And that was before McPhee learned of the high-profile group of players hell have to choose from limited to one from each of the 30 teams in stocking the Golden Knights roster before submitting his list on Wednesday.
If they do have a trade in place that sends Kruger to Vegas, no one will know until Wednesday. They protected forwards Paul Stastny, Alexander Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Sobotka and Ryan Reaves, along with defensemen Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester and Joel Edmundson plus goalie Jake Allen.
The Golden Knights will fill the rest of their roster through the expansion draft, during which they'll select one player from each of the league's other 30 teams. Other notable Nashville players unprotected were forwards Pontus Aberg and Colton Sissons.
The Anaheim Ducks are also a strong candidate to pull the trigger on a deal after failing to protect Vatanen and Manson - two coveted defensemen they'd love to retain. Opportunistic GMs can feed the Golden Knights' future to get a player who otherwise wouldn't be on the trade market. "The question is whether they'll flip him to another team".
The Golden Knights have the ability to sign unrestricted free agents and restricted free agents who are eligible for the expansion draft (which excludes the Blues' Parayko), but that transaction would count as the team's selection.
"Every team in this league has a chance to protect their roster".
The deadline for the Golden Knights' selections isn't until 7 a.m. Wednesday but McPhee and his team want to be early in case of complications.
Fleury was not among the nine players protected by the Penguins, opening the door for his exit to Las Vegas and his departure from the team he's played for since 2003.
The new franchise has the next 72 hours to select its expansion draft choices.
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Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee had difficulty containing his excitement in anticipation of the NHL's expansion draft list being released. 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. But most of all, with the skating game so important I wanted players with speed.
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.
McPhee said he had already started to receive calls from GMs on Sunday morning after the lists were revealed with inquiries about prices to acquire an exposed player from another team through Vegas. There's also a surplus of young goaltending talent, including Detroit's Petr Mrazek, Washington's Philipp Grubauer, the Rangers' Raanta and Colorado's Calvin Pickard.
McPhee will be fielding many offers in the next few days as teams try to keep available players from being drafted.
McPhee said he believes he "can accomplish two things" during the expansion process after selecting players and making trades with other clubs.
Then comes the start of free agency, which opens on July 1.
It will definitely be interesting to see how much teams give up so Vegas lays off certain players. If you're confused by the rules of the draft, they can be found here.
It's a bidding war in which Vegas, the middle man, is the victor no matter what - with three whole days to watch the offers get better.
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