"But it's something I definitely knew would eventually come. That was a warm welcome, and I'm getting excited about it".
The Golden Knights had three first round selections in the NHL Entry Draft picking two forwards and one defenseman. Vegas also opted for another forward prospect with its second of three picks in the first round, taking Nick Suzuki at No. 12 before selecting Swedish defenseman Erik Brannstrom with the 15th pick.
The Golden Knights might not be a playoff team, but they also might not finish last next season.
Effectively stocking up their prospect cupboards from scratch, McPhee and director of amateur scouting Scott Luce seemed to go with a pretty simple strategy: keep most of your picks and try to accumulate a lot of different types of players with attributes you think translate well to the pro level.
It has been 17 years since the NHL had an expansion draft when the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild entered the league. The three-time Cup victor lost his starting job with the back-to-back champion Penguins, but he'll get to start over in the desert with two years on his contract. There are just five players signed for more than two seasons, and one of them is David Clarkson, who's never going to play hockey again but was acquired just so Vegas could reach the salary floor. Fleury said it with his big, shiny smile, flashing the humility and kindness that made him a fan favorite over 13 seasons tending goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Fleury will have some help in that community outreach from a local.
"My roots are here", Engelland said. Taylor Hall is a great scoring winger, and Pavel Zacha and Michael McLeod are great prospects, but none of them project as the kind of dominant No. 1 center that often anchors great teams. "For it to finally happen, it's unbelievable".
It was a short jaunt for the 35-year-old blueliner from his off-season home in the suburbs of Summerlin - which made the decision even easier for both parties. The Vegas Golden Knights selected Methot in the expansion draft, Wednesday, June 21.
The Golden Knights also announced additional acquisitions of a handful of veterans and free agents, including Anaheim defenseman Shea Theodore and Florida forward Reilly Smith. "This has worked out very well for the Vegas Golden Knights, and we expect to put a good, entertaining club on the ice".
McPhee's predecessor and successor with the Capitals: While it was a good night for McPhee, who previously held the same post in Washington, the expansion draft wasn't so kind to the man McPhee replaced with the Capitals (David Poile) and the one who stepped in after McPhee was sacked in 2014 (Brian MacLellan). "What surprised me was the quality of some of our forwards that we were able to get out of this situation, moving players around". He played with Shipachyov in Russian Federation, and the hope is he will eventually come to Las Vegas to play with him again. Of course, they weren't going anywhere. The point is the National Hockey League draft is often very hard to predict and there will be awesome players that come out of this draft.
Marc-Andre Fleury was next to speak. The NHL still had ties in 1994, so teams didn't pick up extra points through shootout wins.
The Expansion Draft was somewhat awkwardly sandwiched between announcements in the NHL Awards show, with groups of picks being revealed by owner Bill Foley and general manager George McPhee during breaks in the hardware being handed out.
The Vegas Golden Knights played the long game in constructing the base of their first very National Hockey League roster. Now he was wearing a Golden Knights' hat and jersey as the newest member of the franchise.
It's clear a team built around the likes of Connor Brickley and Clayton Stoner and Chris Thorburn is a team built to struggle and veer Vegas toward lottery selections in years to come.