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.
What’s uncertain is how many trades the Golden Knights will reach with teams to influence which player Vegas selects or avoids in exchange for draft picks, something McPhee hopes to stockpile.
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.
The Predators were put in a bind in when exposing Neal, a 10-time 20-goal-scorer, because they elected to protect a fourth defenseman. That’s a hefty contract for a fourth-line player, which is where Hagelin was by the end of this year’s final, but the Penguins are probably optimistic that with an offseason to rest and recover from the injury, Hagelin will be able to recover his offensive form next season. Other notable Nashville players unprotected were forwards Pontus Aberg and Colton Sissons.
Defence (11) – Karl Alzner (Washington), Jack Johnson (Columbus), Dmitri Kulikov (Buffalo), Ben Lovejoy (New Jersey), Brayden McNabb (Los Angeles), Adam McQuaid (Boston), Marc Methot (Ottawa) Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton), Marco Scandella (Minnesota), Trevor van Riemsdyk (Chicago), Sami Vatanen (Anaheim).
There are some pretty good players on the unprotected list, including three-time Stanley Cup winning goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, as well as fellow netminders Roberto Luongo and Peter Mrazek. Teams could also ask Vegas to pick an exposed player they’re interested in, then get the Knights to subsequently flip him.
McPhee wasn’t prepared to discuss individual players when specifically asked about Fleury, but noted there were no surprises based on the numerous mock drafts the Golden Knights conducted over the past few months.
According to several news outlets, the Golden Knights have been getting offers from several National Hockey League teams asking them to stay away from certain players, and offering draft picks if they do.
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. As interesting as McPhee’s clearly stated willingness to give additional protection for picks is that he noted another team may have interest in a player who is eligible to be taken in the expansion draft.
When you get the opportunity to protect a bunch of defensemen that were below league average, you’ve gotta do it, right?
The Knights can also negotiate contracts with teams’ unprotected unrestricted and restricted free agents beginning on Sunday.
The Penguins also might have bought out Fleury’s contract, but that would have left them with a salary cap penalty of nearly $3 million per year for the next four seasons.
Among players with previous connections to McPhee available are Stars center Cody Eakin, Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer and Neuvirth, whom he drafted in Washington. Sure, he could sign a free agent July 1, or he could take advantage of this rare circumstance.
Any trades made by the Golden Knights won’t formally be announced until Wednesday.
Chayka was exaggerating, but only slightly.
The list of players available to Vegas was released over the weekend, with each team protecting seven forwards, three defencemen and one goalie, or eight skaters and a goalie.
There is a trade, waiver, and signing freeze that will go into place for 30 of the 31 teams at 3PM today.
That doesn’t mean the other GMs can’t talk.
“We’re ready”, McPhee said.
Asked about teams calling asking Vegas to pick players for them, McPhee said Sunday that “it’s already started to happen”.
“With the expansion process upcoming, it forces you to make some decisions”, Coyotes GM John Chayka said.