[UPDATE: The pick is official. Goodbye, Brayden.]
We are still a few hours away from the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft (details here!), but selections are leaking out across the league, and the Los Angeles Kings are no exception. It looks like about 20% of you are devastated.
With their apparent selection of Brayden McNabb in the expansion draft, the Vegas Golden Knights chose a sort-of-young defenseman with an expiring contract and a questionable path forward in the National Hockey League. The initial report came from John Hoven of Mayor’s Manor and has been “confirmed” by a number of sources.
Sources lead us to believe LA Kings will be losing defenseman Brayden McNabb to Vegas Golden Knights in #NHLExpansionDraft— The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) June 21, 2017
Team can't actually confirm, but yes, the indications are that McNabb has been selected by Vegas.— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) June 21, 2017
For the Kings, this is likely the best possible outcome from the expansion draft. There is no question that McNabb is an NHL-caliber defender but at 26 - turning 27 - any talk of his potential has grown stale. The debate over whether the organization should have even exposed McNabb – I refuse to let it go without one last jab – is now moot, and the improved play of Derek Forbort and growth of Kevin Gravel ensured the team’s depth on defense.
Losing Nic Dowd would have hurt the organization’s NHL-ready center depth and likely led them to spend precious assets on filing the gap. Had the Golden Knights selected Trevor Lewis, the other most-likely candidate,
I would have gone into an emotional spiral the team would have lost another capable center coming off the most productive season of his career as well as a leader in the locker room and local community.
So what now? Likely some kind of trade none of us see coming, though it is worth noting that the Golden Knights also have reportedly selected James Neal, and Elliotte Friedman just so happened to mention that name the other day... stay tuned, everyone.