Here at BSH, we’ve been making jokes for a few months now about the idea that the Vegas Golden Knights might take Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth in the NHL Expansion Draft.
The conspiracy theory has been peddled by our loving podcast host, Bill Matz, who is convinced that the Flyers’ trade deadline day contract extension on Neuvy was part of an elaborate plan where they’d ultimately lose him to Vegas. It’s true that they might not protect him from the Expansion Draft — although we won’t really know that until June 18 when the lists are made public — but would Vegas even bite?
Their general manager, George McPhee, had Neuvirth as his starting goaltender while both were with the Washington Capitals, and McPhee had something nice to say about Neuvy at the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo on Saturday:
We don’t know the context around this, as there are truly like eight media people at the friggin’ NHL Combine. It’s not hard to imagine a world in which McPhee takes a player he’s familiar with in the Expansion Draft, but Neuvirth had an absolutely terrible year last year and that can’t be lost either.
Also keep in mind that sure, McPhee drafted Neuvirth and had him in Washington for years. He also traded Neuvirth to the Buffalo Sabres in 2014 for a better goalie and a third-round pick. So, you know. Let’s not get too excited about his love for the guy.
There are likely to be several other quality goaltenders available in the Expansion Draft, such as Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury. Vegas is required to take at least three goalies out of the 30 picks they will make. We have to think they’ll take the best available goalie, which could be Fleury, but also that they’ll try to go as young as they can in trying to find their goalie of the future.