We now know every player available in the National Hockey League expansion draft
- Author: Julie Sanders Jun 22, 2017,
Jun 22, 2017, 4:48
Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) makes a save against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome.
The Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft will be Wednesday, and many high-profile National Hockey League players are up for grabs.
Now it's on Golden Knights general manager George McPhee to spend the next three days poring over the list of available players and select one from each of the NHL's 30 teams. He intends to inform teams who Vegas is selecting in the event they want to strike a deal to have the Golden Knights choose another player.
Anaheim wants to keep defensemen Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson, Columbus wants to keep goalie Joonas Korpisalo, forward Josh Anderson, and defenseman Jack Johnson, and NY wants to keep forwards Josh Bailey and Casey Cizikas. To save its top-two defense pairings, the Nashville Predators opted to protect eight skaters, which meant leaving James Neal, a 23-goal scorer this season, unprotected. The fifth-year player, however, won't be ready for the start of the season after having surgery to fix a shoulder injury.
Eric Staal of the Minnesota Wild, Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings, Thomas Vanek of Florida, Bobby Ryan of Ottawa and Kris Russell of the Edmonton Oilers were among the other forwards left unprotected.
There's also nothing barring Vegas from making deals to select a player and trade him to another team. 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. It's a good sign that the Golden Knights, even if they don't end up picking a bunch of great players, will at least end up with a stockpile of draft picks that'll hopefully turn into great players.
For the Washington Capitals, there was no suspense on Sunday morning, as The Post reported their protection list on Saturday afternoon.
"The issue for us isn't going to be 'Can we fill out the roster, '"McPhee said".
Among those left unprotected, and available to the Golden Knights in the draft, were goalies Cam Ward and Eddie Lack, forwards Lee Stempniak and Joakim Nordstrom, and defenseman Klas Dahlbeck. The Golden Knights could swipe Rangers forward Michael Grabner, who scored 27 goals this past season. He's got one year left on his deal with a modest $1 million USA cap hit. Most importantly, each team could only protect one goalie.
All of the picks will be made public Wednesday night during the 2017 NHL Awards show, which is taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Bruins are most likely to lose one of two defensemen - Adam McQuaid and Colin Miller. "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".
Then comes the start of free agency, which opens on July 1.