Vegas Golden Knights hold cards as NHL expansion draft nears

"You can negotiate your way out of this if you wish", McPhee said.

If the Golden Knights do indeed select Fleury, the rest of the Penguins' list is moot, since Vegas can only select one player from each of the other 30 National Hockey League teams.

Among the other available defensemen: Paul Martin (San Jose); Trevor Daley (Pittsburgh); Ian Cole (Pittsburgh); Dan Hamhuis (Dallas); Johnny Oduya (Chicago); Dmitry Kulikov (Buffalo); John-Michael Liles (Boston); Jack Johnson (Columbus); Andrei Markov (Montreal); Brooks Orpik (Washington); Marc Methot (Ottawa).

"What it does is, some of the things we were anxious about with no-move clauses and that sort of thing didn't happen and I think the harvest of assets that we are going to have now will be what we were hoping for".

"It's been the most fun I've ever had", McPhee said. There are a lot of good players there.”.

There's also nothing barring Vegas from having a deal in place to select a player in order to trade him to another team.

The league and NHL Players' Association announced the cap and the salary floor of $55.4 million in a joint statement Sunday. That is one of the most important things for a new team and the Golden Knights should take a long look at Staal, who is 32.

McPhee told reporters Sunday that "there were no surprises" when the Golden Knights received the lists and that he was "really pleased with what's available".

"I think it's important for us and the league to allow Vegas to make their announcement at the appropriate time", he said.

Unsigned draft picks and first- and second-year veterans were already exempt from the process, and clubs had the option to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie or eight skaters and a goalie.

There's also a wealth of proven goaltenders available given that teams were required to expose at least one. Aside from Fleury, other goalies available are Florida's Roberto Luongo, Detroit's Petr Mrazek and Philadelphia's Michal Neuvirth.

While talking to teams, McPhee said the Knights have also been in discussions with individual unrestricted and restricted free agents. Any pending free agent signed would count as Vegas' expansion-draft selection from that player's team. Even when you put previous expansion fees into today's dollars, those other teams paid a pittance to join the Board of Governors' annual croquet match.

Received a text this morning from a friend who mused, "I wonder how every other expansion team of the last 40 years feels about the consideration that the Vegas Golden Knights have been given in their expansion draft".

"We've got lots of things lined up, but until we see everything, we don't have anything", McPhee said.

The exposed players will be among hundreds of players ripe for the picking for Vegas, which must assemble its 30-man roster by taking one player from each team.

The team must take a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies but the requirements are much more complicated.

Some of the NHL's biggest names are available - including future Hall of Famers, such as Jaromir Jagr, Jarome Iginla and Joe Thornton - but those players have little appeal to a Vegas team more interested in laying a solid foundation. He's got one year left on his deal with a modest $1 million USA cap hit.

The NHL salary cap has been set at $75 million for this season in a slight increase over previous year.

He emphasized that each team will be contacted and given the opportunity to have a say in protecting its roster.

  • Julie Sanders