As most of you know by now, the Vegas Golden Knights have until Wednesday at 10 am EST to submit its expansion draft selections. The NHL’s newest team must submit its roster comprised of 30 players, one from each NHL team, and all will be revealed at the NHL Awards.
The Golden Knights must take a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defencemen and three goalies.
Sunday marked the deadline for other teams to submit their lists of protected players, with each club having the option to protect seven forwards, three defencemen and one goalie. Players with existing no-movement clauses had to be protected, while first and second year players were exempt along with unsigned draft picks.
With the lists revealed, Vegas general manager George McPhee was eager to get to work. He made his intentions clear, with trades potentially in the works.
“We’re going to go to that club and say, ‘We have interest in this player. There’s another club that has interest in this player. How do we want to do this? And how can we protect your roster?’” McPhee said Sunday. “You can negotiate your way out of this if you wish. Every team in this league has a chance to protect their roster. We will not make a claim with any club before we talk to the club.”
That could set up some interesting scenarios, plus it puts McPhee in a powerful position for the next three days – give or take.
And he has a lot of good players to choose from, even if those good players will amount to trade objects over the next while.
Among the available players are Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury, Minnesota’s Matt Dumba, Nashville’s James Neal, Florida’s Jonathan Marchessault and Roberto Luongo, Calgary’s Troy Brouwer, St. Louis’ David Perron, Montreal’s Tom Plekanec, Carolina’s Lee Stempniak, San Jose’s Brenden Dillon, Ottawa’s Marc Methot, and New York’s Antti Raanta.
“We think we can accomplish two things,” McPhee said. “We can put a good team on the ice and accumulate draft picks and be in a surplus situation here in the next couple of years. So, we can start with a real good team and build it with these draft picks to a team that can win [the Stanley] Cup.”
McPhee says his team has been holding several mock drafts and essentially knew what he was in for when the teams released their protected lists on Sunday. And now, the league will wait as he works the phones and builds a team worthy the entertainment capital of the world.