“I think there’s a lot going on right now and we’ll have a better idea after the weekend when they set the cap for the next year and the teams set their rosters for expansion and we know who’s out there, who’s available”, Benning said.
The NHL Expansion Draft will be held Wednesday, June 21. This might be more significant than some others if Nashville is indeed running into a brick wall trying to sway McPhee from taking someone of Neal’s stature, especially since the deadline to trade with teams other than the Golden Knights already passed. The groundwork is done.
Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reported this morning the Columbus Blue Jackets have agreed to trade their first-round draft pick (24th overall) and a prospect to Vegas for assurances they wouldn’t select either left wing Matt Calvert, center William Karlsson or defensemen Ryan Murray.
Helping the Canes are that players who have just completed their first or second year of professional hockey are not eligible for the expansion draft – in the Canes’ case, forward Sebastian Aho and defensemen Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce and Noah Hanifin. “We’re submitting seven [forwards], three [defencemen] and one [goalie] and when we submit that list then [McPhee has] obviously the decision to make which player he’s going to take off our roster”.
Among those who were protection-exempt included Robby Fabbri, Colton Parayko, Zach Sanford and Ivan Barbashev.
Teams could only protect 10 skaters at most, and some elected to protect eight (with four defenseman).
Let’s take a look at the five best players available for the Golden Knights. However, it’s easier to replace a fourth line center (or a backup goalie) than it is a top four defenseman.
The Golden Knights can’t just claim a bunch of low-priced players and tank for profits and high draft picks in their inaugural season; they are required to reach the National Hockey League salary floor, which according to Elliotte Friedman, will be set at $55.4 million for 2017-2018.
What happens to Ward and Lack? Darling will have a $4.15 million salary next season while Ward is due $3.3 million and Lack $2.75 million.
McPhee said he believes he “can accomplish two things” during the expansion process after selecting players and making trades with other clubs.
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.
“The players Vegas drafts, not all of them are going to play for Vegas”. Then teams will gather in Chicago for the two-day entry draft, which opens Friday. Following the draft, the Golden Knights will be permitted to trade players that were selected.
Asked how he might resolve the goaltending situation, Francis said, “You can always resolve it if you give up a high draft pick”. The Golden Knights will receive a 72-hour window between Sunday and Wednesday to negotiate potential contracts with pending-free agents, like Thornton and Marleau, but it’s highly unlikely that either of the Sharks veteran forwards would choose to sign with an expansion team at this stage in their careers.