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

Who Will Blackhawks Protect in NHL Expansion Draft?

It's widely believed that Pittsburgh goaltender and three-time Stanley Cup champion Marc-Andre Fleury has already been tabbed to land in Vegas after he waived his no-move clause to be eligible for the expansion draft.

From the resulting lists of unprotected players, the Golden Knights are permitted to claim one player from each team.

Among those left unprotected, and available to the Golden Knights in the draft, were goalies Cam Ward and Eddie Lack, forwards Lee Stempniak and Joakim Nordstrom, and defenseman Klas Dahlbeck.

With the league-wide release of the protected lists, teams began contacting Vegas about potential three-way trades in which the Golden Knights could select an unprotected player and deal him to a club such as the Blues.

Vatanen, who will miss the start of the season after having shoulder surgery, and Josh Manson were the odd men out in Anaheim, because the Ducks couldn't protect their all their talented core of defensemen.

Vatanen, a fifth-year player, won't be ready for the start of next season after having surgery to fix a shoulder injury.

The Golden Knights now have until 10:00 am (EST) Wednesday morning to submit their expansion selections to the league's front office.

There were few surprises on the Blues' list, which was based on the team option of shielding seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender. If you're confused by the rules of the draft, they can be found here. The inaugural roster will be revealed during Wednesday night's NHL Awards show inside T-Mobile Arena just off the Strip. "We are now going through the process of trying to put the team together, we are still talking to clubs and we are hoping to do deals with clubs if they want to protect their rosters". To keep Nate on the team, the Capitals would have to trade a player or prospects that could turn out to be worth more than Schmidt or outbid another team's offer to Vegas for the player. Chicago wants to dump Marcus Kruger and his $3.08 million cap hit on Vegas, which could otherwise just take defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk in the expansion draft.

The Blue Jackets are reportedly including the 24th overall pick in this year's entry draft in their deal, per both TSN and Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch.

The NHL rookie draft is coming after that, and so is the NHL's free-agent season. "Now, General Manager George McPhee and his staff will continue to have discussions with the other 30 National Hockey League clubs". "Vegas doesn't need 10".

"We can put a competitive team on the ice and accumulate draft picks", McPhee said.

That's what Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka was thinking after trading veteran goalie Mike Smith to Calgary on Saturday.

The only real question on this list came with Jurco, whom we predict the Blackhawks will protect over Dennis Rasmussen.

"There's a lot of unprotected goalies out there", Chayka said. However, the 23-year-old had a minus-five rating, and he does not have the defensive game that is likely to satisfy head coach Claude Julien.

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"I've got a huge opportunity to re-grow my game with a guy who played the game similarly to the way I would like to play it", Beaulieu said, noting he also had a brief chat with Housley following the trade.

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