As the news trickles in ahead of the NHL Awards show, we finally have news of Calgary’s loss during the expansion draft. The Vegas Golden Knights have reportedly selected, and will presumably sign, 35-year-old defenceman Deryk Engelland.
— Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) June 21, 2017
Honestly, this is probably the safest bet you could make for Vegas’ team. Engelland has a home in Vegas and first broke into the pros on the ECHL’s Wranglers. Ever since the news came out that Vegas was getting a team, it was kinda obvious that Engelland would sign there.
But it still doesn’t make sense that Vegas would actually use their pick on Engelland. Of course, the Flames had little to offer in the ways of exposed players, but if he was inevitably signing there, why not grab another asset and then sign him anyways? Vegas’ decision is a curious one.
This news comes with its good side. Many expected Brett Kulak to be Vegas’ pick. As the leaks came through, it became clear that Vegas had loaded up on left-handed defencemen. Early reports suggest that they have five. Kulak couldn’t possibly be in their plans if they have that many. Instead, he will likely return to the Flames and anchor the third pairing after a stellar season in Stockton combined with some brief appearances with the big team. Really, it would be a positive outcome regardless if Kulak remained a Flame at the end of the day.
This news is also sort of bad, primarily because the Flames don’t open up a new spot. Many hoped the Flames would lose Troy Brouwer (this was always optimistic), Alex Chiasson, or Matt Stajan, opening up a valuable forward spot on a congested roster for a UFA signing or a prospect. That can’t happen anymore, and the Flames are going to have to get creative if they want to breathe fresh life into their forward corps.
This post will be updated if more details become available.