple Leafs

Latta, Eakin, and Olesky are among the youngest players on that list. Latta has been playing in the AHL for the past season, with some pretty good success. Eakin’s performance took a bit of a dive last season with only 12 points compared to an average of 36 points the previous three seasons. Olesky also spent last season back in the AHL. He has been a pretty solid player in the AHL but hasn’t made a full-time NHL roster yet.

And those protected:

Semyon Varlamov – Avalanche
Mike Green – Red Wings
Filip Forsberg – Predators
Connor Carrick – Maple Leafs
Mathieu Perreault – Jets

We were pretty surprised to see Varly on this list given his history of injuries, including hip surgery in January that ended the 2016/17 season for him. We were equally surprised about Green. His stats haven’t shown much improvement with the Wild, although he has been one of the Wild’s best offensive defensemen. Forsberg is no surprise. We’ll just leave it at that! Same goes for Carrick who looks to have a bright future in the NHL.

GMGM has his work cut out for him over the next couple of days. With the complete lists of available players out now, he certainly has a wide range of talented players from which to pick. And then there is the negotiating for future first round spots in the draft and we all remember what a pro his is a negotiating.

And in case you were wondering – here is the complete list of protected and available players for the Caps.

Protected players
Nicklas Backstrom (F)
Andre Burakovsky (F)
Lars Eller (F)
Marcus Johansson (F)
Evgeny Kuznetsov (F)
Alex Ovechkin (F)
Tom Wilson (F)
John Carlson (D)
Matt Niskanen (D)
Dmitry Orlov (D)
Braden Holtby (G)

Available players
Jay Beagle (F)
Chris Bourque (F)
Paul Carey (F)
Brett Connolly (F)
Stanislav Galiev (F)
Tyler Graovac (F)
Garrett Mitchell (F)
Liam O’Brien (F)
T.J. Oshie (F)
Zach Sill (F)
Chandler Stephenson (F)
Christian Thomas (F)
Nathan Walker (F)
Justin Williams (F)
Daniel Winnik (F)
Karl Alzner (D)
Taylor Chorney (D)
Cody Corbett (D)
Darren Dietz (D)
Christian Djoos (D)
Tom Gilbert (D)
Aaron Ness (D)
Brooks Orpik (D)
Nate Schmidt (D)
Kevin Shattenkirk (D)
Pheonix Copley (G)
Philipp Grubauer (G)