It’s been discussed at length how the NHL has given Las Vegas the best Expansion Draft rules ever presented to a new franchise. The protection lists are favorable to the Vegas, the Entry Draft gives them a decent shot at the first overall pick, and the salary cap rules allow for the team to be competitive early.
We’ve talked about the undrafted free agent rules, which seem to give McPhee a leg up. There’s a rule specifically designed to ensure at least a few experienced players are available for selection. And an NHL GM even described the rules as “killer” for current teams.
But there’s one piece that’s been taken for granted that could potentially make a huge difference compared to Expansion Drafts of the past, and that’s time.
In 2000 when the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild entered the league, each team was given three minutes per pick and two five minute timeouts. Something similar in 1993 with the Panthers and the Ducks. In 1998 and 1999 the Predators and Thrashers came in on their own, but were each forced to make all their selections on a single day.
Vegas has been given 72 hours to come up with their list of picks. As prepared as George McPhee is likely to have his group, it shouldn’t take anything close to that long, but the more important part is how long he and his team will have to swing some trades.
Both Minnesota and Columbus were able to pull off some deals, and they only had a few hours to make them happen. McPhee has an eternity in comparison. He can find a suitor, pull the trigger, and then has plenty of time to re-vist the other 29 picks.
A ticking clock is a scary thing, and it causes mistakes regularly. McPhee won’t have that problem, and it should be a huge benefit… that is unless there are mistakes, cause he’s got no clock to blame it on.