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Vegas Golden Knights hold cards as NHL expansion draft nears

20 June 2017

Conventional wisdom has the Knights selecting Marc-Andre Fleury from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

As reported by Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, the Blue Jackets are sending a first-round pick (the 24th overall selection in this month's NHL Draft) and a prospect to the Golden Knights in exchange for not selecting certain exposed players in the expansion draft.

The league began conducting the draft Sunday.

According to a report last month from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Blues have chose to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and a goalie.

The Canes protected goalie Scott Darling, forwards Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask, Elias Lindholm, Teuvo Teravainen, Brock McGinn and Phil Di Giuseppe; and defensemen Justin Faulk, Ryan Murphy and Trevor Carrick.

Philipp Grubauer (Capitals) might be ready for prime time after serving as Braden Holtby's backup.

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Blues general manager Doug Armstrong did not comment on the protection list Sunday. A 30-goal guy on a one-year, $750,000 deal, there's no team in the league that wouldn't want him.

Vegas is holding all the cards while the rest of the National Hockey League comes to a full stop in awaiting McPhee to determine his selections over a three-day stretch during which the Golden Knights are the only team allowed to make trades and sign pending free agents.

Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee attends a news conference Thursday, April 13, 2017, in Las Vegas. "It's something we're obviously very active in right now and hopefully we can get a good goaltender in there that can help our group next year", said Chayka.

And finally with netminders, we were surprised that Colorado exposed Calvin Pickard, who is coming off a strong tournament for Canada at the World Championships, especially given the inconsistency and injury issues veteran Semyon Varlamov has faced in Colorado.

Remember, the Devils can only lose one of the players below. "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 that we can start with a real good team and then build it with these draft picks to a team that can win a Cup". "But we will not make a claim with any club before we talk to the club".

"We're going to go to that club and say 'We have interest in this player". Reimer could be an interesting asset for the young club, with a relatively friendly contract and a bright future. How do we want to do this? How can we protect your roster? "You can negotiate your way out of this if you wish", McPhee said.

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And McPhee is making no secret about that strategy.

Three of the four New Hampshire NHL players will be made available: Merrimack's Tim Schaller of the Boston Bruins, Derry's Paul Thompson of the Florida Panthers and Orford's Ben Lovejoy of the New Jersey Devils.

It's believed that Vegas already has many pre-arranged trades in place, some that will happen and others that might not.

Veteran players we do like as a fit?

Boedker, who signed a four-year, $16 million contract with the Sharks in free agency last summer, underperformed in his first season with the team, serving as a healthy scratch on January 5 and in Games 3 and 4 of the squad's Stanley Cup playoff series against the Edmonton Oilers. On the final year of his deal with a digestible $5 million United States cap hit, an established 20-plus goal scorer like Neal, 29, would fit the bill.

It is an unprecedented moment in the history of the NHL's expansion process with McPhee able to approach restricted and unrestricted free agents before he must produce a final list that will be revealed as part of the NHL's annual awards ceremony Wednesday night.

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