Golden Knights hold all the cards heading into expansion draft

Lynette Rowe
June 20, 2017

"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".

With all the wheeling and dealing McPhee will be doing this week, it might be smart for Vegas Golden Knights fans to wait a few weeks before purchasing a jersey of their favorite new player.

But regardless of what the rumors may say or what handshake agreement the Penguins and Golden Knights might have, the expansion draft has forced every general manager to dot their I's and cross their T's. "One of the reasons we want to complete the dialogue today and pick our team tomorrow is it's going to take us a while to pick our team tomorrow".

“We really like what were looking at right now, ” McPhee said.

"We can put a competitive team on the ice and accumulate draft picks", McPhee said, via the Knights Twitter account. Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stands out as the likely face of the Vegas Golden Knights franchise, as he was left unprotected by the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions.

SURE BET: Assuming Anaheim has already worked out a trade to keep Vegas away from Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson - perhaps at the cost of a first-round pick - there are still plenty of young, affordable defensemen to choose from along with some veterans. As for defensemen, Minnesota exposed both Matt Dumba and Marco Scandella, while Buffalo's Zach Bogosian and Dallas' Dan Hamhuis are also available.

Theres also a wealth of proven goaltenders available given that teams were required to expose at least one. Aside from Fleury, other goalies exposed are Florida's Roberto Luongo, Detroit's Peter Mrazek and Philadelphia's Michal Neuvirth. Any pending free agent signed would count as Vegas expansion-draft selection from that players team. Among the standouts are Washington Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie and defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk, Canadiens right wing Alex Radulov and aging San Jose Sharks forwards Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau and 45-year-old Florida Panthers winger Jaromir Jagr Should they test the market, all could be signing with new clubs before the Canada Day fireworks head skyward that evening. But its unlikely the two would consider joining an expansion team at this point in their respective careers.

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The NHL released their protection lists from all 30 teams ahead of the expansion draft for the Las Vegas Golden Knights. "Now you start to have discussions and see if there's things in there that can help".

And they only have to prepare to select players for one draft: the NHL Entry Draft. However, that same player had also garnered what McPhee termed a "healthy offer" from a team hoping to acquire him in a trade.

There is a really deep talent of players that are available from each team and there are some star-level players that teams made available. Ryan has five years left on a seven-year $50.8 million contract and represents a $7-plus-million cap hit.

The team will put its final 30-man list together Tuesday for submission to the league office. Those selections will be announced Wednesday night during the NHL Awards show in Last Vegas.

Then comes the start of free agency, which opens on July 1.

While most of the focus of the hockey world was on the unveiling of the protected lists, NHL teams were informed by the league that the 2017-18 salary cap will escalate to $75 million U.S. Meanwhile the cap floor - in other words, the minimum - will be $55.4 million U.S.

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