The Vegas Golden Knights are intimately familiar with the rules of the Expansion Draft and their relative favorability compared to those in the past. Thus, if anyone knows the importance of being spared from any future Expansion Drafts it’s George McPhee.
It was reported previously Vegas would be exempt from the next Expansion Draft, however, it now appears there’s a time limit on the exemption.
Actually our expansion agreement with Vegas doesn’t even account for the exemption. We feel having looked at it preliminarily that it is a fair result that they would not have to expose players for the next Expansion Draft, if there is one. I’m sure if it’s Seattle and this application is different than if it’s 10 years from now with some other market. That’s the extent at which we’ve looked at it, it’s not called for in the expansion agreement at all. -Bill Daly, NHL Deputy Commissioner
Reading between the lines the simple way to put it is, if the Seattle bid comes through, Vegas would be exempt, if it does not, they would not be.
The bad news in all of this is that there it is not expressly written that the Golden Knights are indeed exempt. Therefore, even though it appears this will not be the case, the NHL Board of Governor’s could choose to change their path and force Vegas to expose players like every other team.
It’s really not something to worry too much about with the puck set to drop on the Stanley Cup Final in Las Vegas in less than an hour, but it’s certainly something that could come in to play in a big way soon.
Being exempt would be a major benefit for the Golden Knights as not only would they get to keep their entire roster intact, but the league would dissipate even further. Vegas would automatically get stronger relative to the entire league. Also, McPhee would have the ability to be a workaround for some teams in the weeks and days leading up to the next Expansion Draft.
It only makes sense for Vegas to remain exempt, especially if the reports are true that The Creator would not receive a cut of the expansion fee. The league appears to agree, but only for now. Hopefully the next seven games don’t change that.