Seven forwards, three defencemen and Cam Talbot. That’s what the Oilers are likely going to protect going into the expansion draft later in June. As the Vegas Golden Knights become the NHL’s 31st team, they’ll select a player from each club in the hopes that they’ll contend as quickly as possible.
You’ve heard Benoit Pouliot’s name brought up a tonne since we’ve found out that Vegas was going to get a team. Though his time in Edmonton has been less than what we’ve all hoped for, there’s a chance that the Knights might pick him up. Or, they might pick up a prospect.
Pouliot’s had a colourful time as an Oiler. He’ll be left unprotected, and the Knights will have an opportunity to pick up a player who’s performed quite well when alongside Connor McDavid in limited minutes. Pouliot is an instant, bonafide NHL player who could play top six in Las Vegas, and perhaps a fresh start is what he needs to jump start his career. In 180 games with the Oilers, Pouliot has 84 points (41-43-84). He’s got two years at $4MM AAV.
Please recall Reinhart, the take in the deal that sent the 16th and 33rd overall picks to the Islanders for the former Oil King. The left defenceman wasn’t quite NHL ready, and he’s played in just one NHL game since last season. At 23 years of age, he’ll certainly be left unprotected in a scenario that allows Edmonton to protect just three defencemen. Would Vegas take a shot?
Khaira has spent limited time on the big club and his ceiling appears to be a bottom six guy (he’s got 3 points in 25 games), but he’s looked good playing limited minutes in relief. Khaira had 20 points in 27 games (8-12-20) in Bakersfield this season after being limited due to an upper body injury.
We’ll feature our protected list in the coming days. Until then, who would you like to see selected? Who actually gets selected?