If you ran the Knights, which Bolt would you want?

by Gary Shelton on June 19, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Would the Knights want Paquette?

Would the Knights want Paquette?

Monday, 4 a.m.

You are Vegas. You are the Strip. You are loaded dice.

You have a locker between Sigfried and Roy. You eat figs with Wayne Newton. You went to school with Dan Tanna. Your dad used to hang out with Bugsy Siegel and Moe Greene. Your second-favorite team is the Flying Elvises, Utah chapter.

Your first team?

Why, it's the Golden Knights, of course.

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Sustr has played a lot of defense for the Lighthning

Sustr has played a lot of defense for the Lighthning

And so today, you look at the list of the available players from the other NHL teams. Yes, the lists are interesting. No, they are not intimidating.

This is how expansion drafts work. They are not designed to expose current-day stars. They are designed so a team can be watchable as it builds. No team has to strip itself to satisfy the demands.

With that in mind, you eventually get to the list of Tampa Bay Lightning players who are available.

Which one do you choose?

No, you can't have Steven Stamkos. Or Nikita Kucherov or Victor Hedman or the rest of the Triplets. Still, there are some interesting options.

1. Cedric Paquette: Paquette isn't a scorer, but he's a valuable piece of a team, a feisty player who can shadow the other team's star. Stamkos once said of Paquette: “He's the kind of guy you want on your team, and he's the kind of guy you hate playing against.” The Knights are probably going to try to squeeze every goal out of their expansion list. Paquette would be a nice complimentary piece.

2. Andrej Sustr: Sustr has played 229 games for the Lightning over the last three years. He can be a frustrating player, but he has size and reach. He's still only 26. The Knights could do worse.

Garrison is experienced, but is he too old?

Garrison is experienced, but is he too old?/JEFFREY S. KING

3. Jake Dochin: If the Knights want to go younger than Sustr, there is Dochin, who played 35 games for the Bolts last year. He's only 23, and he's just becoming a player. Do the Knights want right now or the future?

4. Slater Koekkoek: Koekkoek didn't play as many NHL games as Dochin  last year. Still, he's , a former No. 1 draft pick who has shown flashes, which may put him above Dochin on the Knights' radar.  If the Bolts do lose Sustr, then Koekkoek could be in line for a promotion. But at 23, he could be attractive to the Knights, as well.

5. J.T. Brown: Brown isn't the scorer you want, but he mixes it up pretty good. Still, wouldn't you rather have Paquette or a young defenseman?

6. Jason Garrison: Garrison has probably had the best career of any Lightning player on the list. Still, he turns 33 in November. I'd pass.

7. Kristers Gudlevskis: He's been a dependable minor-leaguer for the Bolts. That alone is liable to make him interesting for the Knights. But if Vegas can land Marc-Andre Fluery, they might prefer to go another direction.
Ranking the options: 1. Paquette. 2. Koekoek. 3. Sustr.

Koekkoek is a former No. 1 draft pick.

Koekkoek is a former No. 1 draft pick.

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