The time is here, the Golden Knights are on the clock. George McPhee and his staff have been delivered the Expansion Draft protection and exposure lists, and now have 72 hours to select their 30 players. During this same 72 hour period, Vegas has an exclusive window to negotiate with unrestricted free agents not protected. If they sign a player during this window, it will count as the Golden Knights selection from that player’s former team.
The NHL has emailed the protection lists to the Golden Knights, the NHLPA, and the media. We have posted them below.
We are currently taking a look at the lists and we will post our observations below.
- Neither Manson nor Vatanaen are protected for the Anaheim Ducks. Almost certainly a deal in place to lay off one or the other, or both. Ducks do NOT have a 1st round pick in 2017 Draft.
- Minnesota has protected Jason Zucker, so Vegas fans can let that dream die.
- However, the Wild did leave Matt Dumba, Erik Haula, Eric Staal, Marco Scandella, and Gustav Olofsson exposed. Vegas will get either an excellent player, or flip for a solid asset.
- Nashville protected Calle Jarnkrok, leaving James Neal exposed. Other options include Aberg, Sissons, or even Mike Fisher.
- No surprises out of Chicago. Kruger and van Riesmdyk are available. Young defensemen Ville Pokka is also exposed. The deal that most have been reporting is likely to come through.
- Matt Moulson is available. Remember, McPhee is the Godfather to Moulson’s wife. Buffalo also left Franson, Bogosian, Kulikov, and Ullmark exposed.
- Marc Andre-Fleury is exposed, as expected. But still, no guarantee he’s going to be playing in Vegas. He’ll likely be selected, but Vegas must take three goalies, so at least two other teams will be losing a goalie. He could possibly be flipped to one of those teams.
- Washington remains one of the most interesting teams to watch what Vegas does with. Nate Schmidt is the big name left exposed, but Phillipp Grubauer, Brooks Orpik, and Karl Alzner are also available and Kevin Shattenkirk is a UFA. McPhee’s vast knowledge of that roster could lead to a surprise there though. (Pheonix Copely?)
- Keep your eye on Xavier Ouellet who is exposed from Detroit. Most have the Golden Knights picking Riley Sheahan, but the Ouellet could be the steal of the Expansion Draft.
- The top three players picked by experts to be selected from Colorado have all been protected. Carl Soderberg is the new consensus pick. Mikhail Grigorenko and Patrick Wiercioch are close behind.
- Dallas did protect Valeri Nichushkin. They must expect him back from Russia.
- Tampa Bay found a way to protect both Killorn and Namestnikov. Highest remaining available players are J.T. Brown, Cedric Paquette, and Slater Koekkoek.
- ARI, FLA, LA, NSH, NJD, NYI, and PIT used the 8/1 protection format. Only NYI protected 5 defensemen.
Here are the lists…