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On June 22, 2016, a ceremony was held leading up to the NHL Awards to announce that Las Vegas had been the team that had successfully won the expansion bid, and that the terms for the 2017 Expansion Draft were being finalized. On the day before the team’s first birthday they selected 30 players, one from each of the other teams in the National Hockey League (to learn more about the Expansion Draft and the rules, please check out Wikipedia).
The day was fraught with emotions, as well loved players who were not on their teams protected list were plucked one by one to be added to the Vegas Golden Knights roster. Heartbreaking as it was to see beloved players leave our favourite teams, nothing brings hockey fans together like shared angst.
With the draft, Vegas has put together what looks like quite an excellent team on paper. Whether or not that will translate into on-ice success, I suppose we will have to wait and see!
Along with talent, some of the players bring something else to the table as well – looks to send fangirls and fanboys’ hearts swooning, and give fodder to the argument that women only like hockey because the players are cute (which you are absolutely within your right to shut down because heaven forbid you like a player who is also attractive).
So, in no particular order …
We start off our list with a good Canadian boy (although after compiling this list, it appears that only one of the players on it isn’t), who seems to have hit his stride playing with the Nashville Predators. So it came as a bit of a shock to see that he wasn’t on the team’s protected list.
Neal is handsome in a rugged sense, with a sick flow (aka hockey hair), and a bright, engaging smile. Plus, he has the most adorable dogs, and I don’t know about the rest of you but handsome men and dogs are definitely my kryptonite.
There have been many calling for Neal to be wear the C for the Vegas Golden Knights, but I suppose only time will tell!
The lone American on our list (which I promise was not intentional), Nate Schmidt reminds me of someone, but I can’t quite put my finger on who. I suspect it may have been someone who I went to high school with, because he definitely has that eager, boyish look!
Schmidt was a fan favourite and a budding top-four defenseman. The Washington Capitals have done their team and their fans a disservice by not including him on their protected list. But the Golden Knights have added an excellent, strong player to round out their defensive line.
With bright eyes (accentuated by lashes that I would kill for), and a smile that looks like it might crack into laughter at any moment, Schmidt definitely strikes me as the kind of guy you’d love to get a beer with, and trade stories and jokes. And speaking as a Canadian woman, there can be no higher praise.
No, it’s not James Van Der Beek, although if Brendan Leipsic entered a lookalike contest and won I wouldn’t be the least bit shocked.
Acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs, who had a remarkable season despite being a team full of literal children, Leipsic himself has not played with the team since the 2015-16 season. He played with the Toronto Marlies, the Maple Leafs’ AHL farm team most recently, and boasted a rather impressive season with 51 points.
He’s a nice looking young man (which is code for “he’s hella cute but far too young for me to say that outright”) who is sure to prove to be eye candy for fans of all ages!
Many moons ago, when he was playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) I used to taunt Fleury from the stands any time his team played against the Halifax Mooseheads. If I had known then that he would become one of the most fantastic goalies currently playing in the NHL, I may have kept my mouth shut.
Who am I kidding? No, I wouldn’t have!
Fleury, who was born in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, looks exactly how you think a handsome French Canadian would. With dark hair, a dazzling smile, and a voice that makes enduring some of the bone-headed questions that sports journalists ask of hockey players worth it, Fleury will likely be the Golden Knights’ starting goaltender. So we can look forward to seeing one of Canada’s (and Pittsburgh’s) favourite goalies between the pipes on a regular basis!
This is certainly my personal bias showing and I’m not even sorry. Pickard comes from my favourite team, and I have been distraught that he is leaving (mainly because the team’s other goaltender, who I despise, wasn’t worth protecting in my opinion – but that’s another story for a another time).
Pickard possesses the quintessential “Canadian boy next door” look, and has a heart of gold to boot. He’s frequently seen giving other players hugs (both on and off the ice) and is very kind to his fans (of which he always seems mildly surprised to have).
Calvin’s easy going smile and demeanor will be missed in Colorado, but I already know a number of his fans who will be cheering for him in Vegas as well.
Did we miss anyone? Who do you think the hottest player to pack their bags and make the move to Vegas is? Let us know in the comments!
Current Obsessions: Megan is a freelance writer from Canada, who was born on one coast and now lives on the other. Her day job is at a local research university, but she’s eagerly awaiting the day when she can focus on her writing full time. Though she’s a 90’s girl, she has an inexplicable fondness for the 80’s. She’s been watching hockey since she was in diapers, and will immediately shut down any mansplaining of the sport. She misses the snow in winter, right up until there’s some on the ground for longer than a week, then she longs for summer. Megan is a self-identified habitual ruckus causer and feminist tornado, though asking those close to her would confirm these descriptions.
Her work has been published on sites such as Obvi we’re the Ladies, Culturess, Puck Prose, Guys Girl. You can find her portfolio here. Follow her on Twitter: @megancox
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