Vegas holds all the cards with NHL expansion draft list out

Lynne Hanson
June 19, 2017

The only question now seems to be who McPhee is going to pick when the draft comes Wednesday, and how the Rangers are going to deal with it.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, a three-time Stanley Cup champion, is among the high-profile players left unprotected and available for the Vegas Golden Knights to select in this week's expansion draft. They can protect seven forwards, three defencemen and one goaltender or eight skaters (forwards/defencemen) and one goaltender.

"We really like what we're looking at right now", McPhee said.

The NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas begins at 8 p.m. and the Golden Knights' draft picks will be announced during the telecast. The freeze and submission of protected lists, which are released Sunday morning at 10 a.m. EDT, created something of a trade-deadline situation as GMs had a lot of discussions and looked to make the pieces work.

Without making a deal before Saturday's afternoon trade freeze went into effect, the Rangers submitted a protection list of 11 players to the National Hockey League and NHLPA for the expansion draft that will be formally revealed - along with those of 29 other teams - at 10 a.m. Sunday. The Islanders were the only team to protect five defensemen, and they might still lose blue-liner Calvin de Haan.

The balance McPhee must strike, he admitted, is between stockpiling draft picks and prospects for the future with icing a competitive team in a new and nontraditional market for next season.

"The league controlled the timetable", majority owner Bill Foley told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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Even though the protection lists are public, the process isn't as straightforward as Vegas taking the best asset available from each team.

That benefits the Golden Knights because it maintained a deeper pool of talent available. A slight delay in the plan left many fans waiting a half hour longer than expected, but we now know just who each team is protecting in the upcoming expansion draft.

The Pen's sniper James Neal, on the other hand, is within the grasp of Vegas because the Nashville Predators has too many good defense players to keep. Are the Stars going to chance it and leave one of them exposed, or has general manager Jim Nill already swung a deal to give Vegas a draft pick to protect an extra player?

The NHL's roster freeze kicks in today at 3pm ET, upon which teams can not finalize trades with one another until June 22 at 8am ET.

"Vegas doesn't need 10", said Chayka after making a proactive move to free up the Coyotes' protected list by trading veteran goalie Mike Smith to Calgary.

This trade affords Anaheim to keep Cam Fowler, Kevin Bieksa, Josh Manson and Hampus Lindholm as a unit, but now, the Golden Knights have an opportunity to select a top-nine forward off the Ducks roster. If Enstrom waives, fellow blue-liner Tyler Myers (who was limited to 11 games last season because of injury) will be protected instead.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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