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McPhee Says He Needs To Complete Trades Before The Expansion Draft

Tomorrow is June, and with June comes what will be the most exciting month in Golden Knights history for the first few years at least. June brings the Expansion Draft, the Entry Draft, and all the movement that goes along with it leading up July 1st, when free agency officially opens.

June 21st will be a monumental day in the history of the club, but for those of you who can’t wait until then, the Golden Knights GM has some good news.

I’m hoping we can start (announcing trades) next week. We’re expecting a lot more conversation and a lot more depth to the conversations and I’m hoping that we can start getting a few deals done because I think it’s going to be a lot to ask to do them all within the expansion window. –George McPhee to TSN

The Expansion Draft is 72 hours long, which sounds like a lot of time, until you remember that NHL trades still go through fax machines. That’s probably not true, but the fact is, with this league things do tend to take forever, even when there’s no longer a reason to wait.

McPhee and the 30 other GMs he’s looking to fleece trade with will have to iron out every last detail of each transaction they pull off. That means contracts, salary cap implications, draft picks, expansion rules, paperwork, a much more, and with each one, the league must sign off before it’s complete.

When McPhee says “it’s a lot to ask,” he’s speaking out of experience, basically saying, we need to get as many trades done before those 72 hours so there’s no ticking clock to screw any of them up.

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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.

“Good Chance A Third Of The Roster Won’t Be There In October”

Now it’s no secret you come to SinBin.vegas because you’re sure there’s no one on the Internet more informed about the Golden Knights than us. Knowing this, you take everything we say as Gospel. You then spend much of your day preaching what you read and hear on this site to the rest of the valley spreading our wealth of knowledge and making Las Vegas a better place. But… sometimes it’s nice to hear someone much more famous than us say exactly what we’ve been spewing for the past two years to remind you of why you still come here and read this s**t these articles.

Well that someone else just so happens to be the venerable, Pierre LeBrun. In an interview with WGR 550 in Buffalo, which I highly recommend you listen to in its entirety (or at least start at 8:30 when they talk about Vegas), LeBrun spits some hot fire about the upcoming Expansion Draft. And as it turns out, especially if you listen to the SinBin.vegas Podcast, it’s stuff you’ve probably heard before.

Here’s the reality, Vegas is not necessarily going to take the best player available and that’s where everything gets skewed. The reality is, George McPhee is going to do a number of side deals. (Don’t take player X in return for an asset) -Pierre LeBrun

LeBrun wouldn’t put a number on how many he expects to come out of the Expansion Draft, but did mention on multiple occasions that McPhee’s phone has been lit up in the recent weeks and will likely stay that way for the next month.

Once you see the roster remember something else, there’s a real good chance maybe up to a third of those players you see on that list on June 21st aren’t even with Vegas come October. There’s going to be a lot of flipping I think. -LeBrun

And…

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Buyouts: Expansion Draft Antidote For NMCs

The list of players with No Movement Clauses (NMCs) is 66 deep according to a league memo sent out in November. On that list there are names such as Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, and Carey Price. Those guys, along with about 50 others were going to be protected anyway, so the automatic protection rule for the Expansion Draft is no concern for their respective GM’s. But names like Kevin Bieksa, Scott Hartnell, Francois Beauchemin, Ryan Callahan, Jason Pominville, Dan Girardi, and Dion Phaneuf may be a bit of a different story.

In a perfect world for GMs in Anaheim, Columbus, Colorado, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, New York, and Ottawa, each of these players would simply waive their NMC giving the team the freedom it needs to protect the best nine or 11 players possible, whether it includes those guys or not. It doesn’t work that way though.

No Movement Clauses were put into contracts for a reason. Usually, as the name suggests, so the player won’t have to worry about moving. We are always here to tell people how amazing Vegas is, but in this case, it would be best if players with NMCs think this place is some ****hole in the desert. Mandatory protection is the friend of George McPhee and the enemy of every GM with a player holding an NMC who may have otherwise wanted to expose him.

Unfortunately for Vegas, there’s a work around. It’s called a buyout. NHL franchises can essentially terminate the contract of a player by buying them out for 2/3 of the remaining salary. There are a bunch of rules about buyouts, if you are interested, you can read here, but for the sake of this story, and the Expansion Draft they’re irrelevant.

One name on the list jumps off the page as a possible buyout candidate and he currently resides in Colorado.

