There have been more than a dozen expansions or contractions within the history of the National Hockey League. Many people consider the 1942 season as the start to the NHL with the original six teams battling each other for 25 seasons before the biggest expansion happened at the start of the 1967 season.

Six teams entered the league that year, doubling the size of the NHL with California, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and St. Louis joining the club.

Of course there were rules to how the new members would be stocked with players. The new teams were allowed to select 20 players(two goalies and 18 skaters) and the established teams were allowed to protect one goalie and 11 other players. There was an exemption for junior players and teams could add other names to their protected list as the draft went on.

There were several other expansion drafts held over the next three decades with the last one being in 2000 when Columbus and Minnesota (Wild) entered the league.

There were 28 teams at that time and 26 of them were allowed to protect one goalie, five defensemen and nine forwards or two goalies, three defensemen and seven forwards.

Nashville and Atlanta (Thrashers) were allowed to protect their entire rosters as they were the new kids on the block.

This time around the Golden Knights will get to select one player from each of the 30 teams and those teams have two options to protect players-seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie or eight skaters and a goalie.

It seems the league has been somewhat fair when it comes to allowing teams to both protect and select players as the year have gone by. The 1974 draft which welcomed Washington and Kansas City to league was a strange one however as there doesn’t seem to be a record of what the rules were. One might conclude the rules were garbage after looking at who was picked in the draft. Michel Plasse and Ron Low were the first picks of the Scouts and Caps in that order. The first forwards were Simone Nolet and Dave Kryskow. You get the picture as many will have to google those names.

The most penal draft rule edict came in 1979 when the upstart WHA folded and Edmonton, New England, Quebec and Winnipeg were granted NHL franchises. To nobody’s surprise the NHL made certain these teams were not going to win anything in the near future as the league “allowed” them to protect four players in the form of two skaters and two goalies. The NHL teams who held the rights of WHA players were also allowed to reclaim those players which further penalized the WHA franchises.

Two notes of interest came out of that draft. Quebec gave Chicago a first round draft pick in order to keep Real Cloutier. That pick turned out to be Denis Savard.

The other involved the Edmonton Oilers who were allowed to keep Wayne Gretzky as he had signed a personal services contract with Peter Pocklington and not a standard players contract. Gretzky’s rights were not owned by any NHL team so he could have been put into the draft pool and possibly selected first overall by Colorado. The Oilers also agreed to select last in every round of the draft to fill up their roster after being ravaged by the NHL teams.

I suppose that turned out o.k..

It will be interesting to see what stories will emerge from this draft but you have to think Las Vegas will be reasonably competitive in their first year although there are those who would take that bet and put money down against it.

I mean, it is Vegas.