Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Sport | By Ellis Neal

Fleury among players exposed for Vegas NHL expansion draft

Fleury among players exposed for Vegas NHL expansion draft

Fleury was left unprotected by the Pittsburgh Penguins after he agreed to waive the no-movement clause in his contract. Among the notable players left unprotected were Nate Schmidt, Philipp Grubauer, Jay Beagle, Brett Connolly, Tyler Graovac, Brooks Orpik and Taylor Chorney and all five unrestricted free agents, an impressive group that features T.J. Oshie, Kevin Shattenkirk, Justin Williams, Karl Alzner and Daniel Winnik. The fifth-year player, however, won't be ready for the start of the season after having surgery to fix a shoulder injury. The Blues chose the latter option, shielding forwards Patrik Berglund, Ryan Reaves, Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Sobotka, Paul Stastny, Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko, defensemen Jay Bouwmeester, Joel Edmundson and Alex Pietrangelo and goalie Jake Allen from the draft. As for defensemen, Buffalo's Zach Bogosian and Dallas' Dan Hamhuis are available.

Due to their total National Hockey League experience, players such as Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov, as well as prospects such as Travis Sanheim, Oskar Lindblom, Sam Morin and Robert Hagg are exempt from being selected in the Expansion Draft.

What's uncertain is how many trades the Golden Knights have negotiated with teams to influence which player Vegas selects or avoids. In exchange, McPhee was intent on stockpiling draft picks to help spur the franchise's growth through youth.

The Predators were put in a bind in when exposing Neal, a nine-time 20-goal-scorer, because they elected to protect a fourth defenseman.

Those deals won't be formally revealed until Wednesday.

Vegas must select 30 players, one from each contributing team. "Every team in this league has a chance to protect their roster". They also wanted to protect Panik, whose new two-year deal ($2.8 million cap hit per season) kicks in this fall. As there's a number of top defensemen exposed such as Anaheim's Sami Vatanen and Ottawa's Marc Methot. 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.

Shortly after protected lists were released Sunday morning, GMs began calling McPhee to try to poach available players from other teams.

But for now it's all about mock drafts, the looming expansion draft and the NHL Awards Show that absolutely nobody is talking about with the Vegas expansion extravaganza set to overshadow the whole thing.

Then comes the start of free agency, which opens on July 1.

Several general managers, including Arizona's John Chayka on Saturday, noted how the Golden Knights can corner the goalie market and use those assets as trade bait. Jonathan Drouin was sent to Montreal a couple of days ago and goalie Mike Smith is going to Calgary in a big move for the Flames to fortify their situation between the pipes, but other than it wasn't quite as active as many expected going into a huge week of roster-bending stuff that's about to happen.

Chayka was exaggerating, but only slightly.

The Knights now have until Wednesday at 10 a.m. ET to submit their expansion draft selections and any standard player contracts that were signed.

Canes general manager Ron Francis said Friday that he has had conversations with McPhee, although noting, "Probably not as much as other teams have had".

"At the GM meetings, the Golden Knights' George McPhee let everyone know that once the lists are handed to him, it's an auction for any unprotected player another team might want", Friedman wrote.

Like this: