Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Vegas holds all the cards with NHL expansion draft list out

As this lost season drags on, and even the ice grows exhausted of the Edmonton Oilers skating on it, I'm noticing more goals against where the entire Oilers team just doesn't look sharp. That forced the team to also expose top-pairing blueliner Marc Methot.

"The issue for us isn't going to be, 'Can we fill out the roster?' It would be, 'Do we have too many players?' There are a lot of good players there".

Verdict: Dillon is probably the most likely player that the Sharks will lose.

Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley, from left, team head coach Gerard Gallant and general team manager George McPhee, during a press conference at T-Mobile Arena on Thursday, April 13, 2017, in Las Vegas. This means that Panarin does not have to be protected since he can not be selected by Vegas. He is the best available Canes player.

Now that the lists are out and Vegas can really make decisions, the league looks in for a insane few days.

After Fleury agreed to waive the no-movement clause in his contract, the Penguins protected goaltender Matt Murray, who led them a week ago to their second consecutive championship.

Vatanen was the odd man out in being left unprotected from a deep and talented group of Ducks defensemen.

Buffalo: Slim pickings for the Golden Knights off of the Sabres' roster, but Zach Bogosian's exposure is a sure sign that his time is nearly up in Buffalo.

Florida's James Reimer takes over for Roberto Luongo in the second period of a game in Philadelphia last March.

Pending unrestricted free agents Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau were left unprotected, which was expected. That's a quality forward available for the Golden Knights if they would like to go down that route.

Sami Vatanen is a target for many teams this season, heading into the expansion draft.

That means there will be some notable players the Blues - and the other 29 National Hockey League teams - have made available for Vegas to select, barring any trades made between the Golden Knights and such teams.

"We're ready", McPhee said.

As a result, teams interested in a particular pending UFA could ask Vegas to sign that player, then trade him to them at a later date. McPhee is willing to negotiate with any and all teams willing to give up something to keep a certain player. On their protection list, which was submitted to the league Saturday, Washington included forwards Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky, Marcus Johansson, Lars Eller, Tom Wilson as well as defensemen John Carlson, Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov and goaltender Braden Holtby.

Some players left unprotected, such as Ottawa forward Bobby Ryan, carry hefty contracts, which Vegas might shy away from so not to restrict the team's payroll structure under the salary cap.

Dustin Brown, who has five seasons and nearly $30 million remaining on his contract, and Marian Gaborik, who has four seasons and almost $20 million left on his deal, aren't exactly appealing options for the Golden Knights, despite each player's impressive resume. This game McPhee is trying to play turns a promising expansion draft pick into an impressive haul that could make the team more competitive sooner.

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