NHL Expansion Draft: 5 best players available for Golden Knights

  • NHL Expansion Draft: 5 best players available for Golden Knights

NHL Expansion Draft: 5 best players available for Golden Knights

Other notable forwards left unprotected were: Minnesota center Eric Staal, a nine-time 20-goal-scorer, Los Angeles forward Dustin Brown and Montreal's Tomas Plekanec.

Theres also a wealth of proven goaltenders available given that teams were required to expose at least one.

After signing Ben Bishop, Dallas made its two goalies from a year ago, Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen, available, but they are both making too much money to interest Vegas. The protection lists have been submitted, and the Golden Knights are in their 72-hour window of exclusive free agent negotiation. The Golden Knights also need to select players that count at least $43.8-million against the cap in 2017-18. 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.

So of the 21 teams that have joined the NHL, only three of them paid more than 20 percent, when adjusted to today's dollars, of what Vegas did to join the league.

Those deals won't be formally revealed until Wednesday. But if they'd like to launder him through Vegas, not only would they have to offer a trade haul to convince Vegas to part with him, but they'd have to outbid any other teams trying to do so, and whatever the Panthers are offering Vegas to not select him in the first place.

The Islanders were the only team to protect five defensemen, and they might still lose blue-liner Calvin de Haan.

The Penguins also might have bought out Fleury's contract, but that would have left them with a salary cap penalty of nearly $3 million per year for the next four seasons.

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. As there's a number of top defensemen exposed such as Anaheim's Sami Vatanen and Ottawa's Marc Methot.

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

Teams went one of two routes when compiling who would be protected - either pulling aside seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or eight skaters and one netminder.

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

That benefits the Golden Knights because it maintained a deeper pool of talent available.

Thats what Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka was thinking after trading veteran goalie Mike Smith to Calgary on Saturday.

Chayka was exaggerating, but only slightly.

He can select players with the sole intention of flipping them to other teams.

According to several news outlets, the Golden Knights have been getting offers from several National Hockey League teams asking them to stay away from certain players, and offering draft picks if they do.

"There has been a lot of inquiries about players on other teams, and all the general managers have looked at (other teams") lists and asked us, "What it would take for you to claim that player for us?'" McPhee said.

George McPhee has given his fellow general managers a midnight deadline to make deals to keep players not on their protected list.

With just a few days before the NHL expansion draft and the actual NHL draft, the NHL rumor mill is starting to heat up. 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.

A handful of big names are already available to Vegas as the team's pick announcements near, and a flurry of ripple-effect trades and signings could be coming as well.