In less than a week George McPhee will finally have the protection lists in his hands and the Golden Knights will be on the 72 hour Expansion Draft clock. Until then, the hockey world will be buzzing about all the trades that are being discussed in the lead up. It’s time we take a moment to round em all up into one post, and try to make sense of what’s set to go down on June 21st.
Before we start though, we need to clarify something. While McPhee is making calls and probably coming to agreements, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman confirmed no deals will be made official, or even be announced, prior to June 21st. So, tread carefully out there, everyone’s trying to make a name for themselves.
Chicago Blackhawks – The chatter with Chicago started in late May from a pair of tweets from TSN’s Frank Seravalli.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) May 31, 2017
The main question is which way the picks would be going, if any are involved. Chicago has three defensemen with NMCs, so van Riemsdyk would have to be exposed unless one of Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, or Niklas Hjalmarsson waives their NMC, and/or is traded. So, in theory, Vegas would be getting picks in exchange for taking on Marcus Kruger‘s salary, and simply select van Riemsdyk in the Expansion Draft.
Many news outlets, including most notably a news anchor from Kansas City (why?), have reported that Kruger to Vegas is done. The most common return is a 3rd round pick from Chicago. But there’s likely another piece to the puzzle here that’s missing. Whether that’s Chicago “moving a core player” as reported by WSCR’s Jay Zawaski, or Kruger being flipped through Vegas is yet to be seen. Either way, it’s highly probable McPhee makes a deal (or two) with Chicago, but the details out there currently, are likely not telling the whole story.
Columbus Blue Jackets – In Elliotte Friedman’s “30 thoughts” column he mentions murmurs of trade discussions here. The name mentioned is David Clarkson, who is Expansion Draft exempt due to a long term injury. Clarkson’s back will likely keep him off the ice in 2017-18 and could be career ending, however, his cap hit remains at $5.25 million through 2020 (three more seasons). Freidman mentions the 24th overall pick as well as “some young forwards at the AHL level” as possible compensation for Clarkson’s contract. Once again, the details are fuzzy because this would occur outside the parameters of the Expansion Draft. Vegas would still have to select a player from Columbus, so there’s another piece in the mix. Joonas Korpisalo just signed a team-friendly deal, is he involved? Vegas would get rewarded handsomely for taking Clarkson off Columbus’ hands, but there still has to be an Expansion pick, so more is certainly to come on this one.
Pittsburgh Penguins – All the talk is surrounding Marc-Andre Fleury. Sportsnet’s Nick Kyprios has been steadfast that Vegas’ selection from the Stanley Cup champions will be Fluery. He would have to waive his NMC to make this happen, but one would have to assume based on Matt Murray’s contract extension in October that he assured the Penguins he would do so. No compensation would be required either way for the Golden Knights to take on Fleury.
Where it gets interesting is the possibility of Vegas flipping Fleury on to another team. Fleury would once again have to waive his NMC, and then Vegas would get assets in return. It’s a tricky one, but Fleury is going to be on the move, and Vegas will likely be involved in some form or fashion.
Tampa Bay Lightning – TampaBay.com’s Joe Smith confirmed GM Steve Yzerman has been in negotiations with the Golden Knights about an expansion deal, but he noted nothing is in place yet and Yzerman “isn’t sure” anything will get done. The Lightning are in the market for a top defenseman. The likely partners are Anaheim and Minnesota.
There are two ways for this to go down. Either Tampa Bay makes a deal prior to the Expansion Draft and Vegas is left to simply pick a player off their list, or Yzerman and McPhee work through the Expansion Draft to help get Tampa their much needed defenseman. Keep your eyes on Sami Vatanen, Cam Fowler, Jonas Brodin, and Mathew Dumba. If the deal doesn’t happen before rosters are locked on June 17th at noon Vegas time, the Lightning and Golden Knights may be trade partners.
Toronto Maple Leafs – This one goes way back, but shouldn’t be overlooked. Hockey Central’s Doug MacLean mentioned Eric Fehr by name as a deal McPhee may have already completed in March. Fehr was drafted by McPhee in Washington, played for, and was drafted in juniors by Kelly McCrimmon in Brandon. There’s been a lot of talk about the Leafs concern over losing Kerby Rychel, which may have been the reason for a deal involving Fehr. Very few details have come forth on this, but it still makes a ton of sense. Vegas would get picks/prospects in exchange for selecting Fehr and laying off who ever Toronto didn’t want to lose.
Botterill said he had a conversation with McPhee that went really well, but wouldn’t talk about the deal that was supposedly in place between McPhee and Murray. There’s a personal connection between McPhee and a Sabre that has the rumor mill flying in Buffalo. George McPhee is the Godfather of Matt Moulson’s wife Alicia. Moulson carries a $5 million cap hit the next two years. Is a deal involved here to help Buffalo get the cap relief they need to prepare for the signings of a heap of young players, or is it simply a win win as Buffalo gets their relief and McPhee gets a trustworthy face?
There are plenty more rumors out there, which we will attempt to keep an eye on throughout the next week. Make sure you give us a follow on Twitter as a ton of news hits the @SinBinVegas feed that never makes it to the site. Even if you don’t, have/use Twitter, you can still read our feed by going to Twitter.com/SinBinVegas.