NHL Expansion Draft all-time team


The 30 players they select will form their foundation for the 2021-22 NHL season. The Kraken have a pool of accomplished players from which to make their selections, much as the Vegas Golden Knights did four years ago. Vegas, the most recent expansion team, will not have a player selected Wednesday.

It will be the 13th expansion draft in NHL history, with 27 of the teams that have joined the NHL since 1967 going through a similar process. In that time, 519 players (464 skaters, 55 goalies) have been selected in an expansion draft.

But who were the 20 best players selected?

NHL.com formed a management group of staff writers Tim Campbell, Tom Gulitti and Pete Jensen to pick an all-time team of 12 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies, as well as a coach.

The selections were based on what the players did in their NHL careers after being selected in an expansion draft, with an emphasis on their success with the team that took them.  

Here is the NHL.com all-time expansion team (listed in alphabetical order by position):



Brian Bradley, Tampa Bay Lightning (1992) — The center was selected from the Toronto Maple Leafs and played six seasons with the Lightning. Including 42 goals and 86 points in his first season with Tampa Bay, Bradley scored 300 points (111 goals, 189 assists) in 328 games for the Lightning, .91 points per game and the best stretch of his 13-season NHL career. 

Andrew Brunette, Nashville Predators (1998) — Chosen from the Washington Capitals, Brunette played one season for the Predators then blossomed into a strong two-way player for the Atlanta Thrashers, Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche and Chicago Blackhawks, scoring 693 points (250 goals, 443 assists) in 1,048 games in the 13 seasons after he was selected. 

Gary Dornhoefer, Philadelphia Flyers (1967) — Selected from the Boston Bruins, he became a mainstay with the Flyers the following 11 seasons. Dornhoefer had five seasons of 20 or more goals and scored 518 points (202 goals, 316 assists) in 725 games with the Flyers and won the Stanley Cup in 1974 and 1975. 

Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers (1979) — Gretzky was a priority selection by the Oilers (WHA) when Edmonton, the Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets joined the NHL that year. He became the NHL’s all-time leading scorer with 2,857 points (894 goals, 1,963 assists) in 1,487 games during 20 seasons with the Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers. Gretzky was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999, the year he retired, and his career included winning the Stanley Cup four times with the Oilers, the Hart Trophy as MVP nine times, the Art Ross Trophy as scoring champion 10 times and the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP twice.

Bill Goldsworthy, Minnesota North Stars (1967) — Selected from the Bruins, Goldsworthy rewarded the North Stars by scoring 506 points (267 goals, 239 assists) in 670 games during the next 10 seasons. His eight career hat tricks for Minnesota remains second in North Stars/Dallas Stars history behind Dino Ciccarelli (14).

William Karlsson, Vegas Golden Knights (2017) — Selected from the Columbus Blue Jackets, Karlsson led Vegas in goals (43; third in NHL) and points (78) in 82 games during its inaugural season of 2017-18 and has helped the Golden Knights reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2018 and at least the third round in three of their first four seasons. He leads Vegas with 96 goals in 283 games.

Jonathan Marchessault, Vegas Golden Knights (2017) — Selected from the Florida Panthers, the center leads the Golden Knights in assists (133), points (225), power-play points (50) and shots on goal (957) through their first four seasons. He also leads them with 21 goals in 66 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Scott Mellanby, Florida Panthers (1993) — Selected from the Oilers, Mellanby is the Panthers’ all-time leader in power-play goals (66 in 552 games) and among their best in goals (157, fourth), assists (197, seventh) and points (354, fifth). Mellanby led Florida with 70 points (32 goals, 38 assists) in 79 regular-season games in 1995-96, was an NHL All-Star that season and reached the Stanley Cup Final twice (1996, Panthers; 1987, Flyers).

J.P. Parise, Oakland Seals (1967) — The two-time NHL All-Star (1970, 1973) was selected from the Montreal Canadiens and scored 594 points (238 goals, 356 assists) in 890 NHL games for five teams, mostly with the North Stars (nine seasons) and New York Islanders (four). He also played for Canada in the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union. Parise, the father of current NHL player Zach Parise, died Jan. 7, 2015.

David Perron, Vegas Golden Knights (2017) –– Selected from the Blues, Perron led the Golden Knights in assists (50) and was their third-leading scorer (66 points in 70 games) behind Karlsson (78) and Marchessault (75) in their inaugural season before returning to the Blues as a free agent. He has scored 230 points (83 goals, 147 assists) in 254 games since being selected, won the Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019 and was an NHL All-Star in 2020.

