What’s the fun in doing just one mock re-draft using one simple scenario? Let’s have a little fun here!
For this scenario, we’ll say that the NHL has mandated that no trades are allowed to or from the Predators at all. This means no transaction for future considerations that are actually a promise to either take or pass on a certain player in exchange for other assets. None of it: just 26 picks according to the unprotected list, and no side deals at all.
This would significantly impact the Predators, who in real life made several excellent trades that helped their team both in the short term and down the road. Kimmo Timonen was part of one such trade; Tomas Vokoun was an actual pick that was made to secure another asset coming back. These are the most prominent, but far from the only ones. In the case of Atlanta, the opposite would be true; they made several trades, most of which I wouldn’t have done then.
But our focus is on the here and now. So this is the second Predators expansion draft, this time without any trades allowed.
1st – Mike Dunham from New Jersey. No change here, as we’ll take the young franchise goalie and never look back.
2nd – Andrew Brunette from Washington. No change here either.
3rd – Doug Brown from Detroit. No change in this spot.
4th – Greg Johnson from Chicago. No change here. In reality, Chicago wanted to hold onto backup goalie Chris Terreri badly enough that they traded Sergei Krivokrasov to Nashville in order to make sure that they wouldn’t lose Terreri. Even without this incentive, Johnson is the pick.
5th– Brett Hull from St. Louis. We took Murray Craven from San Jose in the spot the first time around. Since we’ll need to focus on securing the high compensatory picks first, this change happens here. The original trade involved Nashville drafting Blair Atcheynum and receiving Darren Turcotte and a guaranteed 2nd-round draft pick. With no trades, this obviously can’t take place and we need to burn a free agent spot on Hull.
6th – Mike Richter from New York (Rangers). He’s still the pick here, most likely netting us a compensatory 2nd-rounder.
7th – Uwe Krupp from Colorado. This is our third free agent spot burned out of six, but he’ll get us our third 2nd-rounder in next year’s draft.
8th – Mike Sullivan from Boston. He’ll still be the pick in this draft as well, but we’ll hold onto him instead of trading him to Phoenix.
9th – Paul Coffey from Philadelphia. The original pick was Craig Darby, and in exchange for taking him and/or passing on Coffey, Nashville received Dominic Roussel and Jeff Staples. Since there’s no trading, we’ll just take the future first-ballot Hall of Famer.
10th – Kevin Dineen from Carolina. Paul Ranheim was our pick in the first one, and although there was no trade or free agent spot involved, the pickup of Coffey is pushing our team in a slightly different direction.
11th – Manny Fernandez from Dallas. No change with this pick; we’ll take the young goalie as our backup; if he develops then great, and if not oh well.
12th – Zdeno Ciger from Edmonton. Another pick that’s the same; the cash we save if he doesn’t come back to North America will help offset the cost of Coffey and others.
13th – Garry Galley from Los Angeles. The original pick from Los Angeles was goalie Frederic Chabot, for which the Kings would also give us Kimmo Timonen and Jan Vopat. By taking Galley, we’re gambling that he and Coffey (both over 35 years old) will be able to give us a few years while we backfill the farm system.
14th – Per Gustafsson from Ottawa. There aren’t many puck-moving defensemen that we can choose from, and Gustafsson should slot right in with Galley and Coffey to really be able to roll offense from the back end.
15th – J.J. Daigneault from the New York Islanders. This pick is unchanged.
16th – Peter Popovic from Montreal. So far, out blueline is a lot of puck movement but not a lot of shutdown defense. Popovic’s mobility and massive reach should take care of that quite nicely.
17th – Derek King from Toronto. This pick is unchanged.
18th – Vladimir Vujtek from Tampa Bay. This pick is unchanged.
19th – Bob Boughner from Buffalo. This pick is unchanged.
20th – Mikhail Shtalenkov from Anaheim – He’s only the third goalie taken that we’re planning on keeping past July 1, which is also about the time that several teams start needing new starting goalies…
21st – Murray Craven from San Jose. This pick is unchanged, and it’s also our last free agent spot. We’ll have to take either defected players or ones under contract with our last five picks.
22nd – Mike Stapleton from Phoenix. The speedy defensive winger should go well in our bottom six.
23rd – Scott Walker from Vancouver. An unchanged pick, but with the way our defense is forming up, it may be necessary to move him back to his original position in a pinch.
24th – Aaron Gavey from Calgary. We’ll be able to give him plenty of ice time and find his game, a luxury he hasn’t really had to this point.
25th – Johan Garpenlov from Florida. He should be able to slot in on any line.
26th – Tony Hrkac from Pittsburgh. He’s actually not on the original draft board, but we’ve used all of our free agent spots and he’s the next guy we’d consider and he also happens to not be a pending free agent. Hrkac should bring some offense to the team, and he’ll be given plenty of chances to succeed.
- Mike Richter – will not be signed
- Mike Dunham
- Manny Fernandez
- Mikhail Shtalenkov
- Paul Coffey
- Garry Galley
- Per Gustafsson
- Uwe Krupp – will not be signed
- Peter Popovic
- JJ Daigneault
- Bob Boughner
- Greg Johnson
- Mike Sullivan
- Aaron Gavey
- Mike Stapleton
- Tony Hrkac
- Andrew Brunette
- Zdeno Ciger – unsigned, playing in Europe
- Derek King
- Vladimir Vujtek – playing in Europe
- Murray Craven
- Johan Garpenlov
- Doug Brown
- Brett Hull – will not be signed
- Kevin Dineen
- Scott Walker
Obviously, there are quite a few flaws here besides the fact that there’s not much depth beyond these players. And this leads into the other problem, which is that an expansion draft without trades being allowed involving the expansion team will lead to building system depth starting on July 1 in free agency. This would simply lead to the new team devoting an increasingly large amount of their budget on the player payroll not to improve the team, but to simply be able to make it through a season when injuries inevitably start piling up or ineffective players need moved out.
In this particular scenario, I went with a more veteran team, particularly among the defensemen. Without being able to trade, they’ll have the most value as short-term rentals as the playoffs approach and we’re likely far out of it. This will allow us the chance to build up some system depth, albeit a year later than it should be.