The one with the best chance to go might be winger Charles Hudon, who scored 55 goals over the last two seasons for the IceCaps, when they were the American Hockey League farm team of the Montreal Canadiens. If Vegas decides not to add high-priced forward Tomas Plekanec or defencemen Brandon Davidson or Alexei Emelin from the Canadiens’ available list, it may very well be Hudon, recently signed to a new and reasonable two-year deal by Montreal, who could be heading to Nevada.
Hudon is one 11 players exposed to the expansion draft by Montreal who ended the 2016-17 season on the IceCaps’ roster. The others are forwards Daniel Carr, Bobby Farnham, Max Friberg, Stefan Matteau, Chris Terry and Jacob de la Rose and defencemen Keegan Lowe, Zach Redmond and Dalton Thrower.
Players with one or two years of pro experience are exempt from the draft, meaning Habs prospects like goalie Charlie Lindgren and forwards Michael McCarron and Nikita Scherbak can’t be drafted by Vegas.
Defenceman Adam Pardy of Bonavista and forwards Teddy Purcell and Colin Greening of St. John’s are also listed as available, but all are set to become unrestricted free agents this summer, meaning Vegas is unlikely to draft any of the three, who all finished last season in the AHL.
The Golden Knights do have exclusive negotiating rights with pending restricted and unrestricted free agents from now until the expansion draft, but if Vegas does sign a player through this process, that player will count as the expansion loss of the NHL team that had him last season.
Each team will lose one player in the expansion process.
Of course, Greening, Pardy or Purcell could be eventually signed by the Knights when the NHL’s regular free-agency period gets underway July 1.
Pardy, for one, has already expressed hope the additional 23 NHL jobs created in Vegas will create an opportunity for someone like him, either with the Knights or another NHL team which lost a similar player in expansion.
The 32-year-old Pardy was signed as a depth defenceman by the Nashville Predators last fall and appeared in four NHL games with Nashville in December.
However, there will be less overall job creation than first thought when expansion was announced, since the Golden Knights have announced they will share an AHL farm team — the Chicago Wolves — with the St. Louis Blues next season. Otherwise, there would probably be another 10 to 15 players signed to NHL contracts as the result of the Golden Knights’ birth.
There are 36 players who played for the IceCaps who can be found on the availability lists, although some are only there as a matter of technicality. Friberg, for example, has signed to play in his native Sweden next season, while Carl Klingberg, another former IceCap from Sweden, shows up on the New York Rangers’ availability list even though he’s played in Europe the last two years.
The same goes for Shawn Thornton, the former member of the AHL’s St. John’s Maple Leafs who has announced his retirement as a player and has taken a job in the Florida Panthers’ front office. Nevertheless, Thornton’s name is still shown as being made available by Florida, simply because he had an NHL contract last season.
They played here and they’re available
Here are players who have played in St. John’s, along with the three Newfoundlanders, who have been exposed for Wednesday’s expansion draft. Granted, in a few cases, the local connection is tenuous at best — John Mitchell, for example, played two games for the AHL Leafs in 2004-05 — but the majority have played at least the better part of an AHL season at Memorial Stadium and or Mile One Centre.
The players’ present NHL organizations are in brackets.
St. John’s IceCaps (as a Montreal affiliate)
G Dustin Tokarski (Anaheim), F Alexander Burmistrov and D Jarred Tinordi (Arizona), D Philip Samuelsson (Carolina), D Mark Barberio (Colorado), D Greg Pateryn (Dallas), F Tim Bozon (Florida), D Victor Bartley (Minnesota), F Daniel Carr, D Connor Crisp, F Jacob de la Rose, F Bobby Farnham, F Max Friberg, F Charles Hudon, F Stefan Matteau, F Chris Terry, D Keegan Lowe, D Zach Redmond, D Dalton Thrower (Montreal), D Morgan Ellis (St. Louis), F Michael Bournival, F Gabriel Dumont, F Stefan Fournier, D Jonathan Racine and G Peter Budaj (Tampa Bay), D Darren Dietz (Washington)
St. John’s IceCaps (as a Winnipeg affiliate)
F Eric Tangradi (Detroit), G Eddie Pasquale (Detroit), Carl Klingberg (New York Rangers), Will O’Neill (Philadelphia), F Scott Kosmachuk, F JC Lipon, F Ryan Olsen, D Ben Chiarot, D Brenden Kichton, D Julian Melichiori, D Paul Posta and G Michael Hutchinson (Winnipeg)
St. John’s Maple Leafs
F Matt Stajan (Calgary), F John Mitchell (Colorado), F Shawn Thornton (Florida)
St. John’s Fog Devils (QMJHL)
D TJ Brennan (Philadelphia)
F Teddy Purcell (Los Angeles), Adam Pardy (Nashville), Colin Greening (Toronto)