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NHL Reveals Protection Lists Before Expansion Draft

20 Juin 2017

Vegas Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee gives a media briefing at the team's main office in Las Vegas, Monday, June 19, 2017.

"I'm really pleased with what's available", McPhee said Sunday.

Not sure they're posting odds on this in Las Vegas, but it's a solid bet the brand new Golden Knights will select a goaltender - Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury - with the first pick of the 2017 National Hockey League expansion draft.

Among the goalies available to Vegas: long-time Penguin Marc-Andre Fleury, promising German Philipp Grubauer and one-time Red Wings stud Petr Mrazek.

Marc Methot (Ottawa) - On top of his addition improving the Leafs top four, another fringe benefit of acquiring Norris Trophy victor Erik Karlsson's defense partner would be to weaken a division rival's blueline (if they have not made a side deal to not select him).

"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".

Most players have been saved under their no movement clause. The Golden Knights could enter the National Hockey League with a perfectly fine team, but from all indications, GM George McPhee won't be satisfied with that; he's got some dealing to do, and it'll be dealing from a position of power.

Keeping those reported trades in mind, here's Postmedia's mock draft of what the Knights roster might look like, including the 2017-18 cap hit for each player. The one thing that didn't materialize was a large number of trades happening involving players teams didn't want to expose. The Golden Knight can't select 10 goalies because they're required to use up 26 of their 30 picks in filling 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalie spots.

“The expansion draft, I think the way its set up now is quite interesting, ” said Capitals assistant GM Ross Mahoney, who worked under McPhee for 17 years.

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"We're going to put our team together and watch it come to life in front of us".

Anaheim Ducks couldn't find room on their list to protect fifth year defenceman Sami Vatanen, who won't be ready for the start of next season after having surgery to fix a shoulder injury.

For example, the most intriguing players from the Minnesota Wild's deep available list would be defencemen Matt Dumba or Marco Scandella, or forward Eric Staal. Some teams went four forwards, four defenseman, and one goaltender. But it's unlikely the two would consider joining an expansion team at this point in their respective careers.

The NHL announced the available and protected lists for the 30 teams that will provide players to the Golden Knights in the draft, which will be announced on Wednesday night.

"That's just a way to make it easier so they would have more flexibility heading down the stretch, not having to worry about me, having to force a trade or something", Fleury said last week.

Within that time frame, the Golden Knights can make any type of transaction they want - from side deals with existing teams interested in protecting assets, to flip deals, in which Vegas would draft a specific player from one team's unprotected list and then flip that player to another team for other considerations.

Some players left unprotected, such as Ottawa forward Bobby Ryan, carry hefty contracts, which Vegas might shy away from so not to restrict the team's payroll structure under the salary cap.

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. Vegas is going to have to go fairly young in net, so selecting a veteran like the three-time Stanley Cup champion makes a lot of sense for the Golden Knights.

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

NHL Reveals Protection Lists Before Expansion Draft