Teams that win throughout the course of the regular season and go deep in the Stanley Cup Playoffs are equipped with a bottom 6 unit capable of carrying the load when the elite scorers are coming up empty.
With the NHL Expansion Draft getting closer and closer Vegas Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee will need to construct a bottom six unit that will allow his club to have success on the ice.
Will take a look at the available talent he’ll pull from in accomplishing this difficult task. A lot of GM’s out there know the struggle of finding depth scorers, teams like the San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Tampa Bay Lightning are just a few teams around the league that have been fortunate to find these pieces.
Ever since the team was awarded the franchise by the league George McPhee and his scouting team have been participating in monthly mock drafts in hopes of finding those pieces to their puzzle when the Expansion Draft does come in June.
It’s no secret that when it comes to depth scoring Joel Ward of the San Jose Sharks fits the bill in which General Managers around the look for to strengthen their offensive punch.
In the 2015 NHL Free Agency period Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson signed the former Washington Capitals forward Joel Ward to a three year deal at $9.75 million.
Ward in his first season with San Jose was a workhorse on the team’s third line. The right winger scored a 21 goals and registered 22 assists in the regular season. In San Jose’s deep playoff run to their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals Ward answered the call again the secondary scoring department when tallied in 24 games 7 goals and 6 assists.
This season Ward’s production has dipped a little with San Jose as he has thru 64 games 7 goals and 18 assists.
For McPhee Ward is no stranger to him as the 36 year old played for the Capitals organization from 2011-2015. In 276 games with Washington Ward scored 57 goals and 64 assists. In the 2013-2014 season Ward set a career high in goals at 24.
Ward’s veteran presence on the bottom six would be a huge asset if McPhee selects him at the Expansion Draft.
Another player that McPhee could consider in forming his secondary unit is current St. Louis Blues forward Patrik Berglund.
In 2006 the Blues selected Berglund in the 1st round at 25th overall. The 8 year NHL veteran forward has played for St. Louis in which he has seen time skating on the team’s top 6 group. However he in recent seasons Berglund has been demoted to the Blues bottom six unit.
Berglund’s versatility allows him to play all forward positions on any line he is assigned to.
Earlier this season Berglund and the Blues organization agreed on a 5 year contract extension rated at $19.75 million.
In 555 games with St. Louis Berglund has scored 128 goals and tallied 134 assists. During their Stanley Cup Playoff run last season Berglund recorded 4 and 5 assists in 20 games.
With the way things are played in the Western Conference having Partik Berglund could be another asset for McPhee.
Originally selected by the Sharks back in 2007 the 6th round draft pick never saw time with San Jose.
Doug Wilson traded Bonino along with Timo Pielmeier to Pacific Division rival Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Travis Moen and Kent Huskins and a conditional pick of the 2009 NHL Draft.
It was with the Ducks that saw Bonino’s NHL career take off. In his five seasons with Anaheim Bonino recorded 39 goals and 65 assists. He also spent time with the Vancouver Canucks where he registered 15 goals and 24 assists in 75 games played.
Another trade in his career saw Bonino go to Pittsburgh where continued to develop his game. In just two seasons with the Penguins Bonino has scored 21 goals and tallied 36 assists. During their Stanley Cup run Bonino helped the Penguins with producing 18 points in 24 games.
With leadership and experience McPhee should take a hard a look at Bonino as he is the type of player that works hard something the Vegas Golden Knights General Manager likes. He’s also a solid two way forward and can be depended on when the game is on the line.
Drafted back in 2006 at 17th overall in the 1st round by Dean Lombardi the Kings General Manager retooled Los Angeles with Trevor Lewis.
Lewis is no softy as he one of the Kings blue collar players in their bottom 6 forward group. He comes to work and works hard on his game and brings the energy needed in your secondary unit.
In 424 games with Los Angeles Lewis has scored 35 goals and 54 assists which definitely not Patrik Berglund numbers nevertheless he can be called upon in scoring points with playing on the 3rd or 4th line. He also uses his speed and two way play as a major asset.
With 75 Stanley Cup Playoffs game to his credit Lewis has 11 goals and 22 assists. He was an important piece to the Kings in their 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup runs.
When selecting from the Los Angeles Kings McPhee should grab Lewis as he understands how to play the tough Pacific Division and Western Conference style of hockey.
Beagle is another player that George McPhee is very familiar with as he signed the un-drafted forward back in 2008. The 8 year veteran forward has skated on Washington’s bottom 6 since the 2008-2009 season.
He’s not known for producing goals and assists in droves nevertheless Beagle has the size of being that third line checking forward. Beagle has played in 311 games with the Washington Capitals which he recorded 31 goals and 33 assists.
This season he recorded 11 goals and 15 assists thru 65 games. His 11 goals on the season is a career high for him.
As a third line forward he plays the boards with his physical game and can standup for his fellow teammates.
McPhee will be watching the Capitals closely as they are currently the leaders in wins and points in the standings. Beagle would be a great pickup by McPhee at the Expansion Draft this June.
The former Detroit Red Wing and Tampa Bay Lightning forward completes the list of depth scorers that George McPhee should consider in selecting at the Expansion Draft.
Drafted by Detroit in 2002 in the 3rd round the Finnish forward played with a huge talent pool in the Red Wings organization ranging from Pavel Datsyuk, Tomas Holmstrom, Darren Helm, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Mikael Samuelsson, and Juri Hudler.
In 6 seasons with the Wingwheel Filppula recorded 90 goals and registered 143 assists in 406 games played. He also played with the Tampa Bay Lightning under former Detroit Red Wings forward and Captain Steve Yzerman from 2013-2017.
During his 4 seasons as a member with the Bolts Filppula had a career high in the 2013-2014 season when he scored 25 goals. Before being traded to Philadelphia Filppula played in 292 games with the Lightning and produced 52 goals and 119 assists.
Has made three trips to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2008 and 2009 with Detroit, and 2015 with Tampa Bay.
The Finnish forward is a work hard type of player that is extremely dedicated at this game and is responsible on the ice. Filppula is the ideal forward that McPhee needs to snag.