All Talk, Few Trades Before NHL's Expansion Roster Freeze

Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee had difficulty containing his excitement in anticipation of the NHL's expansion draft list being released.

This morning at 10 am Eastern Time, the NHL revealed each of the 30 teams unprotected lists for the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft and social media exploded.

The Vegas Golden Knights GM might as well be The Godfather of the National Hockey League during this three-day expansion draft window. He did not say if that might be an option with McPhee and the Golden Knights.

There's also nothing barring Vegas from making deals to select a player and trade him to another team. The club traded popular winger Jannik Hansen knowing it would have difficulty protecting him from the Golden Knights. The annual awards ceremonies will be held in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Florida and Vegas can discuss arrangements in the meantime, in terms of selecting certain players.

Boedker, who signed a four-year, $16 million contract with the Sharks in free agency last summer, underperformed in his first season with the team, serving as a healthy scratch on January 5 and in Games 3 and 4 of the squad's Stanley Cup playoff series against the Edmonton Oilers. Due to the roster freeze, teams can agree with the Golden Knights in principle on deals for now.

“It forces us that were in a situation that we felt that this could happen, ” Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion said.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is one marquee player's who's not expected to receive any added protection from his team.

The Pen's sniper James Neal, on the other hand, is within the grasp of Vegas because the Nashville Predators has too many good defense players to keep.

It is believed that Vegas already has consideration deals arranged with Anaheim (to lay off Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson), with Columbus (to lay off Joonas Korpisalo, Josh Anderson and Jack Johnson), with the New York Islanders (to lay off Josh Bailey and Casey Cizikas) and Chicago (to take on Marcus Kruger).

"I was fortunate ... but there was that moment when you wonder who is going to be protected or unprotected", the Calgary Flames assistant general manager said recently. "We are now going through the process of trying to put the team together, we are still talking to clubs and we are hoping to do deals with clubs if they want to protect their rosters".

In the last expansion draft, back in 2000, the Kings lost defenseman Sean O'Donnell as the seventh overall pick and tough guy Steve McKenna as the 37th. If Wilson can get the remaining $12 million of his contract off the books, it would give him more cap flexibility when free agency kicks off on July 1.

From the resulting lists of unprotected players, the Golden Knights are permitted to claim one player from each team.

With that in mind, which players will the Blackhawks protect, and which ones will they let go? "I think what you wonder or worry about, you don't know the player, you don't know the (salary) cap hit, so it poses different issues for everybody". Rules of that nature will make it easier for the team to collect a cache of draft picks before they ever play a single game.

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