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Vegas holds trade cards during expansion draft window

Vegas holds trade cards during expansion draft window

Kunitz and Fleury are among the most high-profile players available in this week's draft for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights who will make their National Hockey League debut in the 2017-18 season.

By some estimates, Vegas may already have up to eight trades in place with teams prepared to pay a price to the Golden Knights to keep their hands off their unprotected players.

The Golden Knights must select one player from each of the other 30 teams, and they have until 10 a.m. Wednesday to submit their selections.

Among the players left unprotected were Bryan Rust, Carl Hagelin and Ian Cole.

The Islanders were the only team that protected five defensemen: Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Travis Hamonic Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech, leaving forwards Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome and defensemen Calvin de Haan and Thomas Hickey available. (The Panthers, Predators, Devils, Islanders, and Penguins were the only teams that opted for the second arrangement.) That would result in a whole lot of third-line forwards and second-pairing defensemen in Vegas, and indeed, that's basically what mock drafts from NHL.com and ESPN project.

That wasn't going to happen. Dion Phaneuf refusing to waive his no-movement clause forced Ottawa to protect him and expose 31-year-old Marc Methot.

Conventional wisdom has the Knights selecting Marc-Andre Fleury from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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.

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And, in fact, depth was required as Murray missed the first two rounds of the playoffs with a torn hamstring.

“Theres a lot of unprotected goalies out there, ” Chayka said.

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

"We can put a competitive team on the ice and accumulate draft picks", McPhee said, via the Knights Twitter account. And if the Sabres hope to further bolster their blueline via the expansion draft, there's still a possibility for them to do so, which may also be a possible reason for them to leave Carrier available to Vegas. It also is another team-first act in a career full of them. "For me, it was an opportunity to finish the season here". I had a chance to play for the Cup again, play for this team and win.

While Fleury is the odds-on favourite to become the first goalie in Vegas Golden Knights history, it's also possible the National Hockey League newcomers could add a former Belleville Bull to their fledgling puckstopping stable.

The Panthers were rumored to be trying to move Marchessault on Saturday before the Vegas trade freeze went into affect and have been mentioned as a team who may be working a side deal with Vegas general manager George McPhee to perhaps protect a player or two on the exposed list.

But since teams weren't able to protect everyone they would like, Vegas is going to use that against them and try to swing deals to selecting specific players. Goalies Philipp Grubauer of Washington or Antti Raanta of the Rangers seem to be prime candidates for such dealings.

SURE BET: Assuming Anaheim has already worked out a trade to keep Vegas away from Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson - perhaps at the cost of a first-round pick - there are still plenty of young, affordable defensemen to choose from along with some veterans. McPhee said as much at his introductory press conference, has continued to hint at it leading up to the announcement of the protection lists, reportedly has picks-for-protection deals in place and again reiterated that he's willing to listen to offers when it comes to keeping players protected ahead of Wednesday's official selections.


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