Vegas holds trade cards during expansion draft window

Ross Houston
June 20, 2017

"The Vegas Golden Knights must select one player from each team to fill a roster of at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies, with a minimum of 20 players under contract for the 2017-18 season". Aside from Fleury, other goalies exposed are Florida's Roberto Luongo, Detroit's Peter Mrazek and Philadelphia's Michal Neuvirth.

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.

There's also a wealth of proven goaltenders available given that teams were required to expose at least one. There already has been plenty of chatter between McPhee and his peers concerning side deals that would see the Knights pick up draft picks in exchange for passing over certain players their original teams left exposed, but still want to keep.

Among players with previous connections to McPhee available are Stars center Cody Eakin, Red Wings defenseman Mike Green, Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer, Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov and Neuvirth, whom he drafted in Washington.

The Florida Panthers chose to protect eight skaters: forwards Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Jonathan Huberdeau and Vincent Trocheck; defensemen Aaron Ekblad, Alex Petrovic, Mark Pysyk and Keith Yandle, ; and goalie James Reimer.

"Whatever you want to give us has to be better than what we can claim from that club", McPhee said in Las Vegas on Sunday.

The announcements will be made throughout the NHL Award show on Wednesday in Las Vegas, which begins at 7 p.m. (St. Louis time). Each team can only lose one player.

Looking at other notable blue-liners not on the list, both Sustr and Garrison struggled defensively in 2016-17 and are considered "prime" targets among the Lightning players who might get drafted by the Golden Knights.

The start of the expansion draft process means a trading freeze is in place through Thursday morning for the 30 other teams.

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. Once the dust settles from the draft weekend, teams will prepare for the start of the annual unrestricted free agent market on July 1. "And this has worked out really well for the Vegas Golden Knights".

"Everybody's going to have conversations", Brad Treliving of the Calgary Flames said.

"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.

Only players with more than two years of pro experience needed to be protected, so the Bruins didn't have to protect young defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.

McPhee may not be Don Corleone, but he is the actual godfather of Matt Moulson's wife, and the Buffalo Sabres are unable to protect Moulson from the Golden Knights grasp if they choose to go that direction. Still, as Saturday's trade freeze approached, one expected National Hockey League teams would do make a lot of moves to protect as many valuable assets as possible.

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