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Vegas Golden Knights NHL Expansion Draft Live Blog

Click through to follow our live blog of the Expansion Draft and the eight events leading up to it.

Deal With Blue Jackets Likely; VGK Would Get CBJ’s 1st Round Pick

NHL rosters freeze at noon today, and all of the Original 30 must submit their protection lists to the league by 2 PM. But before all that, there’s been a quick rush of rumors, including one, in particular, that could be very lucrative for the Golden Knights.

The Jackets are believed to be trading this year’s first-round draft pick (No. 24 overall) and a prospect (not Pierre-Luc Dubois or Sonny Milano) to Vegas for assurances that the Golden Knights will select either left wing Matt Calvert, center William Karlsson or defenseman Ryan Murray. –Aaron Portzline, Columbus Dispatch

That means, don’t touch young guys like Joonas KorpisaloAlexander Wennberg, and Josh Anderson, and also stay away from Jack Johnson and David Savard. In return, George McPhee gets a golden ticket, another first round pick.

It’s unclear if this deal includes the Golden Knights taking David Clarkson‘s contract off Columbus’ hands. (He’s on long-term IR, but is still owed $5.25M per year until 2020).

That’s not it for the first round picks either…

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Gallant Will Be “Sitting Back Watching” During Expansion Draft

We’ve long talked about the Expansion Draft from George McPhee’s point of view, but we finally got a chance to ask the man who will be coaching all of the players selected what his role will be during the 72 hour period from June 18th to the 21st.

I’ll be sitting back watching. I mean don’t get me wrong, they’ll ask me about some of Florida’s players and some of Montreal’s players, because I coached those players, I know them inside and out. So the guys that I know, they’ll ask me questions and I’ll fill them in. They’ll pick the players they want, which is how it should be, but I’ll give my opinion when they ask. -Gerard Gallant

George will pick the players, Gerard will coach them. That’s how it was described the day Gerard was hired, and that’s how it appears it will remain through the biggest 72 hours in Golden Knights history.

We’ve written over 300 articles specifically referencing the Expansion Draft, and the Vegas staff has to get it all done in a 72 hour period. We assumed there wouldn’t be much sleeping going on, Gerard confirmed.

I am (going to sleep during the Expansion Draft). George isn’t. Seriously it’s hectic for those guys right now, but you know what, if it’s hectic that’s really good for our franchise. It means the other teams are constantly calling, that’s real good. -Gallant

Gallant’s job starts soon though. Development Camp starts up on June 26th with the first practice on the 27th at the Las Vegas Ice Center. Gallant says there will be 44 players suited up. These will include the draft picks, free agents like Reid Duke and Tomas Hyka, and a host of players on try-out contracts.

**Practices and scrimmages are open to the public, but it’s first come first serve and the Ice Center does not have a tone of space, so plan accordingly.**

Golden Knights Hire Two Assistant Coaches

Before George McPhee fills up the bench with players at the Expansion Draft, Gerard Gallant has begun bringing on a few of the people who will stand behind the bench and coach the Golden Knights.

First, the obvious one, Mike Kelly. Kelly who was an assistant with Gallant in Florida, as well as in Saint John in the QMJHL, has been hired to the same position with the Golden Knights. Kelly had been Gallant’s top assistant the three seasons Gerard was with the Panthers and was always expected to have a place in Vegas once Gallant was hired.

I am very excited to be working with Mike again. We enjoyed success in both Florida and Saint John and I am eager to bring that success to the Golden Knights. Mike is a great guy with a wealth of hockey knowledge and I couldn’t be happier with the decision to bring him to Las Vegas. -Gerard Gallant, Head Coach in Press Release

The next assistant hung up his skates to take a shot at coaching. It’s Ryan Craig, who was most recently the captain of the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL. Craig’s playing career spanned 14 years in the NHL and AHL. Prior to going pro, Craig played for the Brandon Wheat Kings for six seasons from 1997-2003. Vegas Assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon drafted Craig in Brandon.

Craig played 71 games this season with the Monsters before deciding to take on the assistant coaching job in Vegas.

He is well-respected in the hockey community and has been a tremendous leader throughout his playing career, both on and off the ice. I am confident that the leadership characteristics he exuded as a player will translate well behind the bench in his new role as an assistant coach. -Gallant in Press Release

Most NHL teams have either two or three assistant coaches in addition to their head coach and goalie coach, so it’s possible one more assistant is added in the coming days. The Golden Knights goalie coach, Dave Prior, was hired eight months before Gallant.