Geoff Sanderson, Columbus Blue Jackets (2000) — Selected from the Buffalo Sabres, Sanderson was an immediate hit with Columbus. In his first three seasons, he led the Blue Jackets in goals (75) and scored their second-most points (139), including their most goals (30) and points (56 in 68 games) in their inaugural season of 2000-01. Sanderson scored 700 points (355 goals, 345 assists) in 1,104 NHL games and reached the Stanley Cup Final with Buffalo in 1999.

Ed Westfall, New York Islanders (1972) — Selected from the Bruins, with whom he won the Stanley Cup with in 1970 and 1972, Westfall was the first captain of the Islanders. He helped lead them to their first Stanley Cup Playoff appearance in 1975, when they lost to the Flyers in seven games in the semifinals. Westfall scored 625 points (231 goals, 394 assists) in 1,226 NHL games.

Also considered: Alain Cote, Nordiques (1979); Erik Haula, Golden Knights (2017); Greg Johnson, Predators (1998); Gerry Meehan, Sabres (1970); Scott Walker, Predators (1998)



Lee Fogolin, Edmonton Oilers (1979) — Selected from the Sabres, Fogolin provided a steadying defensive presence for a team filled with offensive stars. Fogolin was captain when the Oilers reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 1983 — Gretzky was named captain the following season — and won the Cup with them in 1984 and 1985. He played 586 regular-season games during eight seasons with Edmonton.

Mark Howe, Hartford Whalers (1979) — The Whalers used a priority selection to retain Howe when they joined the NHL from the WHA, and he played alongside father Gordie and brother Marty during the Whalers inaugural NHL season. During his 16 NHL seasons, Mark Howe was voted to the NHL First All-Star Team three times, finished second in the voting for the Norris Trophy (top defenseman) three times and reached the Cup Final with Philadelphia (1985, 1987) and the Detroit Red Wings (1995). He joined his father in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.

Gord Murphy, Florida Panthers (1993) — After being selected from the Stars, who acquired him in a trade with the Bruins four days before the expansion draft, Murphy scored an NHL career-high 43 points (14 goals, 29 assists) in 1993-94, which remain the most by a defenseman in an expansion season. He played six seasons for the Panthers, helping them reach the 1996 Stanley Cup Final, before being traded to the Thrashers, another expansion team, in 1999.

Jimmy Roberts, St. Louis Blues (1967) — A two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Canadiens (1965, 1966), Roberts was selected to play in the NHL All-Star Game in 1969 and 1970 with the Blues and helped them reach the Cup Final in each of their first three seasons. Roberts, who also played forward, was traded back to the Canadiens in 1971 and won the Cup with them three more times (1973, 1976, 1977) before returning to the Blues for his final NHL season in 1977-78.

Nate Schmidt, Vegas Golden Knights (2017) — Selected from the Capitals, with whom he played his first four NHL seasons. Schmidt was with the Golden Knights for three seasons, scoring 97 points (21 goals, 76 assists) in 196 games before he was traded to the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 12, 2020. He scored 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 54 games this season for Vancouver.

Joe Watson, Philadelphia Flyers (1967) — After being selected by the Bruins, Watson played 11 seasons for the Flyers and one for the Colorado Rockies. He scored 200 points (36 goals, 164 assists) in 762 games for the Flyers and Rockies and won the Stanley Cup with Philadelphia in 1974 and 1975. He was selected to play in the NHL All-Star Game in 1974 and 1977.

Also considered: Dave Babych, North Stars (1991); Rod Seiling, Blues (1967); Filip Kuba, Wild (2000); Shawn Chambers, Lightning (1992).



Bernie Parent, Philadelphia Flyers (1967) — Parent played two seasons for the Bruins before being selected by the Flyers. Following a trade to the Maple Leafs during the 1971-72 season and a stint with the Philadelphia Blazers of the WHA (1972-73), Parent returned to lead the Flyers to the Stanley Cup in 1974 and 1975, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP each season. He set an NHL record with 47 wins in 1973-74, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984 and was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in 2017.

Billy Smith, New York Islanders (1972) — Selected from the Kings after playing five NHL games in 1971-72, Smith became the Islanders’ feisty backbone during their run of four consecutive Stanley Cup championships from 1980-1983. The first winner of the Vezina Trophy after it became the award for the NHL’s top goalie in 1981-82, Smith also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1983. His 304 wins are most with an expansion team. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993 and was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in 2017.

Also considered: Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights (2017) 

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