Fleury among players exposed for Vegas NHL expansion draft

Posted June 19, 2017

If they can draft a player in the expansion draft that could be later flipped for draft picks (perhaps a Dan Hamhuis type from Dallas), more power to the Golden Knights.

When Commissioner Gary Bettman officially announced the NHL's first expansion team since 2000 would be based in Las Vegas, Nevada nearly a year ago, the idea of hockey mixed with the glitz and glamour of the desert may have been hard to believe.

How should Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee go about his business? The Golden Knight can't select 10 goalies because they're required to use up 26 of their 30 picks in filling 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalie spots. What happens if McPhee calls and tells the Capitals they are selecting the smiling Minnesotan because he or another National Hockey League team wants him? Vegas will then have until 5 p.m. on Tuesday to inform the league of its player selections, and the NHL will announce the expansion draft results the following evening during its awards ceremony at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, starting at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 18: Protection lists are approved and distributed to teams and the NHL Players' Association. Goalie Jeff Glass is under contract for next season and fulfills the requirement for exposed goaltenders.

The balance McPhee must strike, he admitted, is between stockpiling draft picks and prospects for the future with icing a competitive team in a new and nontraditional market for next season. For what it's worth, Wild forward Jason Zucker is a Las Vegas native so the allure of drafting a hometown player may come into effect.

More news: Hurricane center says storm 'likely' to develop in Gulf soon

For the Pittsburgh Penguins, nearly all of the debate, intrigue and drama from the 2017 NHL Expansion draft was already resolved during the regular season.

Antti Raanta, Michael Grabner, Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fast appear to be the consensus choices as the top candidates to be selected by the Golden Knights by Wednesday.

Vegas has not been shy about wanting to go big in its first offseason, whether through trades, the open market or expansion draft-fueled deals.

The Golden Knights will also have this three-day window to meet with the pending restricted and unrestricted free agents exposed in the draft, and if they negotiate a deal with one of those players in that time, that counts as Vegas' pick from that team. But the Bruins, who admitted that they wanted more production out of No. 42 but were more than satisfied with what he brought to their locker room, were never going to ask him to waive for Vegas. But in protecting seven forwards, the Hawks have to expose van Riemsdyk, who will be entering the a year ago of his entry-level deal.

More news: Wife: Man who shot congressman wanted to work on tax policy

The former Capitals GM also previously signed Washington defenseman Nate Schmidt out of college and Sharks right winger Joel Ward in free agency and traded for Flames right winger Troy Brouwer.

The NHL's roster freeze kicks in today at 3pm ET, upon which teams can not finalize trades with one another until June 22 at 8am ET.

After that there will be a frenzy of pre-draft trades and the usual flurry of activity just ahead of the July 1 opening of free agency, and numerous names we've heard floated over the last couple of weeks in trade rumors will likely be moved. They still have free agents of their own to sign (Schultz, Dumoulin, Conor Sheary) and need to sign or replace Nick Bonino and a couple of defensemen, but the Pens would be sitting pretty. Beagle is coming off a career year (career high 13 goals, 17 assists and 30 points in 82 games).

More news: Court approves Marsh deals to sell 26 grocery stores