Vegas likely to lack star power and scoring in early National Hockey League existence

Three-time Stanley Cup champion goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, Nashville Predators forward James Neal and Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen are among the high-profile players available for the Vegas Golden Knights to select in the National Hockey League expansion draft.

Teams are calling McPhee not just to negotiate a deal for them to pass on players they were forced to leave unprotected for the expansion draft but also to inquire about trading for a an opposing player who was left unprotected.

There is a really deep talent of players that are available from each team and there are some star-level players that teams made available. If he's unable to play, the Knights would pay him his money but his salary would not count against the team's salary cap.

Up front, I wanted some skill to get me through a tough first season with Neal, Perron and Marchessault, some players who I feel are ready to emerge and some veteran grit.

The Minnesota Wild exposed forward Eric Staal and defensemen Marco Scandella and Matt Dumba. Other notable Nashville players unprotected were forwards Pontus Aberg and Colton Sissons.

Indeed, he mentioned that the Golden Knights won't make a claim until they speak to every team.

There were some interesting decisions made by National Hockey League teams with regards to protecting players.

Ryan was excellent for Ottawa in their run to the Eastern Conference finals as he had six goals and nine assists in 19 playoff games, and at 30, he still has some good years left. Younger options include the Colorado Avalanche's Calvin Pickard, the Washington Capitals' Philipp Grubauer and the New York Rangers' Antti Raanta.

His appeal: Nelson has scored at least 20 goals in each of the last three seasons - and a large bunch of them at even-strength.

Fleury was left unprotected by the Pittsburgh Penguins after he agreed to waive the no-movement clause in his contract.

Now begins the jockeying regarding some of those top players.

The deadline for the Golden Knights' selections isn't until 7 a.m. Wednesday but McPhee and his team want to be early in case of complications. The 23-year-old forward was swapped to Arizona last weekend from the Philadelphia Flyers in a three-player, one draft-pick transaction. There already has been plenty of chatter between McPhee and his peers concerning side deals that would see the Knights pick up draft picks in exchange for passing over certain players their original teams left exposed, but still want to keep. They only need a couple, and theres opportunities for trades from that perspective.

One might assume that in order for the Ducks to keep control over who Vegas picks could have cost a high draft pick plus something. "It's not so much an expansion draft for them as it is an accumulation of assets", Calgary General Manager Brad Treliving recently told Sportsnet 960 The Fan's "Boomer in the Morning". Louis minimized risk of watching a key contributor walk out the door as a member of the newly formed Vegas Golden Knights come Wednesday night, when the expansion draft takes place.

Any trades made by the Golden Knights won't formally be announced until Wednesday.

McPhee said the Golden Knights will truly be built by way of the entry draft, not the expansion draft, so that might indicate a plan to pick a team that might struggle from puck drop in October compared to what he could've picked if the return is strong enough.

  • Julie Sanders