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Did Ben Bishop Just Reveal McPhee’s Strategy?

Ben Bishop, the stud goalie who started the season in Tampa Bay, was traded to Los Angeles in February, then had his negotiating rights traded to Dallas and eventually signed a long term deal with Stars, said in an interview that Vegas is thinking of going “younger and in a different direction.”

I think there was some talk of it from what I understood I didn’t think it was an option. I’m obviously not sure what they are going to do. From what I head they were kind of thinking maybe younger and in a different direction. -Ben Bishop in interview with Hockey Central at Noon

Alright, there’s a lot of questions on this one, and at the moment, I don’t have any of the answers, but let’s try to flush this out as best we can here.

Let’s start with the obvious. How does he know this? And… why does he know this?

Follow the timeline, Bishop entered this season on an expiring contract (set to become a UFA). Then, he goes to LA to close out the year. After the season ends, his right are traded to Dallas, because only the team holding his rights can negotiate with him, where he signed, nearly two months before July 1st, when he would have actually hit the open market.

George McPhee never had a chance to talk to him. He couldn’t even say his name without it being tampering, still can’t. Yet Bishop just spilled an interesting note about what the Golden Knights are thinking of doing for the future.

Who told him this? And could he possibly be right?

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The Trades Are A Comin’, In About Two Weeks

The boys are back in town as the Golden Knights are set to go through yet another mock draft as they finalize their preparations for the big (three) days at the end of June. In an interview with TSN 690 in Montreal, GM George McPhee said this week the amateur scouts were here and the focus was on the Entry Draft, but it’s ready to shift to the other draft soon, and with that finally comes some trades.

Monday we jump right back on to the pro side and do our mock drafts and in the mean time we are fielding calls from teams that have ideas and thoughts and things they’d like to do and people they’d like to protect. So we take all that information in and it’ll be discussed next week during the mock draft and then after that when we’ve analyzed teams one more time at the end of next week we will start calling teams back to see if we can start doing some deals. -George McPhee

With just four teams left in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the muddy universe of players is starting to clear itself up in terms of protection and exposure in the Expansion Draft. With elimination, most teams have turned their attention to the elephant in the room and have gotten on the horn with McPhee to figure out what may work out best for both sides.

However, to this point McPhee and his staff have only been on the receiving end of the calls, and by the sounds of it, it’s been a lot more listening than talking. But after this coming mock draft, it appears that’s set to change.

If there’s something there that’s better than draft picks then we would claim that. If we see something on a club that we like but we can get the same thing from another club and we can get draft picks out of this club, then we will take draft picks. We are gonna have to do a little bit of everything, we are gonna need some youth, some experience, some skill, some speed, some grit, some draft picks. -McPhee

We are getting close people. The grill is almost preheated, now it’s time to take these GMs and stick their feet right on the hot coals. McPhee may have been buddy-buddy with these guys since being hired in July, but when the phone calls turn outbound from Vegas, he’ll be looking to suck every last asset out of every one of the 30 teams.

Now for the unfortunate part. Where’s Uncle Sour at? He still bitching about Ovi? Oh well, I’ll just tell you. Even if/when these deals are made, we won’t hear about them until June 21st. Sucks.

But, let’s put a positive spin on it. Keeping the deals secret continues to help the Golden Knights. If these trades were made public, it would start to (sorry about the upcoming Vegas pun) tip McPhee’s hand.

Only one man will have all of the information, and that man just so happens to call The Creator his boss.

The Window As An Asset

If there’s been one constant in the Expansion Draft strategy talk throughout the last 11 months it’s the idea of gathering assets. Whether it’s simply selecting a good player, or making a trade to pick a player (or not pick a player) in exchange for draft picks and/or prospects, George McPhee will have the league by the balls for a three day period, and he’s got to make the most of it.

There are tradeable assets all over the Expansion Draft, it’s just a matter of finding the right partner to dance with. Sometimes it’ll be something as obvious as taking a big contract off the hands of a contending team, but other times McPhee and other GMs will have to get creative.

That’s right, the free agent negotiation window that’s still up for debate as to how long it will last… it’s an asset in it of itself.

The Golden Knights have to be a bit careful with these types of deals because they are forbid from buying out any player until the end of the first season. If someone goes back on a deal, things could get really hairy in a hurry. 

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