Vegas Golden Knights hold cards as NHL expansion draft nears

Ross Houston
June 20, 2017

Fifty years ago, after Sawchuk went first overall to the Kings, the next 11 selections were all netminders - Bernie Parent, Philadelphia Flyers; Glenn Hall, St. Louis Blues; Cesare Maniago, Minnesota North Stars; Joe Daley, Pittsburgh Penguins; Charlie Hodge, California Seals; Wayne Rutledge, Los Angeles; Garry Bauman, Minnesota; Doug Favell, Philadelphia; Roy Edwards, Pittsburgh; Gary Smith, California; and Don Caley, St. Louis.

"The Golden Knights organization is very pleased with how the expansion draft process has gone so far, through the National Hockey League trade freeze which took effect Saturday, June 17 at 12 noon PT", the Golden Knights said in a satement.

On Sunday morning Blues fans found out who won't be moving on, after the league revealed the "protected" list of each club - players who can't be selected by Vegas.

All seven Canadian teams took that option, as opposed to the other course of action, which was protecting eight position players, plus a goalie.

Ultimately, the Knights must select three goaltenders, nine defensemen and 14 forwards. Since defensemen are of the utmost importance they may choose to select two or there extra d-man for trade purposes.

But McPhee, the ever so nice human that he is, took the time on Saturday to let all National Hockey League teams know that he'd give each club the opportunity to keep a player. Several big names have come up in conversations, but it appears the teams who have unprotected players they still wish to keep are also willing to compensate Vegas to make sure they stay unclaimed. Their full roster will be announced on Wednesday night. But he said Monday was the final day for GMs to make pitches and hold negotiations because Vegas was planning to pick its team Tuesday.

"This has worked out very well for the Vegas Golden Knights and we expect to put a good, entertaining club on the ice", McPhee said. "So we can start with a real good team and build it with these draft picks to a team that can win [the Stanley] Cup".

"It's been the most fun I've ever had", McPhee said.

"We're going to go to that club and say, 'We have interest in this player". "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". How can we protect your roster. While there has been speculation about side deals that are already in place, there's no knowing quite yet who has paid up in order to protect a player, and with the likes of Sami Vatanen, Josh Manson, Calvin De Haan, Thomas Hickey, Matt Calvert, William Karlsson, Jack Johnson and James Neal available, it seems likely that at least a handful of additional draft picks are going to be Vegas-bound once the expansion draft shakes out.

And McPhee is making no secret about that strategy. McPhee, as he is doing with every team, simply said it will cost Botterill something.

All trade roads run through Vegas.

"We have things lined up", McPhee said.

His appeal: Marchessault was among the NHL's best bargains last season, potting 30 goals and 51 points for Florida on the first year of a two-year deal worth $1.5 million. On the final year of his deal with a digestible $5 million USA cap hit, an established 20-plus goal scorer like Neal, 29, would fit the bill.

The unprotected list includes players eligible to become restricted or unrestricted free agents.

If the Senators protect Methot with a first-round pick then they're likely going to lose blueliner Fredrik Claesson in the expansion draft.

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