Unlike the potential center options in expansion, the possible left wing choices are mostly comprised veteran players in their late twenties. Not many left wing players will be exposed with high upside. Having said that, these are the best left-wing options in the expansion draft for the Vegas Golden Knights.
Best Left Wing Options in Expansion for the Vegas Golden Knights
Fortunately for the Arizona Coyotes, most of their talented young forwards will be exempt from the expansion draft. It’s quite possible the Coyotes protect four defensemen and that would open the door for Jamie McGinn to be exposed.
The 28-year old, 6’1″, 205 lbs winger is a solid player. McGinn has bounced around but had 22 goals last year and 41 the last two years. So far this year McGinn has four goals. He is signed for two more years with an annual cap hit of $3.33 million. He could be a good stop-gap player for Vegas and George McPhee.
Because the Boston Bruins have so many no-movement clauses and forwards to protect, odds are Matt Beleskey will be exposed in expansion. The 28-year old, 6’0″, 200lbs winger has lit the lamp 37 times the last two years prior to this season. However, this year Beleskey only has two goals and is now out six weeks with an injury. Beleskey is signed for another three seasons with a $3.8 million cap hit.
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The Buffalo Sabres will offer a tempting possibility at left wing for the Golden Knights: Evander Kane. It’s hard to believe the former fourth overall draft pick is only 25 years old.
In the 2011-12, Kane scored a career-high 30 goals, and it looked like he was going to become one of the league’s premier scorers. With injuries, off-ice incidents, and inconsistent play, he’s a risk/reward player, and it’s possible Vegas may not be willing to take that risk. Kane is only signed through next season with a $5.25 million cap hit and then becomes an unrestricted free agent.
A deep sleeper expansion pick could be Phillip Di Giuseppe of the Carolina Hurricanes. Yes, the 23-year old Di Giuseppe has struggled mightily this year (two points in 17 games, minus-8 & AHL stint) however, the 6’0”, 200lbs winger did post seven goals and 17 points in 41 games last season.
Colin Wilson is coming off the worst year of his career. Two years ago Wilson had 20 goals and 42 points. However last year Wilson’s offensive production was poor with just six goals and 24 points.
So far this year, Wilson has been a solid contributor offensively for the Nashville Predators, as he has posted five goals and 12 points. If he can bounce back to his level from a couple of years ago, Wilson will garner strong consideration from the Golden Knights. He is signed for two more years with a $3.9 million cap hit.
New York Islanders
The former Notre Dame product has regained his scoring touch recently (eight goals this season) and has hit the twine 40 times the last two seasons.
The Philadelphia Flyers are not going to offer many choices in expansion. The 6’00”, 195 lbs, Michael Raffl is a good two-way forward who can add secondary scoring. He has 8 points in 21 games this season, but tallied 28 in 67 in 2014-15.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Either Alex Killorn or Vladislav Namestnikov will be a Vegas Golden Knight next season. The 27-year old Killorn is a top-six forward can help a team on both ends of the ice. He signed for another six years with an annual cap hit of $4.45 million.
There will be some interesting options at left-wing for the Vegas front office.