Vegas Golden Knights hold cards as NHL expansion draft nears

by Olga Hunt June 22, 2017, 7:28
Vegas Golden Knights hold cards as NHL expansion draft nears

For George McPhee and his staff, Sunday was nearly like Christmas morning because after months of planning for the Expansion Draft, the Golden Knights finally received other teams' protected lists.

It also must be noted that with the National Hockey League setting its Salary Cap limit at $75 million for the 2017-18 season on Sunday and the Golden Knights only having three players under contract, that Vegas has ample salary cap space to work under where other clubs may be restricted. They also have to reach at least 60 percent of last year's $73 million salary cap ($43.8 million) and have at least 20 players under contract for next season.

“Its going to take us a while to pick the team (Tuesday), because one change in this matrix affects everything — with your cap now, with your cap going forward, with the cap that you have done for this expansion draft, with the cap that you need for the regular season, ” McPhee said.

The announcements will be made throughout the NHL Award show on Wednesday in Las Vegas, which begins at 7 p.m. (St. Louis time). They are reportedly prepared to give up a 2017 first-round pick so the Golden Knights don't take Brock Nelson or Josh Bailey from their available list.

But Vegas general manager George McPhee has a simple solution for those teams that don't want to part with their star players.

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

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.

That left 25 Blues available for selection, with the most notable being forwards David Perron, Jori Lehtera, Dmitrij Jaskin, Kyle Brodziak and Magnus Paajarvi, along with defensemen Carl Gunnarsson and Robert Bortuzzo as well as goalie Carter Hutton. It's possible the Canes could offer McPhee a draft pick to select a goalie - perhaps Lack. Most importantly, each team could only protect one goalie. Until then, keep an eye to Twitter, as the Golden Knights are expected to announce trades and moves through that avenue over the next few days.

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Teams were allowed to protect only one goaltender from the draft.

"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. It could get interesting if McPhee say Vatanen as a trade chip and Murray was able to promote the fact that Vatanen had value outside of simply being an on-ice player for Vegas next season.

"We've had a lot of discussions with free agents, we've had a lot of agents call", said McPhee.

The unprotected list includes players eligible to become restricted or unrestricted free agents. He's got one year left on his deal with a modest $1 million United States cap hit.

His appeal: Mrazek is coming off a rough season in Detroit, one that saw him post the league's worst save percentage (.901) among those that played at least 40 games.

Then comes the start of free agency, which opens on July 1. "We are going to pick our team tomorrow".

But trades that didn't happen before the freeze stood out even more, most notably the Wild not dealing Matt Dumba, Marco Scandella or Jonas Brodin, and the Senators not moving Marc Methot or Dion Phaneuf.

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