Calvin Pickard Selected No. 1 by Vegas Golden Knights in 2017 Expansion Draft

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2017

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 23: Calvin Pickard #31 of the Colorado Avalanche makes a save against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on December 23, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Calvin Pickard is the first member of the Vegas Golden Knights after the franchise selected him first overall in the 2017 NHL expansion draft.

The Knights confirmed the selection on Twitter:

Vegas Golden Knights @GoldenKnights

We've selected Calvin Pickard of @Avalanche as our 1st #VegasDraft pick. He becomes the 10th straight goalie to go 1st in an Expansion Draft https://t.co/QByKOJNAAn

The Colorado Avalanche reacted to the selection as well:

Colorado Avalanche @Avalanche

Good luck in Vegas, Picks. https://t.co/E5yukGLCeA

Pickard appeared in 50 games for the Avalanche this past season, going 15-31-2. He had a .904 save percentage and allowed 2.98 goals a game.

The Denver Post's Mike Chambers was disappointed to see Pickard leave the Mile High City:

Mike Chambers @MikeChambers

Just a shame, #Avs. Calvin Pickard is ideal NHL backup. Just a fantastic person and teammate.

The 25-year-old is entering the final year of his contract before he becomes a restricted free agent, and he'll earn $1.075 million.

TSN's Pierre LeBrun reported before the draft the Knights plan on selecting Marc-Andre Fleury, with the Pittsburgh Penguins throwing in a draft pick to sweeten the deal. Assuming Fleury is a part of Vegas' future, using the No. 1 pick on Pickard makes even more sense.

Fleury can be the regular starter between the pipes, bringing a certain level of star power to the franchise by virtue of his role in helping the Pittsburgh Penguins win three Stanley Cups. Pickard can be a solid backup, spelling Fleury when the team wants to give him a rest or filling in when the veteran goaltender is dealing with an injury.

The 2000-01 season was the last time the NHL welcomed in an expansion franchise as the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild joined the league.

In the 2000 expansion draft, the Blue Jackets selected another Avalanche goaltender, Rick Tabaracci, with the first overall pick.