Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

Expansion draft: Panthers protect Bjugstad, leave Marchessault, Smith, Luongo up for grabs

Lori Graves | 19 June, 2017, 00:50

Not knowing who Vegas GM George McPhee is going to take has everyone on edge.

Every NHL team has submitted their list of protected players that the Golden Knights will not be able to select from. Each team had the option to protect either seven forwards, three defensemen, and a goalie, or eight skaters and a goalie.

Francis didn't say what his plans might be, saying, "We'll just see where we are and what happens" in the expansion draft.

Fans will get a treat on Sunday, as 10 a.m. ET stands as the deadline for the league to "approve and simultaneously distribute" said protected lists.

While scooping up a potential star in Drouin, the Canadiens will likely lose a better asset to Vegas - perhaps Paul Byron or Charles Hudon - in addition to Sergachev and a conditional second rounder in 2018.

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

The balance McPhee must strike, he admitted, is between stockpiling draft picks and prospects for the future with icing a competitive team in a new and nontraditional market for next season.

As this lost season drags on, and even the ice grows exhausted of the Edmonton Oilers skating on it, I'm noticing more goals against where the entire Oilers team just doesn't look sharp. There's been talk Eberle could be traded after the expansion draft to rid the team of the last two years of his annual $6 million salary for a D-man that Vegas would take off somebody else's list.

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The Vegas Golden Knights have a great opportunity to make life hard for their Pacific Division rivals. How? So, as a hypothetical, a team that might be interested in Washington's Grubauer could incentivize Vegas to select him in the expansion draft and then subsequently trade him.

Lewis: Hard-worker, good team guy, reasonable contract, good fit for Vegas.

Some of the bigger names that could head to Nevada: former Hurricanes captain Eric Staal, who was left unprotected by the Wild, well-traveled sniper James Neal from Nashville, Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian, and one of Ottawa's Bobby Ryan or Marc Methot.

"It had all the feelings of a trade deadline, but there was conditions", Flames GM Brad Treliving said by phone.

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.

They are the only team that has the ability to sign an unprotected unrestricted or restricted free agent until 7:59 a.m. Wednesday.

He's also your expected replacement for Dominic Moore should he leave via free agency come July. If they have any intention of competing next season - and they do - they'll need a puck-mover on the back end. Their coach, Gerard Gallant, was sacked by the Panthers just 22 games into the 2016-2017 season after leading the team to a club record 47 wins and 103 points in 2015-2016.

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