Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Golden Knights Balancing Expansion Draft Prep With Plans For Entry Draft

Golden Knights Balancing Expansion Draft Prep With Plans For Entry Draft

With the creation of the Las Vegas Knights, each of the current 30 National Hockey League teams were required to submit a list of players (either seven forwards, three defense men and one goalie or eight skaters and one goalie) to protect from being drafted in the expansion draft. No more, no less.

Need a goalie? McPhee might be able to help.

The easiest way for the Penguins to solve their goaltending dilemma was to get Fleury to agree to waive his no-movement clause for the purposes of the expansion draft.

The release of the teams protected lists kicks off a busy two-week stretch for the National Hockey League.

Chayka was exaggerating, but only slightly.

Ever since Las Vegas was granted an NHL franchise and began to build a brand, there has been widespread speculation of whom the league's newest team might select in the expansion draft.

In other words, Vegas will be in the driver's seat for the next few days, bartering with clubs that wish to hang on to the players on their unprotected list in exchange for giving up prospects and draft picks.

"This is a complicated process", McPhee said.

Minnesota's plethora of blue liners made Matt Dumba, 22, and Marco Scandella, 27, available unless the Wild is willing to fork something over, and 25-year-old right-shooting Trevor van Riemsdyk from Chicago seems ticketed for the Golden Knights. Now, the rest of the league knows what players could be headed to Vegas and who will stay with their current teams. General manager George McPhee's phone was already ringing Saturday afternoon as his 30 colleagues did their best to shuffle the deck and protect themselves.

"There's a lot of things that could happen, there's one thing that probably will happen", Cole said at the Penguins' locker clean-out Thursday.

A handful of big names are already available to Vegas as the team's pick announcements near, and a flurry of ripple-effect trades and signings could be coming as well. The freeze and submission of protected lists, which are released Sunday morning at 10 a.m. EDT, created something of a trade-deadline feel as GMs had a lot of discussions and looked to make the pieces work.

“Everybodys going to have conversations, ” Brad Treliving of the Calgary Flames said.

The exposed players will be among hundreds of players ripe for the picking for Vegas, which must assemble its 30-man roster by taking one player from each team.

“The expansion draft, I think the way its set up now is quite interesting, ” said Capitals assistant GM Ross Mahoney, who worked under McPhee for 17 years. "Having the ability to have a spot to protect someone, if all the other boxes were checked, there certainly was an advantage".

With such a limited pool of top-flight offensive players - especially at centre - the Knights will likely have trouble scoring early just as their three most recent expansion counterparts did.

The Devils chose the 4-4-1 alignment, protecting forwards Taylor Hall, Adam Henrique, Kyle Palmieri, and Travis Zajac, plus defensemen Andy Greene, John Moore, Mirco Mueller (acquired in a trade with San Jose over the weekend), and Damon Severson.

Another unusual list is from the Minnesota Wild, who chose to protect Jonas Brodin over Matt Dumba and Marco Scandella.

"It was a rigid market", Treliving said.

Now that teams are aware of the $2 million bump, it could effect what deals they end up making with Vegas - or anyone else. Either way, they won't be announced until Wednesday.

Three of the four New Hampshire NHL players will be made available: Merrimack's Tim Schaller of the Boston Bruins, Derry's Paul Thompson of the Florida Panthers and Orford's Ben Lovejoy of the New Jersey Devils.

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