Sunday, 16 December, 2018

All talk, few trades before NHL's expansion roster freeze

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Isaac Mcdaniel | 22 June, 2017, 10:10

LAS VEGAS - Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee has informed the other National Hockey League general managers that Monday is the last day he will negotiate with teams looking to protect players eligible to be drafted in the expansion draft. The Las Vegas Golden Knights will announce their selections during the NHL Awards ceremony, which is 8 p.m. Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Prior to this year, the expansion draft was basically an afterthought and more than half of the players each team chose didn't even end up playing for them. Each team can only lose one player.

"Every team in this league has a chance to protect their roster", he said.

Matt Dumba (Minnesota) - The Wild had five defensemen to protect and shielded Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin, leaving veteran Marco Scandella and Dumba exposed.

The Predators didn't protect James Neal, Mike Fisher, Colton Sissons, Craig Smith and Pontus Aberg. The Golden Knights could swipe Rangers forward Michael Grabner, who scored 27 goals this past season.

Doug Armstrong and company protected forwards Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny, Vladimir Sobotka, Patrik Berglund, and Ryan Reaves, defensemen Alex Pietrangelo, Joel Edmundson, and Jay Bouwmeester, and goaltender Jake Allen.

Vatanen was the odd-man out in being left unprotected from a deep and talented group of Ducks defensemen.

Notable goalies available to the Knights include, Philipp Grubauer of Washington, Roberto Luongo of Florida, Detroit Red Wings Petr Mrazek and Colorado's Calvin Pickard, who backstopped Canada to a silver medal last month at the World Championships.

Fleury was left unprotected by Pittsburgh after he agreed to waive the no-movement clause in his contract.

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We now know every player available in the National Hockey League expansion draft
Hard to imagine McPhee would have jumped on Varlamov, even though McPhee drafted Varlamov back in the day in Washington. Goalies Philipp Grubauer of Washington or Antti Raanta of the Rangers seem to be prime candidates for such dealings.

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Now begins the jockeying regarding some of those top players.

From the resulting lists of unprotected players, the Golden Knights are permitted to claim one player from each team.

ROLLING THE DICE: Vegas can build a young nucleus with some intriguing possibilities, assuming Columbus has persuaded McPhee not to take 17-goal scorer Josh Anderson and the New York Islanders have worked out a way to keep 56-point producer Josh Bailey. Sunday morning the National Hockey League made public all the players saved by teams along with players who are available for the draft. Much of the buzz is around what the Vegas Golden Knights will do in the draft and via trades, but there's plenty going on.

Asked about teams calling asking Vegas to pick players for them, McPhee said Sunday that "it's already started to happen".

"With expansion, there's a lot of unprotected goalies out there", Arizona General Manager John Chayka told reporters on Saturday. “Vegas doesnt need 10.

They might have tried to trade Fleury to avoid exposing Murray, but that wasn't an ideal scenario.

Now it's on Golden Knights general manager George McPhee to spend the next three days poring over the list of available players as the team selects one from each of the NHL's 30 teams.

The Toronto Maple Leafs may be in a good position to make a deal with the Golden Knights that would be beneficial to both, as GM Lou Lamoriello could give McPhee young assets in return for an experienced defenseman that could solidify the Leafs blueline, but the question is which blueliners are legitimately up for bid and which are just their to tantalize.

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