Golden Knights Formally Respond To Denied Trademark With USPTO

On December 7th, the Vegas Golden Knights trademark was denied by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) because of “likelihood of confusion” with the College of St. Rose Golden Knights.

There are countless examples of college sports teams and professional sports teams with coexisting names including the UCLA Bruins and Boston Bruins, University of Miami Hurricanes and Carolina Hurricanes, etc. We will plan on making these arguments and others in our detailed written response to the office action which must be filed by June 7th, 2017. -Team Statement on December 7th

That statement, which consists of 1347 pages of argument, examples, and exhibits, has been prepared and sent to the USPTO for review. (If you feel like going through the whole thing, it can be found here.)

The response cites four reasons as to why “Vegas Golden Knights mark is not likely to be confused” with the College of St. Rose Golden Knights.

(1) sports fans (and the general public) have long been accustomed to distinguishing between unrelated sports teams using the same or similar nicknames and trademarks;

(2) more specifically, sports fans (and the general public) have long been accustomed to distinguishing between GOLDEN KNIGHTS and KNIGHTS marks for sporting events;

(3) sports fans, by their very nature, are knowledgable about the games they choose to watch and attend; and

(4) the parties’ marks differ materially in appearance, sound and commercial impression.

The response goes on to give hundreds of examples from the Arizona Coyotes and University of South Dakota Coyotes sharing name, to comparing 22 different trademarks with the word “knights,” to even citing an erotic movie theatre that shares its name with a family movie theatre (Mini Cinema).

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Adidas/NHL Jersey Unveil June 20th At Wynn

The wait for jerseys just got one day shorter. An email to the media confirmed a special event at Intrique at the Wynn on June 20th to unveil Adidas’ versions of the NHL jerseys.

The event will put on display all 31 teams new Adidas branded jerseys. Yes, that would indeed include the Golden Knights jerseys. The event is not open to the public.

The Armory, the team store at T-Mobile Arena, is slated to open June 21st to coincide with the Expansion Draft and Awards.

While the jerseys will be shown off in two weeks, they will not be available to buy, wear, and bring home. The team is planning a pre-order process that will begin at the Expansion Draft and afterwards. They expect jerseys to be available for sale in mid-September.

That’s all we know at the moment, but expect more events to come as the Golden Knights and the NHL prepare for what will be an historic week in Vegas.

Report: Rocky Thompson Named Chicago Wolves Head Coach

Update (2:20 PM) – Both the Golden Knights and Chicago Wolves have sent out press releases confirming this hire. 

According to a report from TSN’s Elliotte Friedman, the Chicago Wolves, the Golden Knights AHL affiliate, have found a new head coach.

Because the Golden Knights control all hockey operations with the Wolves, the decision was made by George McPhee.

Thompson was hired to take over the head coach position in Windsor in 2015 and went on to an 81-40-11 record in two seasons which includes the Spitfires Memorial Cup win this year. Prior to Windsor, Thompson was an assistant with the Edmonton Oilers for one season. He was also an assistant with the Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) and Oklahoma City Barons (AHL).

Thompson was an absolute menace on the ice as a player. He spent most of his career in the AHL, but did have short stints with the Calgary Flames (15 games) and Florida Panthers (10 games). He racked up 117 PIM in those 25 games and consistently averaged at least 175 PIM in each AHL season. One year, Thompson spent 275 minutes in the box in a 79 game season. His total was 1,382 penalty minutes in 630 career games.

From time to time, the players YouTube me and come in and say, ‘holy smokes, you were an animal.’ –Thompson to Calgary Herald

But, that’s not how he coaches.

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Golden Knights Sign F Tomas Hyka

The Golden Knights appear to have their third player. The newest addition according to a report from iSport is forward Tomas Hyka.

Photo courtesy: Vegas Golden Knights

Photo courtesy: Vegas Golden Knights

Hyka is a 5’11” 168 pound forward who has been playing in the Czech Extraliga with BK Mlada Boleslav. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the 6th round (171 overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Hyka is a right winger who is described as having top notch speed and excellent hands, but is limited by his rather small stature.

The contract was reported as a one-year entry level deal. He was a free agent after the contract he signed with the Kings ran out in June 2014.

