Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

Kunitz, Fleury left unprotected in National Hockey League expansion draft

The Vegas Golden Knights are the league's first expansion franchise in almost two decades, and they will begin play in 2017-18 after selecting at least one player from each of the other 30 teams in the NHL. The protected players from Las Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft have been released. Vegas, which will play in the Western Conference's Pacific Division, must select one player from each of the 30 National Hockey League teams and must have a roster with a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies.

But Vegas general manager George McPhee has a simple solution for those teams that don't want to part with their star players.

What is the strategy, what are the Golden Knights trying to accomplish through the expansion draft? .

Key among those rumors and assumptions was that the Anaheim Ducks and Golden Knights have a deal in place that involves Sami Vatanen. Their selections will be revealed later to the public later Wednesday night at the 2017 NHL Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

In addition, the Vegas front office owns a lot of bargaining power in being able to offer not to select certain players in exchange for different assets. Teams can also protect players that are potential unrestricted free agents as of July 1.

"We were expecting this mass re-distribution of players".

"You can negotiate your way out of this if you wish", McPhee said his message is to other GMs. Also needing to be accommodated are defenceman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and goalie Martin Jones, with a year to run on their deals and significant raises due.

In trading away Drouin, the Lightning opened up one more space on their protection list, which might mean 24-year-old centre Vladislav Namestnikov remaining in Tampa.

Doug Armstrong and company protected forwards Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny, Vladimir Sobotka, Patrik Berglund, and Ryan Reaves, defensemen Alex Pietrangelo, Joel Edmundson, and Jay Bouwmeester, and goaltender Jake Allen.

"I think sometimes deadlines bring things more into focus", Fletcher said. They won't officially announce any of the Vegas trades within the next few days.

All players who have now effective and continuing "No Movement" clauses at the time of the Expansion Draft (and who to decline to waive such clauses) must be protected (and will be counted toward their club's applicable protection limits).

Francis didn't say what his plans might be, saying, "We'll just see where we are and what happens" in the expansion draft. The 34 year old forward is no stranger to a new team, his contract is affordable, and has proven he can still but up decent numbers.

Regarding Abdelkader, who's 30 years old and signed through 2023 with a cap hit of $4.25 million, it's likely the Wings valued his grit and leadership.

When Commissioner Gary Bettman officially announced the NHL's first expansion team since 2000 would be based in Las Vegas, Nevada nearly a year ago, the idea of hockey mixed with the glitz and glamour of the desert may have been hard to believe.

"The players Vegas drafts, not all of them are going to play for Vegas".

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