The NHL announced on Sunday the available and protected lists for the 30 teams who will provide players to the Golden Knights. That forced the team to also expose top-pairing blueliner Marc Methot. Later on, we will have an in-depth breakdown of the list and will address any surprises that the list may contain as well as how this list will affect the Stars over the next few days as the official announcement draws closer. Several big names have come up in conversations, but it appears the teams who have unprotected players they still wish to keep are also willing to compensate Vegas to make sure they stay unclaimed. This game McPhee is trying to play turns a promising expansion draft pick into an impressive haul that could make the team more competitive sooner. The one thing that didn't materialize was a large number of trades happening involving players teams didn't want to expose.
The Golden Knights lost a lot of money on potential sweater sales as theirs were not approved for launch a year ago when the franchise was awarded.
"It forces us that we're in a situation that we felt that this could happen", Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion said.
Looking ahead, two new defense prospects also will be under the microscope in the annual development camp, which begins June 26, and then training camp: Russian Alexei Bereglazov, 23, a 6-4 lefty who has played for three seasons in the KHL, and righty Neal Pionk, 21, out of the University of Minnesota-Duluth. As for defensemen, Buffalo's Zach Bogosian and Dallas' Dan Hamhuis are available.
Even though the protection lists are public, the process isn't as straightforward as Vegas taking the best asset available from each team. Along with Fleury, other goalies exposed are Florida's Roberto Luongo, Detroit's Petr Mrazek and Philadelphia's Michal Neuvirth.
Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are both unprotected because they're pending-unrestricted free agents.
Mike Smith went from Arizona to Calgary and a couple of defensemen traded places as National Hockey League teams made last-minute moves before the Vegas expansion draft roster freeze. Marchessault is a free agent after this coming season. But it's unlikely the two would consider joining an expansion team at this point in their respective careers.
The young van Riemsdyk is arguably the most likely Blackhawks player to be taken in the draft, assuming that they don't already have a trade in place with Vegas.
What we do know is that the first expansion draft of the NHL's salary-cap era will be held and the Golden Knights, the NHL's 31st team, will pick their team. What happens if McPhee calls and tells the Capitals they are selecting the smiling Minnesotan because he or another National Hockey League team wants him? First- and second-year players were exempt - in the Canes' case, forward Sebastian Aho and defensemen Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce and Noah Hanifin. Ryan has five years left on a seven-year $50.8 million contract and represents a $7-plus-million cap hit.
All NHL rosters will freeze Saturday through Thursday except for the Knights. If he somehow not taken by them, Fleury will probably be traded later in the offseason anyways. if Fleury doesn't get taken, look for maybe Scott Wilson, Olli Maatta, or Ian Cole to be taken by Las Vegas.