Hyka scored 17 goals and tallied 38 points in 48 games this season in the Czech Republic. He also played for the Czech team at the World Cup, as well as the Euro Hockey Tour. At the World Cup, he did not score in four games.

In 2011, Hyka was invited to training camp with the Philadelphia Flyers. Then GM Paul Holmgren apparently wanted to sign the Hyka, but it was not permitted per the CBA. It’s kind of a wacky story in which he was cut, then wasn’t, then was offered a contract, but wasn’t allowed to sign it. He even scored a goal in the preseason for the Flyers. Nonetheless, he headed back to his junior team the Gatineau Olympiques before being drafted the following year by Los Angeles.

A Golden Knights rep said a press release is being generated and will be sent out soon to confirm the move. Hyka’s NHL.com profile page currently lists him as a member of the Golden Knights.

Clearing Up The Exact Expansion Draft Timeline

When it comes to the NHL and Expansion, if we’ve learned anything, it’s that the target is always moving. In the league’s “State of the NHL” address yesterday Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly attempted to clear up the exact timeline, or “window” as they like to call it, of the NHL’s Expansion Draft.

But before we get into what he said, and now believe is accurate, let’s go back to around this time last year when the NHL released the rules of the Expansion Draft the same day the Golden Knights were awarded to Vegas.

The 30 NHL Clubs must submit their Protection List by 5:00 P.M. ET on Saturday, June 17, 2017. The Las Vegas team must submit their Expansion Draft Selections by 5:00 P.M. ET on June 20 and the announcement of their selections will be released on made on June 21. -NHL.com (posted June 22, 2016)

That timeline is still on NHL.com right now but Daly had a different idea during the press conference yesterday.

We’ve reached an agreement with the Player’s Association to broaden the window in which the Expansion Draft will take place. They will get the available and protected lists on 10 AM EST Sunday the 18th of June and they’ll have til Wednesday morning until 10 AM EST to submit those. -Bill Daly, Deputy Commissioner

The original rules called for 5 PM on Saturday to 5 PM on Tuesday. That’s 72 hours. Now, it’s 10 AM Sunday to 10 AM Wednesday, also 72 hours.

We are very pleased that Gary Bettman and Bill Daly granted our request for an additional 24 hours. The process will be much more manageable as a result. -George McPhee to LVRJ (yesterday)

So they have a 72 hour window instead of a 48 hour window. -Daly (yesterday)

Somewhere along the lines McPhee and the Golden Knights lost 24 hours, but now they got it back. Phew.

It is possible not everyone is on the same page here because there’s another “window” that was apparently up in the air. That’s the UFA/RFA window in which the Golden Knights have exclusive rights to sign free agent players. (Not sure what I’m talking about, read this, then this, then this, then come back)

So, it’s official for now the Golden Knights have 72 hours to make their selections, and the exact same 72 hours to negotiate and sign free agents. That period begins at 7 AM Vegas time on Sunday June 18th, and ends at 7 AM Vegas time on Wednesday June 21st. Then we’ll all be jammed into T-Mobile Arena starting at 5 PM Vegas time to hear the picks.

Got it?

Just make sure you visit SinBin.vegas every single day between now and then, cause the way it’s gone, it could change again any minute.

Golden Knights Goalie Coach In Waiting?

The Golden Knights have a “new” goaltending coach, and he’s a familiar name to GM George McPhee. Mike Rosati accepted a position as an amateur goaltending consultant in Vegas… possibly as long ago as August.

According to a newspaper article in Barrie, Ontario, Rosati has been working with Golden Knights goalie coach Dave Prior for quite a while.

Rosati will work under Golden Knights director of goaltending and goalie coach Dave Prior. “We maintained a friendship and relationship over all these years and we always talked about working together one day with an NHL club, so when he got hired by Las Vegas his first phone call was to me to be an assistant,” Rosati added. -Gene Pereira, Barrie Examiner

Rosati was drafted 131st overall in 1988 by the New York Rangers and only played one game in the NHL during his career. It was for the McPhee managed Washington Capitals in 1998 in a game the then starter Olaf Kolzig had to miss due to injury.

Rosati has been the goaltending coach and an assistant coach for the Barrie Colts of the OHL. He also owns a goaltending academy in Canada. He announced via Twitter his position with the Golden Knights the same day the team unveiled their name (November 22nd), but could easily have been on board well before that. The team has yet to announce him as a member of the Golden Knights staff.

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