Vegas holds all the cards with National Hockey League expansion draft list out


The protected lists were revealed Sunday morning and distinctly state which players are available and which are protected. With the amount of talent left unprotected, that teams do not intend to compensate for, the Golden Knights should be able to piece together a very competitive team from the very start of the franchise. As for defensemen, Minnesota exposed both Matt Dumba and Marco Scandella, while Buffalos Zach Bogosian and Dallas Dan Hamhuis are also available.

At least 20 of the players Vegas will select must already be under contract for the 2017-18 season.

For the Ducks, Blue Jackets, and Islanders, the reported trades are about keeping key players.

Notable goalies available to the Knights include, Philipp Grubauer of Washington, Roberto Luongo of Florida, Detroit Red Wings Petr Mrazek and Colorado's Calvin Pickard, who backstopped Canada to a silver medal last month at the World Championships. Vancouver's 2012 first-round pick, Brendan Gaunce, was exposed.

The Canes protected goalie Scott Darling, forwards Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner, Victor Rask, Elias Lindholm, Teuvo Teravainen, Brock McGinn and Phil Di Giuseppe; and defensemen Justin Faulk, Ryan Murphy and Trevor Carrick.

As a result, the Golden Knights are demanding draft picks from those teams in order to be steered to selecting other players. By 5 p.m. on Saturday, teams had to officially submit their lists of protected players from being selected by Vegas.

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McPhee said the Knights likely will go down to the wire before settling on their 30-man roster, which needs to be turned in to the National Hockey League by 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Golden Knights general manager George McPhee has said he's had contact with all teams and was expected to have several trades in place.

The Flames solidified their goaltending situation by getting the 35-year-old Smith from the Coyotes for a conditional pick and a prospect, taking advantage of their ability to protect a goalie that most other teams in the market didn't have the luxury of doing. "Vegas doesn't need 10".

Nashville GM David Poile said he has spoken with McPhee and that the Predators "will do the best we can to protect as many assets as we can". McPhee can also negotiate deals with teams to not pick certain players, although there will certainly be a price tag attached.

With the league-wide release of the protected lists, teams began contacting Vegas about potential three-way trades in which the Golden Knights could select an unprotected player and deal him to a club such as the Blues. Even if the Golden Knights don't sign any unrestricted free agents by Wednesday night, this serves as a sort of first negotiating advantage for them before the first day of free agency on July 1.