Detroit — The NHL expansion draft will sting the Red Wings — just not in the way many felt it would.
Several national reports out of Las Vegas are stating the Red Wings will lose forward Tomas Nosek in the expansion draft tonight to the Vegas Golden Knights.
The selections will be officially announced Wednesday night during the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas.
Nosek was chosen by the expansion team over NHL regulars such as goalie Petr Mrazek, defenseman Xavier Ouellet, and forward Riley Sheahan — three players largely being pegged as potential expansion picks by the Golden Knights.
But, instead, Vegas went after arguably one of the Red Wings’ top minor-league prospects in Nosek, who was expected to graduate to the NHL next season.
Nosek (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) played in 11 games with the Red Wings late last season and scored his first NHL goal, with no assists and a minus-1 plus-minus rating.
Having improved his skating and being more aggressive around the net, Nosek looked much more confident and comfortable than his previous short NHL stint in 2015-16.
In Grand Rapids last season, Nosek had a good regular season with 15 goals and 26 assists (41 points) in 51 games with the Griffins.
But it was the in the playoffs where Nosek was especially impressive, and may have influenced the Golden Knights’ decision.
Nosek was one of the Griffins’ best players on their way to a Calder Cup, leading the team with 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 19 games, including a team-leading five power-play goals.
Losing Nosek will now, likely, force the Red Wings to search for a fourth-line forward in trade or free agency.
The Red Wings also still have a glut of goalies with Mrazek going unclaimed by Vegas.
Jimmy Howard, Jared Coreau and Mrazek all remain on the roster, with an abundance of goalies available throughout the league, too, decreasing the chances of a trade.
Losing Nosek also does little to help the Red Wings’ salary cap situation.
The Red Wings have 17 players (out of a 23-man roster) signed for roughly $67.1 million.
The NHL salary cap will be $75 million — with restricted free agents Tomas Tatar, Andreas Athanasiou and Ouellet needing new contracts.